Ah yes sleep … the ever-elusive “unicorn” especially when we need it most!
Sleep is, in my opinion one of the most important functions for the human body. It helps us to recover from trauma, wear and tear of a stressful day, gut health, and hormone balance. When we sleep, we go into rest and digest mode and it’s during this time your body works to heal and rejuvenate.
If everything is working properly, your cortisol levels go down and your melatonin levels go up thus keeping everything in balance, and you wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day. This of course is a simplified version of what happens, but we all know how it feels when this doesn’t happen! Especially night after night. You are wrung out, strung out and life is not happy.
You wake up feeling more exhausted that you did before you crawled into bed!
So, what causes sleeplessness and even insomnia?
Well, again stress and hormone imbalance have a big part to play in our daily sleep patterns. Also, our sleep preparation can have a huge impact of the quality and length of sleep we get.
Think about this for a minute… Whether you have children or were a child... we prepare our children for sleep!
We feed them a healthy dinner, we give them a bath, tuck them into their favourite jammies and give them some quiet time before asking them to sleep.
As adults we forget how important this is! We eat our dinner (if we are lucky, it’s healthy & not hurried), tidy up and either watch TV or we are in front of our screens being constantly stimulated.
It’s not much wonder when we ask our body to provide us with life giving sleep its basically is so geared up it becomes impossible to wind down enough. Our cortisol levels are still pumping when these levels should be waning, and our sleep hormones have taken an extended vacation.
There is a lot we can do, and Aromatherapy can play a vital role in both the rituals surrounding sleep, and the preparation of our body/mind as we prepare for sleep.
Simple ways prepare yourself for sleep.
1. Pick a time when you start to wind down and try and keep to that every night. This is about forming good sleep habits. This is not the time to watch action/adventure movies, but possibly the time you read or listen to a good book. I only say listen because audio books are my guilty pleasure!
2. Wash your face, brush your teeth or whatever nightly “stuff” you do before you crawl into bed. Speaking of crawling into bed … make sure you bed is made BEFORE you climb in. Even if this means you must make it right before you get in.
3. While you’re doing your evening routine, now is a good time to run your diffuser in your bedroom. Running your diffuser with your favourite sleep blend about 30 minutes before bed gives the aromatic molecules a chance to fill the air. About 30 minutes before and an hour after is plenty of time for the aromatherapy to work its magic. Most diffusers have an automatic shut off timer.
4. You can use a roll-on blend & pillow spray at this point as well. I like to have my Peaceful Sleep by my bedside and roll it onto my wrists, sides of my neck and even on the bottoms of my feet.
5. If your mind is racing still, shut off all electronics and maybe begin writing in a gratitude journal or just jotting down the day’s events. Check in with how you’re really feeling.
6. Keep the lights low, the music soft and the TV off. Try a fan for white noise if background is something you need.
And lastly if you toss and turn don’t get angry or frustrated at yourself. As always, be kind and gentle with yourself and try again the next night. Use aromatherapy through the day to keep those stress hormones low, eat some fruit and veggies every day, hydrate-hydrate-hydrate (earlier is better or there may be more bathroom breaks than is helpful)!
Keep perfecting the art and ritual of sleep until you find the right combo that works for your unique body. You got this!
Here are my favorite essential oil blends for sleep.
Lavender – can lower heart rate, reduce anxiety and is the perfect oil for sleep.
Ylang ylang– can lower blood pressure and heart rate which is central to preparing the body for sleep.
Roman Chamomile – the soothing effects of chamomile are well known and has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind
Sweet Marjoram – Many essential oils will help you get to sleep, but marjoram oil will keep you there. The sweet and somewhat herbal scent can be counted on to sooth you both physically and mentally, and give you the kind of deep, peaceful sleep where you truly heal and recharge.
Try this blend when preparing for sleep next time. This will make a 10ml bottle and I’ll explain the different ways to use it further down.
3 ml Lavender (approx. 60 drops)
3 ml Sweet Marjoram (approx. 60 drops)
3 ml Sweet Orange (approx. 60 drops)
1 ml Ylang Ylang (approx. 20 drops)
Mix all into a 10ml dropper bottle and let sit for an hour or so before using to make sure your synergy blend has married together perfectly. This is wonderful blend for your diffuser or a couple of drops on the pillow is wonderful as well.
Had a bath before bed? Mix 12 drops of your new Aromatherapy blend into 30 ml of unscented body butter or lotion and use this as your moisturizer. You’ll not only reap the benefits of the scent, but the essential oils will now be part of the bloodstream as it will be absorbed by the skin.
PS. You will also smell delicious!
I hope these tips and tricks have inspired you to prepare and plan for a wonderful night’s sleep. You deserve to wake up every morning rested, inspired and ready to take on the day… Aromatherapy can support you in this journey. Try the different oils and see what works best for you. YOU are unique and aromatherapy is not a one size fits all so cast a wide net and narrow it down to your specific physiology. .
If you've been enjoying our Aromatherapy series, please feel free to share it with any of your friends you think might benefit.
` Wishing you a peaceful and restful sleep tonight and every night!
Yours in wellness – Kelly xo
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