At a time when mental health and wellbeing are being talked about most days, sleep deprivation can be a double-edged sword! Lack of sleep will affect wellbeing and poor wellbeing will almost certainly affect sleep.
So how can you improve your sleep and can aromatherapy have a part to play in it?
Night owl or morning lark, does it matter?
Whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, getting the required amount of sleep each night can be a struggle. And by the way, quick disclaimer, we are actually programmed to be either one or the other. So don’t try to change it, instead try and work with it.
But, if you do find yourself reaching straight for the caffeine first thing in the morning then chances are, you’re not getting enough of your required sleep.
There are simple measures that you can take to help you achieve your sleep quota per night. For the average person sleep required this is somewhere in the 7-8 hour region.
Firstly, stick to a regular set bedtime and a regular set wake time. This may mean setting a bedtime alarm just as you would a wake up alarm. It will help your body establish a routine so that it knows what to do and when to do it (google circadian rhythm for more information on this fascinating subject).
In the 2 hours preceding your bedtime alarm try using aromatherapy to calm, relax and unwind the mind. Remember though that if you’re a night owl this will be later than if you are a morning lark, who generally go to bed earlier.
There are many ways that you can bring aromatherapy into your nightly routine and I’ll talk about this further on. But first It may be beneficial to look at a few essential oils that you’ll definitely want in your sleep self-care package.
Which essential oils are best for sleep?
Where would any list of sleep-inducing essential oils be without lavender (Laveandula angustifolia)?
This floral oil is distilled from the flowering tops of the lavender plant and has a wealth of healing properties for both mind and body. It has an incredibly calming aroma which is why it is used in so many sleep blends.
Its chemical composition is predominately made up of Linalool and Linalyl acetate * and it is the combination of these two components synergistically working together that helps to reduce stress and anxiety when the essential oil is inhaled.
On its own Lavender is a wonderful oil to use to calm the nervous system, but what if you blended it with another oil with similar calming properties? The result would be an even greater synergy of oils, with every oil bringing its own little bit of something special to the blend.
Lavender blends well with most oils, in particular other floral oils such as geranium and rose. It also blends well with citrus oils like sweet orange, bergamot and neroli. With the same relaxing chemical components as lavender (Linalool and Linayl acetate); Bergamot, Sweet orange and Neroli essential oils not only blend well in terms of aroma but they work well in terms of synergy when creating an essential oil blend for night time.
For a grounding deeper blend there are other essential oils, known as base notes, that can be blended with lavender. These include vetiver, which has an earthy and smoky aroma and sandalwood which has a sweeter musky aroma.
How does aromatherapy work?
Aromatherapy comes under the holistic approach to wellbeing. This means that it treats the person as a whole identifying the cause and treating this and the symptoms, rather than just the symptoms. Essential oils are used to therapeutically nurture and support the mind and body and can be used in two ways – inhalation and absorption into the skin.
This is the quickest way to gain benefit from the essential oil. The healing properties of aromatherapy work in two ways when we inhale an essential oil. Firstly, the memory the aroma triggers and secondly, when the aroma is inhaled through the nasal passages it enters the blood stream through absorption. We can experience inhalation of essential oils in many different ways such as home diffusers, aromatherapy baths, inhalers and aromatherapy room sprays.
Absorption into the skin
If you ever needed to find an excuse for a massage then here it is! An aromatherapy massage not only is a wonderful experience that everyone should enjoy but with it you‘ll also experience the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils too. A blend of essential oils is added to a carrier oil and this is what your masseur will use to massage you with. The essential oils enter the bloodstream through the skin by absorption allowing you to benefit from both the massage and the healing properties of the essential oil.
Are fragrances the same as essential oils?
In a word, no !
Fragrances may smell like an essential oil but chemically they are completely different. So, if you are looking for an aroma with therapeutic properties then a fragrance will not achieve this in the same way that an essential oil will. For more information about fragrances you may find this blog post useful >>
Aromatherapy Pulse Point roll – on
Roll-ons are an ideal way of receiving the full benefits of essential oils (via absorption) in the quickest time possible. The skin at our pulse points is thinner than other areas of the body. This makes the absorption process quicker, and the benefits occur faster. This is not the only benefit to the aromatherapy roll-on. Your pulse points are located in a variety of places on your body, when you apply the aromatherapy blend to these areas you will also benefit from the aroma. For example, if you use a roll on blended for sleep and you applied it to your pulse points, the oils will be absorbed into the blood stream whilst the relaxing aroma will begin to work on your mind.
Aromatherapy is a natural perfume and the blends created will leave you feeling truly wonderful, which is why roll-ons should definitely be part of your self-care package. Even whilst you are sleeping, you’ll still be breathing in the healing oils.
A tranquil environment perfect for sleep
There is plenty of information available that describes how you can set your sleeping environment correctly so that sleep can be achieved. This covers areas such as your mattress, your room temperature, keeping the area device free etc. These are fantastic steps to setting the perfect sleeping environment, but let’s now create a tranquil sleeping environment using aromatherapy.
You’re definitely spoilt for choice here with a selection of pillow sprays, room sprays, reed diffusers, essential oil blends to diffuse and my personal favourite, the aromatherapy roll-on. Each product brings a different benefit so it’s perfectly fine to add more than one to your sleeping self-care package and see which one works best for you.
Don’t forget you can get your 20% OFF code instantly emailed to you so that you can use it on any order. Fill in your email address here>>
Aromatherapy pillow mist
A pillow mist is a room spray specifically designed to be sprayed over the pillows and sheets before sleep. Included in the Peaceful Moment collection is the Hipsley Green pillow mist, blended with essential oils used to promote sleep. Spritz into the air over pillows and sheets before falling into bed and let the delicate aroma support you through the night. Use before sleep when you need to quieten down an overactive mind.
The pillow mist can be used alongside a reed diffuser. Reed diffusers are ideal at providing a continuous and subtle aroma to the bedroom. The essential oils are blended into a diffuser base. Once the reeds are added, the aroma is drawn up through the reeds to gently diffuse the perfect aromatherapy scent for sleep. The glass display bottle also makes for an attractive ornament that certainly wouldn’t look out of place on your bedside table.
Essential Oil Blends
Throughout the evening you may also find diffusing healing oils helpful. You can choose to use just one single essential oil or you could use a premade aromatherapy sleep blend, both of which you add a few drops to your own home diffuser (electric, candle, vapor). Buying a blend means that the hard part (the blending synergy) has been done by an aromatherapist, all you have to do is add it to your diffuser. It also means that you don’t need to purchase an array of expensive essential oils. Preblended oils are a great way (and an affordable way) of bringing aromatherapy into the home.
Completing your sleep self-care package
Once you’ve set the bedroom up for sleep, you’ve added the aroma to promote this activity you can now add some accessories to deeply affirm to your subconscious that you are serious and committed in achieving this goal.
Affirmation cards are used in many different ways when we need to talk to ourselves in a more positive way. Regular reaffirming of these positive thoughts taps into our subconscious and it slowly starts to listen and take note. We often tell ourselves things that aren’t true and this repeated action then convinces our subconscious that it is indeed true. What if you turned these negative thoughts into positive thoughts and become kinder to yourself? Use affirmation cards to retrain your subconscious and the perception you have of yourself.
Repeat the words on the affirmation card a few times each night over a period of time and see what happens.
Using affirmation cards before sleep means that we can let go of the day that has happened, set our intentions for a peaceful night’s sleep and promote positive mental attitude. Think of your subconscious as something you need to train and doing a little bit regularly will have a positive impact.
If you’re still not able to sleep despite all the above then why not add a meditation to your sleep self-care package. There are a variety of meditations available, free downloads and paid subscriptions; some with music some without. It may take time to find the right type for you. Some nights you may enjoy the sounds of nature such as waves crashing or birds signing, whilst other nights you may prefer a guided meditation. Guided meditations are ideal if you need to stop any unhelpful chitter chatter going on in your head.
Try this free 10 min guided meditation to start with and then why not explore other free subscriptions before moving onto a paid subscription.
Wishing you a very peaceful sleep
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*2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand