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Aromatherapy for sleep

Posted on 27 February 2018

 

We are living in ever faster paced world and most of us will suffer from sleeping problems at some stage in our lives. Quite often we are busy and stressed and still rushing in our heads by night time so that calming down and falling a sleep may be a challenge. We think about things and what we need to do the next day and all the work related things and so on so we may feel exhausted whilst still struggling to fall asleep.  Some of us get one or two nights of bad sleep, while others struggle throughout their lives. I have always found the sleep a fascinating subject as there are so many things that can have an affect on our quality of sleep. 

 

Aromatherapy for sleep

 

Firstly it is important to understand that our sleeping patterns and our need for sleep will change throughput our lives. When we are younger we need more sleep and usually as we get older we can survive with less sleep. We sleep in cycles of deep (REM) and light sleep (NREM) and our needs for sleep are personal and may vary a lot. All humans need some sleep to be able to function and live a healthy life. 

There are many factors that may have an affect on our ability to fall a sleep and get good quality of sleep so we can wake up fresh and feeling rested. It is important to understand your personal needs for sleep and your natural rhythm. Some illnesses and medications may also play their part and general good healthy lifestyle and exercise will help. If you are struggling with poor sleep or suffering from insomnia there are sleep studies available to help you to analyse and understand your sleeping patterns better. You can then use this understanding to train your body and brain for better sleep. Waking up on your light sleep stage will help you to feel more awake. 

Read more about sleep in Heathysleep

 

Here are some of my top tips to improve your sleep

Avoid coffee and black tea after 3pm. Coffee and tea both contain caffeine which is a stimulant. It is best to avoid it if you have problems with falling a sleep. Opt for herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile instead.

 

Herbal tea for sleep

 

Avoid taking naps. Try not to sleep during the day even if you feel tired. This may disturb your sleeping rhythm especially if it is longer that 20-30 minutes. Save the sleep for the night time.

Go to bed early and do not watch tv before going to bed. Most of us start doing some tasks or watch tv in the evening and go to bed too late. It is best to go to bed when you are feeling tired. Tv may stimulate your brain especially with some high intensity programmes and is best avoided in the evening.

Avoid alcohol and heat foods before going to bed.  Some people have a feeling they need a glass of wine or some other alcoholic drink to wind down. Actually the alcohol may have an affect on your quality of sleep and is best avoided. Heavy foods will make you feel uncomfortable and disturb your sleep. Go to a short walk in the fresh air instead.

Make sure you get some exercise and fresh air.  Exercise will get rid of your excess energy and the fresh air will help your body to feel naturally relaxed. 

Keep your bedroom cool and dark and make it a sanctuary. Make sure the sheets are clean and fresh and there is a lovely scent in the room. Make your bedroom inviting for a good nights sleep. 

 

How you can use aromatherapy to aid your sleep?

One of the easiest ways to use aromatherapy is to use an electric diffuser/ atomiser with some essential oils. They will switch off automatically when the water runs out. The diffuser releases essential oils in the air creating a lovely scent to your bedroom. 

Another easy way to create a lovely atmosphere in your bedroom is to burn a scented candle before going to sleep. You can do this while you are doing your evening meditation or if you like to read before going to bed in the evening or if you have a habit of listening some calming music. 

 

Essential oils for sleep

 

You can also create easy room sprays with essential oils. You can the spray these in the bedroom when going to bed. Simply add some distilled water and your chosen essential oils in an atomiser bottle, shake well and spray. 

Some people prefer to drop some essential oils directly on their pillow. You only really need one or two drops. Be aware that some oils may stain the fabric. Lavender is a popular essential oils for this as it is clear and has a soft scent. 

You can create a relaxing bath with aromatherapy which you can take shortly before going to bed. Use 20-30ml of base oil and 10 drops of your favourite essential oils. Avoid citrus oils in bath as they can be sensitising and energising. Lavender remains the firm favourite for this.

 

Which essential oils to use?

Which essential oils to use is quite a personal choice. There are many which have calming properties, but it is important to choose one that is familiar and comforting for you personally. Lavender is one of the best know essential oils and widely used for its calming affects. You can use it in just by placing a few drops on your pillow before going to bed or in a diffuser over night. It is known to be safe and suitable for most people. Valerian is also widely used for insomnia, with as a herbal remedy and as an essential oil.

 

Aromatherapy and sleep

 

 

I love using flower oils myself. Try jasmine, rose or neroli in a diffuser or room spray. Few drops goes a long way as they are quite expensive and luxurious. You don’t want the scent to be overwhelmingly  strong in your bedroom anyways 

Resin and wood oils are also great. The best known ones are of course frankincense, rosewood and myrrh, but it is worth trying different oils to see which ones will work for you. Experiment with amyris, gurjun or fir needle

 

Hope you liked my top tips. Which essential oils are your favourite for calming? Please leave your comments below

 

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