Sleep! Ahhhh….a much talked about, written about, commented on past time but good quality restful sleep seems to elude many of us with serious consequences.
During this time, conscious brain activity is fully or partially suspended which contributes to restoring and maintaining emotional, mental and physical health. In recent years doctors and organizations such as the National Sleep Foundation have encouraged the wide acceptance of sleep as one of the three pillars of health, together with nutrition and exercise.
(1) There are so many articles about sleep and getting good sleep but this was an excellent one from The New York Times called Goodnight. Sleep Clean. (2) They say, when we sleep, the brain uses a liquid that acts like the brain’s version of lymphatic fluids to flush out the brain! So the brain weighs less when we wake. So, the brain is also cleansing when it is asleep.
From new born babies getting used to sleep patterns to adults coping with the stresses of life and juggling responsibilities I firmly believe that each and every one of us can benefit from a few simple changes to routine to get better quality sleep and help our body.
Lack of sleep impacts immune, cardiovascular and overall health as well as impacts our ability to lose and maintain healthy weight.
What's going on while we sleep?
Sleep Deprivation Damages
*Brain regulates growth & repair
*Replacing energy reserves
*Removing waste products
*Loss of attention
*High level of Micro sleep
*Failure to process information
*Impulsivity & loss of empathy
*Reduced cognition & creativity
*Increase infection/cancer risk
*Increase cardiovascular disease
*Risk of Diabetes II
*Increase stimulant/sedative use
*Increase risk of a mental health crisis
One way our family have found amazing for getting great sleep is using essential oils.
Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds from plants. They are the plants defense mechanism. Essential oils have many health benefits. They support and protect the body at a cellular level.
* Add 4-5 drops of oils of choice, apply a few drops to clothing, bedding (eg pillow), or any other method that supports inhalation. Start exposure just before bedtime.
* Night Owls: Smell Wild Orange oil and say: "I have plenty of time tomorrow!"
* Lavender Peace is a soft and sweet blend for the diffuser.
* Foot Massage is a great way to get systemic support from the oils. Dilute 1-2 drops of your favorite oil in a carrier oil and rub onto the bottoms of your feet. Don't forget to put on socks after.
* Rub diluted oils onto the back of forehead, back, shoulders, back of neck.
* Take a warm bath - you can add 1-2 drops essential oil to natural shampoo or body wash or epsom salts and add it to your bath.
* Staying Asleep: Put your organs to sleep and keep them asleep. Did you know that sometimes our organs keep us awake during the night? Mix Juniper Berry oil with fractionated coconut oil and massage on tummy and the tummy reflexes on the feet. We have also found Digest Zen and Zendocrine very helpful also. My 3 year old is a great example of how these oils can help with sleep. I tried everything the other day – all the calming oils etc but still no Zzzzzz’s. Then I thought – perhaps its his tummy keeping him awake, so I used these two oils with fractionated coconut oil rubbed in a clockwise direction on his tummy and the bottom of his feet and bingo - asleep in minutes. Can you see the connection with our organs and sleep?
The chart below reflects the 24 hour internal body clock. Every organ in your body has a repair/maintenance schedule to keep on a daily basis. Most of us in the West have never been aware of this, but Chinese health practitioners have known this for hundreds of years.
It is important to know these cycles if you want to understand our health challenges which could be adversely affecting our sleep patterns. If you feel sluggish, foggy, achy, etc. at these particular times of day, you will know which organ is trying to repair the damage done to it, and these ‘feelings’ you are having are the result of the energy being expended to do these repairs. When you target an organ look up the oil that is specific to help with that organ and you can use it topically over reflex points or take 1 drop internally to help support and assist that organ to work at its optimum. Zendocrine is an excellent example of a blend of oils targeted for a specific purpose – the Adrenal System. As mentioned above use this oil to help keep your organs happy and healthy and keep you asleep for longer!
* Monkey Brains: Another common road block to sleep is mind chatter and not being able to switch off from all that happened in our busy day. Calm the mind chatter with Balance, Patchouli and Vetiver oils. Wood and root oils very grounding. Vetiver is a grass root and helps the brain make connections. Balance has a lot of wood oils. Use one or a combination of these oils. Rub on forehead, back of neck, ears and big toes before bed. Say, "I give myself permission to switch off!
*Oils to help relax muscles: Sometimes we can’t sleep because we are tense in neck or shoulders. Try Aromatouch blend with some fractionated coconut oil.
* Serenity Softgels - Take 2 capsules 30 minutes before bed.
A combination of Lavender essential oil and plant extracts in a vegetarian softgel. dōTERRA Serenity Restful Complex combines the well-researched, relaxing benefits of Lavender essential oil and L-Theanine along with lemon balm, passionflower, and chamomile to gently promote relaxation and sleep.
* Add 1-2 drops like lavender, or roman chamomile to warm water and take as a tea.
*Balance *Wild Orange *Cedarwood *Lavender *Vetiver *Lavender Peace *Bergamot *Roman Chamomile
Lavender Peace + Vetiver + Wild Orange
Cedarwood + Patchouli + Balance + Vetiver + Roman Chamomile
Juniper Berry + Balance + Vetiver + Patchouli + Ylang Ylang
Bergamot + Lavender Peace + Roman Chamomile + Vetiver + Ylang Ylang + Patchouli
1. Eat Well and Maintain a Healthy Exercise Routine - Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise keeps our weight in check, but it also helps with sleep. Eating high carbohydrate foods floods the muscles with glucose, causing involuntary muscle movements during sleep, which disrupts rest. Exercising too close to bedtime ramps up metabolism and body temperature and can make it difficult to fall asleep. If you get hungry before bed, try snacking on a hand full of nuts. Nuts provide protein and fat, which are not only satisfying, but are slowly digested, which can provide a calm sleep, and rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps to calm the nervous system.
2. Maintain a Rhythm - Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. Creating this rhythm helps regulate your body’s internal clock and may help you sleep better.
3. Just Say No to Alcohol, Caffeine, Nicotine, and Electronics - All of these can make going to sleep difficult. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks too close to bedtime. Remove all electronics from the bedroom, including TVs, computers, and other electronic devices. Try to avoid bright light at least an hour before going to bed. Darkness will help your body begin producing melatonin, a hormone that naturally regulates sleep. To help keep your internal clock in balance, be sure to expose yourself to sunlight in the morning, which naturally tells your body to wake up.
4. Keep Cool - Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot, nor too cold. Your bed and pillows should be supportive, yet comfortable. If you experience shoulder, hip, or back pain in the morning, you can be sure you did not rest as well as you could have. It may be time for new bedding.
5. Wind Down - Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading or taking a warm bath. Certain drinks, such as chamomile tea, may be relaxing and non- stimulating.
6. Use Calming Essential Oils - Essential oils like Lavender and Bergamot are rich in linalool and linalyl acetate, compounds that have well-known relaxing properties. These oils can be diffused aromatically in the bedroom to create a calming and peaceful environment, perfect for getting a good night’s sleep. They can also be used topically and taken internally to calm the nervous system, promote relaxation, and lead to a restful sleep. Try placing two to four drops of Lavender or Bergamot essential oil in a warm, herbal tea (Chamomile, Lemongrass, etc.), or another favorite uncaffeinated beverage about 30 minutes before going to bed, or add two to four drops of Lavender into an empty capsule and swallow about 30 minutes before bed.
7. Get Enough Daylight in the Daylight hours – We need to have adequate amounts of light during the day time because sometimes if we are in a dim place our body hasn’t switched on to day and night and gets confused. 3000 lumins. We do this with babies – allow them to sleep in the daylight – open curtains, blinds etc so they know what day and night is….do this for babies. Nursing homes.
The Essential Life book has an extensive list of oils that may help with conditions or contributors to sleep issues such as hormone imbalance, low melatonin levels, restless legs etc. Please see this guide for more detailed information and suggestions. Contact me if you would like a copy.
Hi! Thanks for visiting and reading my blogs. As a busy mum of 2, I am a passionate health educator who loves helping women and their families learn how to live happy healthy lives. Having natural solutions on hand, reducing toxins in your home and having tools to improve your family's health is empowering. It's what I love to help people do.