Aromatherapy: A Natural Aid
to a Good Night’s Sleep
We spend one- third of our lives asleep. Sleep is as vital
to humans as the air we breathe and the food we eat. Without sleep we become
ill as good quality sleep helps our brain function, gives us a general feeling
of well-being, aids our concentration, improves memory and mood and boosts our
immune system. Most people function on far less sleep than they really need,
this is due to modern lifestyles affecting our sleep patterns.
Aromatherapy offers a safe and natural aid to sleep problems
without any of the side-effects sometimes experienced with sleeping tablets.
Most people will be aware of, and may have used lavender to help them drift
off. But did you know that lavender in larger quantities acts as a stimulant
and can actually keep you awake? Two or three drops on a tissue placed inside
your pillowcase is sufficient. Lavender is considered to be the ‘mother’ of all
essential oils; it is a gentle balancer and has a strong action on our
emotions, calming any imbalances. But there are many other essential oils that
can aid a good night’s sleep.
An Aromatherapist will choose essential oils for sleep
problems according to their individual effects. Any oils that are soothing and
balancing are good to relieve anxiety and stress. Roman chamomile is a good oil
as it helps calm the central nervous system. Bergamot has a refreshing aroma
and is calming and sedating. It helps to balance moods, and can help prevent
bad dreams. A warm bath (be careful with the temperature as a hot bath can be
too stimulating just before bed), with a blend of bergamot and chamomile (2-3 drops of each oil) added
to the water once the taps have been turned off, can provide the right level of
relaxation to ensure a good quality night’s sleep.
My favourite way of encouraging sleep is a foot massage whilst sat in
bed. I use a blend of 2 drops of lavender and 1 drop of ylang ylang in 10ml of
carrier oil or a light lotion, massaged well into the foot from the sole to the
ankle. By ensuring that the whole of the sole of the foot is massaged various
Reflexology points are stimulated, and this in turn helps to relax the body and
encourage good sleep patterns. A Reflexologist will be able to demonstrate
specific points to concentrate on should this be of interest to you. Cover the feet with a pair of warm socks
following the massage; keeping the feet warm is important as cold extremities
can significantly impair the process of falling to sleep.
If waking during the night is a problem then aromatherapy
can help break this cycle too. It does take a little time as the body needs
reprogramming, ensuring that you stay asleep. On waking in the night have a pot
of aromatherapy cream by the bed within easy reach, take a little of the cream
in your hands and rub the palms together to release the essential oil vapour,
then place the hands either side of the nose to create and aromatherapy ‘tent’,
then breathe deeply and slowly for several breaths, keeping the eyes closed.
This can very often be just enough to send you drifting back off to sleep.
Stress is one of the main causes of sleep disorders, so
learning relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga can help.
Massage and Reflexology have been proven to be the most effect alternatives to
medication, combined with essential oils, the body learns to relax, stress
levels are reduced and refreshing sleep follows naturally.
For further information about essential oils, prescription
blended creams and lotions as well as Reflexology and Massage, please do not
hesitate to contact me.