Worry, anxiety, stress, and major or minor health problems can all affect your quality of sleep. But you don't need to take sleeping pills -- which can actually make you feel more tired and groggy the next day -- to help you rest easy. You can heal your insomnia using natural therapies like aromatherapy (see our recipes below), homeopathy, and herbal remedies (try drinking a soothing chamomile or linden blossom herbal tea before bed). Of course if your insomnia lasts, you're advised to seek medical help and support.
What is sleep and why is it important?
In the dark, our pineal gland secretes the hormone called melatonin, which is responsible for inducing sleep. Sleep is a building process that restores the body's energy supplies that were depleted through the day's activities. It is a time to replenish mental energies, emotional energies, and spiritually connect with our higher self.
But we're not just relaxing during our sleep. In fact we are quite active. We use this precious time not just to refuel, but also to evaluate, resolve, and release many of our issues. So you can see that when you're not getting sufficient sleep, you're like an eight-cylinder car that's running on four cylinders.
How much sleep do we really need?
The amount of sleep each person needs varies. Most people require around eight hours each night, but various factors can affect how much more or less you might need, including your weight, age, muscle mass, exercise during the day, healthy lifestyle, and of course stress!
Aromatherapy Blends for Insomnia: In a 10 ml bottle, pour the essential oils in the following recipes first and then add your organic vegetable oil.
Calming a Nagging Mind: Enjoy a Quiet Night
Do you feel agitated in your sleep? You subconsciously process your thoughts and emotions during your sleep, which is what makes it restless. Massage the blend below on your temples, forehead, and your nostrils (breathe it in easily) before going to bed:
7 drops Basil
6 drops Petitgrain
4 drops Roman Chamomile
Ease Worries and Nervous Tension: Gain Calm and Peace
Do you have an anxious disposition and have difficulties falling asleep? Tranquilize your mind and emotions with the following aromatherapy blend. Massage the blend on your temples, forehead, at your nostrils (breathe it in easily), before going to bed:
7 drops Lavender
7 drops Marjoram
4 drops Roman Chamomile
Other Tips to Help Your Insomnia:
Cut back on coffee, tea, and other sources of caffeine, especially in the evening.
Avoid alcoholic drinks in the late evening. Alcohol may help sleep onset, but cause early morning wakefulness.
Avoid eating large, late-evening meals and heavy, fatty foods before going to bed.
Take a walk or perform mild exercise such as yoga or Qi Gung before going to bed.
Don't use your bedroom as a place to work.
Have a cup of warm milk before going to bed. Milk products contain an amino acid precursor that boosts serotonin in the brain.
Take a warm (not hot) bath (not a shower) before going to bed.
Avoid naps if they interfere with your normal sleep pattern.
If unable to fall asleep within 20-30 minutes of lying down, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy. This way your body does not associate your bed with wakefulness.
Exercise during the day.
If you continue to suffer from insomnia or lack of sleep, seek medical advice.
(c) Francoise Rapp. Internationally renowned aromatherapist and alchemist, Francoise Rapp, shares her expertise in using essential oils to heal and revitalize body and mind. Highlights include aromatherapy classes, pure & organic essential oils, recipes and aromatic treatments for health and wellness.