Do you have trouble sleeping? Today, I am happy to bring you a guest article from Stacey Gavin, a wellness advocate and blogger with a passion for living a natural and healthy lifestyle. She is currently pursuing an Aromatherapy Certificate and a balanced life. She loves walking her dogs and spending time on the water with her family.
It's more than just frustrating when you can’t fall asleep or find yourself waking up regularly at night — it’s bad for your mental and physical wellbeing. Sleep is vital to our health and our ability to function at our best, and the National Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping seven to nine hours a night. Getting a full night’s sleep is easier for some than others, and things like stress, caffeine and irregular bedtimes can keep us from getting the essential rest we need. For those of us who aren’t blessed with the ability to close our eyes and immediately start dreaming, sleep is a coveted state for which we are willing to try anything to get.
Unfortunately, many of today’s popular sleep remedies involve the use of pharmaceutical medications — which work great for some but can cause unwanted negative side effects for others. Some prescription sleep aids act as sedatives, can be addictive and may affect our memory and ability to concentrate. Luckily, there are many safe and natural remedies for nocturnal restlessness that don’t depress the central nervous system or negatively affect our brain chemistry. If you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep and staying that way, give these tips a try.
Rituals can help us form habits in ways that are enjoyable, and developing a bedtime ritual can be the key to getting deep, restful sleep. Allow a half an hour to engage in an activity before bed that isn’t technology related. Try taking a candle-lit bath, relaxing into some gentle yoga poses or reading a good book. It's best to separate your bedtime routine activities from those you associate with stress or bright artificial light.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help train your body’s inner clock and allow your circadian rhythms to operate at their best, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Having an irregular sleep pattern that involves naps or sleeping in on weekends can throw off your natural rhythms and make it harder for you to get the rest you need.
Regular vigorous exercise is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for those who have trouble sleeping, but even light exercise is beneficial. It's also a good idea to avoid naps during the day if you have trouble falling asleep at night.
Most people associate essential oils with spa treatments or aromatherapy, but there are many that can aid in promoting a great night’s sleep. Many essential oils promote relaxation and help get our minds into a state of restfulness for sleep. They also smell wonderful and can promote a pleasant mood that enhances the bedtime experience.
Essential oils are also a natural choice to promote restful feelings without causing many of the common negative side effects of sleep medications. These are the most recommended essential oils for promoting sleep:
Lavender is one of the most versatile and beneficial essential oils around, and there’s no question that it is beneficial for use at bedtime. Its aroma calms and relaxes, which is why people have been using it to promote a restful night’s sleep for centuries without any negative side effects. Lavender has an amazing ability to brighten our emotional outlook and put us in a calm mood, so we can curl up in our bed and happily drift away.
Valerian essential oil comes from small pink blooms and is popular for its ability to calm the central nervous system. It may not be as well-known as lavender or chamomile, but people have been using this flower as a powerful sleep aid since the 17th century. It also can improve the quality of sleep by promoting a deeper rest. It doesn’t have the inviting fragrance that some of the more popular essential oils do, but valerian oil has the power to help you feel ready for bed at night and energized when you wake up.
Frankincense has been used since ancient times to benefit almost every system in the body. This biblically-famous oil brightens the spirits and promotes deep relaxation while calming the mind. It pleasantly spicy aroma can put you in the mood for sweet dreams all night long.
Chamomile is one of the oldest known natural sedatives and a great essential oil for promoting rest. You might be familiar with making a sleepy-time tea with the flowers, but you can get just as many of the bedtime benefits from utilizing the essential oil. It will have you drifting off into dreamland in no time.
Ylang Ylang is known for its bright and uplifting tropical scent, but this sweet floral essential oil can also act to soothe your mind and ease you into sleep at night. It can relieve feelings of stress and promote a positive mood, along with a gorgeous floral scent that can freshen your bedroom or sheets.
How to Use Essential Oils to Promote Restful Sleep
There are a few ways to utilize essential oils as part of your nighttime routine. For starters, you can simply put a few drops onto a ball of cotton and slip it under your pillowcase or directly onto your pillow.
Using a diffuser an hour before bedtime will help fill your bedroom with inviting aromas and promote a relaxed atmosphere to fall asleep in. Or you can simply put a few drops onto your hands, rub them together too and inhale deeply.
Put a few drops into a carrier oil and give yourself a relaxing nighttime massage on your hands, feet and shoulders, or drop a little into a hot bath with Epson salts to ease away the tensions of the day.
You can even add a few drops to the washing machine while you launder your bedding to infuse the soothing aromas and relaxing properties into your sheets and blankets.
Whichever way you choose to utilize essential oils to promote a restful night’s sleep, always choose the highest quality oils to ensure that you reap the most therapeutic benefits. Try a few of these tips out tonight and you’ll be surprised just how powerful they can be for promoting the feelings of ease and rest.
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