The Natural Way To Better Sleep
Getting sufficient sleep is vital for your overall health, because during this important ‘down-time’ you have the opportunity to rest and recuperate in preparation for the following day.
During sleep, the mind gets a well deserved break from the pressures and stress of daily life, the cells and tissues of the body are repaired, and energy levels are replenished. Medical studies have confirmed that sleep helps to regulate our hormones and recharge the body’s immune system which protects us from infection and disease.
But every night millions of people go to bed and battle with insomnia or sleeplessness in one form or another. Some sufferers seem unable to switch their minds off and spend countless hours restlessly tossing and turning, whilst others awaken inexplicably in the middle of the night and are then unable to drift back into sleep. The following morning, millions of people head off to work bleary-eyed, hoping they can make it through the day and praying for a better night’s sleep. But that night they sleep no better than the last, and the whole vicious cycle repeats itself.
For some people insomnia begins as a symptom of an illness or develops during a particularly stressful time in their life, causing such a dramatic disruption to their circadian rhythm (internal body clock) that they are unable to return to a normal sleeping pattern. Some unfortunate individuals may spend years battling their way back to normality.
Lack of sleep can age you
Research has shown that there is a connection between disruption to sleep and the development of high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety. So if you are currently experiencing sleep problems it is important that you visit your doctor for help, because if left untreated, the long term effects of sleep disruption can lead to the development of diabetes and even obesity.
These conditions can develop because when we suffer from lack of sleep our blood sugar levels begin to fluctuate, thereby stimulating cravings for more carbohydrates and sugar. A lack of sleep can also cause problems with our adrenal glands, resulting in the over-production of cortisol which affects blood pressure and also inhibits the utilization of blood sugar by the hippocampus, the brains primary memory centre. This is why we can’t remember simple things when we get over tired. Significant lack of sleep has also been known to speed up the aging process of the skin, making a person look older than they really are.
Natural remedies are safer
Traditional medicine offers several remedies for people who suffer from insomnia, but many bring serious side-effects. Sleeping pills are a commonly prescribed remedy, but whilst they do treat the insomnia effectively in the short term, the user may develop a tolerance to them requiring increasingly larger doses to bring about a sedating effect. These drugs are also addictive, sometimes leaving the sufferer dependent on medication for the rest of their lives.
Therefore, it’s much better to take a more natural approach getting a good night’s sleep whenever possible, and this can be achieved by making a few lifestyle adjustments together with the strategic use of sleep enhancing essential oils.
Here are some helpful guidelines to help you get a better nights sleep naturally;-
- Within reason, you should aim to get up at the same time every morning and likewise go to bed at the same time in the evening to keep your body clock running smoothly. Staying up late and sleeping until lunchtime over the weekend, and then switching back to rising in the early morning for work during the week plays havoc with your body clock.
- Make sure you get enough exercise during the day otherwise you won’t be sufficiently tired when you go to bed. If you go to bed when your body isn’t tired your mind may be over-active making it much harder to fall asleep.
- Watch what you eat and drink before going to bed: you should avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and large meals close to bedtime, but a cup of herb tea or hot milk can help you relax. Milk contains melatonin and tryptophan which works to calm the body and help you to drift into sleep.
- Keep your bedroom completely dark and quiet, so if your clock has bright LED display turn it away or cover it up. Your bedroom should be a haven for sleep, so don’t watch television or read in bed and likewise keep it free of phones, computers and video games. If you must read or do some type of studying choose somewhere else, or you will end up subconsciously associating your bedroom with work rather than sleeping.
- Have a warm bath before going to bed, and add a few drops of your favourite relaxing and sedating essential oils. There are plenty of effective ones to choose from, and you can use just 1 or up to 4 different ones if you want to create an effective synergy. Make your selection from the list of relaxing essential oils in the side panel.
- Take a vaporizer or burner into your bedroom and add some essential oils before you are ready for bed so that the air is filled with molecules of calming and sedating essential oils. Replenish your burner with a few more drops as you get into bed, and take a few slow, deep breaths to begin the process of winding down. Breathe in slowly to a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, and then slowly exhale to a count of 4. You should find that focusing on your breathing helps to take your mind away from the hustle and bustle of the day whilst generally releasing the tension in your body.
Sleep disturbances may be a symptom of a physical or psychological condition that requires professional treatment, so it’s important to see your doctor if your sleep problem persists. Unless you are diagnosed with serious problem by your doctor the chances are you can get back to a stable sleeping pattern without resorting to drugs by using these simple, time tested remedies.
Finally, be sure to take a good look at your life to see if there are any underlying causes that may be causing deep-seated anxiety or stress, because if you don’t tackle these issues first you are unlikely to make any headway with eradicating your insomnia using any form of treatment.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2010. Written by Sue Charles