We are going through a tough phase. India is bravely fighting the second wave of the deadly coronavirus infection. It’s the time when the best way we can contribute to the battle is by staying indoors and taking care of ourselves. Can it be any easier? However, anxiety, stress, fear, insecurity are the common emotional states now and needless to say, they are doing havoc to our sleep which is much essential for good health and boosting immunity. In this article, I will be sharing my favorite bed-time essential oils recipes to combat poor sleep.
I have been calling up family and friends for the last few days to enquire about their health. Some were affected by the deadly virus and are recovering, while some are still physically unaffected. However, almost 8 out of 10 said that though they are physically healthy, they are hugely affected mentally and are unable to sleep well. I suffered from insomnia a few years back. It gave into my problem of anxiety disorder, which further contributed to sleeplessness and disturbed sleep. I could well guess that people facing such unnerving situations can easily fall into the trap of this vicious cycle.
In my phase of insomnia, I had to go through medical and counseling therapies. However, being an essential oil enthusiast, I created an oil blend to support my treatment process. And it helped me tremendously. Since then I often use the blend on me and my family to achieve optimum sleep in case we are lacking the same for some reason. I shared my blend and recipes with them. Some of them tried and reported that if not entirely yet, but their sleeping time has bettered considerably.
WHY SLEEP IS SO ESSENTIAL?
Sleep is the time when our body repairs, the mind relaxes and the soul rejuvenates. So, in one sentence, sleep is important for the holistic wellness of our body, mind, and soul. Sleep is nature’s own way of healing us. We were never taught that we have to sleep or how to sleep. It came in the natural framework of man and animal. Poor sleep, sleeplessness, or insomnia can severely impact our health and mind.
Why is sleep essential for our body?
First and foremost, lack of sleep or poor sleep leads to weight gain. It has been reported that short sleep duration or disturbed sleep is the number one risk factor for obesity. Hormonal imbalance to lack of motivation for exercise, poor sleep can cause havoc to your body weight. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to increased secretion of ghrelin, appetite-stimulating hormone and reduced levels of leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone, and the result is increased intake of food, hence calorie and inevitable condition is obesity. Obesity, in turn, increases the chances of cardiovascular diseases which in the present pandemic will add up to the comorbidities.
Again lack of sleep also impairs your body’s immune system. Poor sleep disrupts the metabolism of glucose in the body and increases the chance of type-2 diabetes. So can you understand, how best care you can take of yourself and your loved ones? Simply by sleeping well and ensuring that your family gets their optimum quota of sleep. Not only will you raise your immune system against the Covid-19 but also will be better equipped to fight it if God forbid you or any of your loved ones get infected.
Why is sleep essential for our mind?
Researches have shown that poor sleep increases our emotional reactiveness and impulsiveness by increasing the activity of our brain’s rapid response center called the amygdala. This leads us to react vehemently and often unpleasantly in certain situations. As human beings, we are blessed with intelligence and memory and these blessings make us go through various emotionally charged experiences throughout our lives. Sleep helps us to process these experiences and memories and neutralize their charges on us and thus our energy system. This nightly rest is very important for our ongoing emotional state. However, disturbed sleep hampers this restorative work and keeps us constantly vulnerable to the emotional stings of difficult and painful memories. This pattern when unresolved tends to trap us in negative thoughts. And fixation with negative thoughts for a period of time can lead to mental health disorders like depression, anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Why is sleep essential for our soul or spirit?
Here I will be talking a bit about the spiritual dynamics of sleep and its importance to our soul or spirit. Sleep means resting time. Resting is the natural cycle of the earth. Animals hibernate, plants shed periodically, and we humans sleep. While our soul is here in our body fulfilling its course on Mother Earth, it is only in our best interest that we should abide by her laws. To ensure that we mortals are catching up to our bodily requirement of sleep, Mother Earth goes into the phases of light and darkness periodically to establish her rules.
For whatever purpose our soul or spirit has descended to the earth and possessed this body, its primary job is to ensure that we should obey and respect the basic requirements of this body that we have loaned from Mother Earth. When our soul is here in Mother Earth, it is connected to her via the root chakra of our energy system. Root Chakra entrusts us the right to every requirement to fulfill the need of this body. Therefore, when we deprive the body of its most basic requirement of sleep, we are actually hindering our soul to fulfill its task on this earth, we are falling out of the dynamics of the Earth. Feeling low, fearful, anxious, ungrounded, disconnected are the common emotional manifestations when our connection with Mother Earth gets hampered or our root chakra gets imbalanced.
Now that I have covered all the grounds about the importance of good sleep, let’s see how we can ensure that we can get a good night’s sleep without the need to pop a pill.
HOW TO TARGET A BETTER SLEEP
Here are few practices which you can incorporate into your daily lifestyle such that your difficulty in falling asleep or remaining asleep for the optimum duration can be addressed all naturally.
Inculcate a good eating habit
- Make sure that you are finished with your dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Do not fill up your entire stomach capacity in dinner.
- Avoid tea, coffee, and any other caffeinated drink after sundown.
- Include a tablespoon of ghee or clarified butter in your dinner recipe.
- Avoid excess sugar thought out the day.
- Light snacking on sleep-inducing food like a banana or 3-4 soaked almonds or a cup of cold milk at least 30 mins before bedtime is absolutely fine and can be beneficial in lulling you to sleep.
This is a pointer, along with meditation, that I really cannot stress enough. I think almost all my wellness articles are going to have these two points in common. Exercise and Meditate. Please. It is not important initially what kind of exercise you are doing. Choose whatever you enjoy doing, whatever makes you feel connected to your soul. Personally, I prefer long brisk walks in nature and chakra yoga. You can choose Zumba, free-hand exercise, swimming, cardio, strength training, or yoga. Whatever you choose, make sure you are exercising at least 3 hours a week.
The expected next point. Ha ha. Meditation has been a game changer in my life. It helped me find myself, my joy, my peace, my bliss. It gave me power to control my thoughts and emotions and shape my life in the way I choose it to be. There are several guided meditations available in the internet, choose one and start practicing. 15 mins of meditation in a day as a beginner is well enough. Find a clutter-free 15 min for yourself in a day and travel inwards with meditation.
Create a sleep time routine
This technique I have learned from my doctor when I was undergoing the treatment of GAD and insomnia. Creating a sleep routine triggers our brain about the upcoming sleep time – time to let go and relax. While including nerve relaxing and sleep-inducing activities or avoiding activities that suppress the production of melatonin hormones, it can help in good quality sleep.
So basically, you can create your own routine in your own ways as different people can find relaxation in different other things. However, the rule of thumb is to avoid digital screens at least an hour before starting your sleep time routines. Your sleep time routine can include a warm bath, diffusing essential oils, prayer or chanting, grounding meditation, reading or listening to music, or ASMR sounds.
I will be sharing my bedtime ritual soon. So keep checking the space.
3 ESSENTIAL OILS TO AID IN BETTER SLEEP
I have been an essential oil enthusiast for a long time now and have been incorporating essential oils in my daily life for 10 years now. Therefore, it is needless to say, when I was first diagnosed with the condition of insomnia, I turned to essential oils. However, I was quite late and in an advanced stage to tackle it entirely with aromatherapy and hence needed to turn to western medicines and counseling therapies. However, I have always kept essential oils to provide added support to the treatment. Now that I am no longer in acute condition, essential oils work excellent for me.
When coming to the choice of the best essential oils for sleep, there is a number of easily available options – sandalwood, jasmine, cedarwood, chamomile, etc. However, I chose Lavender, Ylang Ylang, and Orange because Lavender is not only my favorite essential oil but it is one of nature’s blessings that is close to my heart (I think that is pretty evident by the name of my blog). Ylang Ylang and Sweet Orange supported the blend most wonderfully creating a happy, warm and cozy blend to fall asleep to.
Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is the most commonly used essential oil in aromatherapy. It’s indeed a multi-beneficial oil that is known to support several conditions. However, it is perhaps most commonly used for relaxation and sleep owing to its analgesic and anxiolytic properties. The two main components of Lavender essential oil are linalyl acetate and linalool. Linalool, known for its sedative properties, lends its goodness to the lavender oil.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil (Cananga Odorata)
Ylang Ylang essential oil derived from the flowers of the Cananga tree is well-known for being anxiolytic (alleviates anxiety), antidepressant (reduces depressive mood), and aphrodisiac (arouses desires for intimacy). The fine combo of these three properties makes it a fine choice for bedtime oil. Also, its deep grounding scent gives a sense of security and warmth.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis)
Sweet Orange essential oil is known for its hearty, happy scent that uplifts the mood and eases nervous tension. It is also known to reduce depressive mood. Personally, the smell of sweet orange essential oil helps to soothe and calm down perhaps by soothing my inner child. Being a patient of anxiety disorder, this oil helps me to settle down peacefully and increases the flow of positive thoughts.
ATTY’S SLEEP TIME ESSENTIAL OILS RECIPES
Atty’s sleep time bath salt recipe
This bath salt not only aids in good sleep by virtue of the essential oils, but the epsom salt is known to reduce the aches and pains of the muscle which gets tensed due to anxiety and fear and also physical strain and the himalayan salt clean detoxes the energy system of the body and clears negativity.
Take a bowl, add
- 200 gm of Epsom salt
- 100 gm of Himalayan salt
- 100 ml of almond oil
- 40drops of lavender essential oil
- 25 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
- 15 drops of sweet orange essential oil
Mix well and store in an airtight jar.
Add a spoonful of this bath salt to a tub of water. Allow 2-3 mins for the salts to semi-dissolve. Take a slow comforting bedtime bath.
Or add three spoonfuls in your bathtub and enjoy a relaxing bath.
You can also just take a relaxing foot-bath by adding a spoonful in a tub or bowl.
Atty’s sleep time diffuser oil blend recipe
Diffuse this essential oils blend in your bedroom approximately 15 min before entering for sleep. Make sure that the space is well-ventilated.
Blend for 200 ml diffuser:
Add 200 ml water. Then add
- 4 drops of lavender essential oil
- 3 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
- 2 drops of sweet orange essential oil
Increase and decrease the drops proportionately with the water capacity of your diffuser. Check out my favorite home diffuser here: https://amzn.to/3ykji8I
In case you are using the small tealight diffuser, use the below blend.
Blend for small tealight diffuser:
- Add enough water
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1 drop of ylang ylang essential oil
- 1 drop of sweet orange essential oil
Atty’s sleep time linen spray recipe
Spray your pillows and duvet or comforters with the spray for not more than two whiffs. Remember for essential oils less is more. Though you may feel you cannot enjoy the nice aroma for a longer time, nonetheless it is working for you.
In a 30 ml dark glass spray bottle, add 10 ml of rubbing alcohol (this will help the oils to remain dissolved in water). Then add
- 6 drops of lavender essential oil
- 4 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
- 2 drops of sweet orange essential oil
Lastly add 20 ml of Lavender hydrosol. Shake well. Shake every time before using. Do not spray in front of open flames.
Are you interested in trying any of these essential oil recipes? Do let me know how did you find them to be. Also, I will be eager to know any tips that you have that can aid in better sleep. Please drop them in the comments section.
New to the essential oils? Check out my post on the safe use of essential oils at home.
Wanna ask me any questions? Drop them in the comments. 🙂
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Love, Light, and Peace!
Disclaimer: Essential oils are not medicines and I am not a medical practitioner. The information shared in the post is based on personal experience and gathered from various books and reliable internet sources. It is always advisable to seek proper medical help in case of serious illnesses and conditions.