Sleep is essential for your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. The statistics show that as many as 16 million UK adults* are suffering from sleepless nights as a third (31%) say they have insomnia
😴 Two thirds (67%) of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep and nearly a quarter (23%) manage no more than five hours a night.
😴 Half (48%) of UK adults admit they don’t get the right amount of sleep, with women more likely to agree (54%) than men (41%).
😴 Cardiff (37%) and Sheffield (36%) worst affected by insomnia.
😴 Improving sleep is the biggest health ambition for a quarter (26%) of UK adults but half (51%) don’t take any measures to help them sleep.
😴 More than one in ten take sleeping tablets (13%) or drink alcohol (13%) to aid sleep.
So what are the options? Alcohol actually does not help you get a good night's sleep, it blocks REM sleep, which is often considered the most restorative type of sleep. With less REM sleep, you're likely to wake up feeling groggy and unfocused
Could aromatherapy be the answer?
Aromatherapy is the use of concentrated plant extracts or essences extracted from plants and flowers. These essences (called essential oils) contain powerful therapeutic properties. As a trained aromatherapist I've been using these oils with my clients for years with amazing results. Here are 6 of the best essential oils for sleep.
Always has to be top of the list when it comes to relaxation! Lavender is the most popular and versatile essential oil in aromatherapy. It has a harmonising effect on the nervous system. It assists our response to any kind of unproductive stress. It provides a sedative or stimulant action depending on your needs, acting as a sedative in conditions of mental & emotional stress, calming the mind and alleviating fears, while it uplifts & revives the spirit for someone feeling emotionally depleted. It’s the first choice for the treatment of insomnia especially when it’s due to mental stress or anxiety.
Bergamot essential oil is produced from the peel of the nearly ripe fruit of the bergamot tree, it has a citrusy scent and it has a sedative yet uplifting quality. It’s a great oil for if you are feeling tense or anxious. It has an affinity with the heart chakra and is useful when the heart chakra is affected by grief. It balances the body's energies and helps you to relax and let go (Bergamot is phototoxic avoid exposure to the sun after having used bergamot)
Chamomile has long been known for its therapeutic properties, chamomile flowers have been used for many years to aid digestive problems. The sweet scent of roman chamomile is calming and soothing. It is particularly well known for its ability to alleviate stress and anxiety and insomnia. Not only has research shown that Roman chamomile can calm anxiety and promote better quality sleep, but it also has the potential to reduce nightmares.
Marjoram is one of the most sedative essential oils and has the ability to strengthen and relax the nerves. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & restore response) and lowers the sympathetic function (fight or flight state) . It's ability to relax the nerves makes it a perfect addition to any essential oil blend to aid sleep.
Cold pressed from the ripe outer peel of the orange fruit. According to traditional Chinese medicine sweet orange helps to circulate stagnant Qi (energy) especially when it accumulates in the liver, stomach and intestines. Sweet orange has a calming effect as well as lifting the spirits, it is well known for its ability to alleviate stress, restlessness and anxiety.
Ylang ylang has the ability to slow down over rapid breathing and over rapid heartbeat, it’s well known for treating frustration, depression and anger. Ylang ylang helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It helps bring feelings of peace and dispels anger which can hinder healing, spiritual connection & meditation. And it smells divine!
How to use
Essential oils must be handled carefully. There are only 2 oils that can be applied directly to your skin and they are lavender & tea tree. All other oils need to be added to an oil, body cream, bath or diffuser.
Sleep easy bath/body oil
Here’s a sleep easy blend for you! Add to a carrier oil such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil.
To 50ml of oil add
💧 5 drops of sweet marjoram
💧 5 drops of lavender
💧 5 drops of roman chamomile
💧 5 drops of bergamot
Mix into the oil or lotion and then use the oil as a body oil/lotion or bath oil just before bedtime!
Make your own sleep pillow spray
You will need a 50ml bottle with spray pump
Add 70% of the bottle with alcohol - vodka is the best as it doesn't have a strong scent
Fill the rest of the bottle with spring water or distilled water
💧 5 drops of sweet marjoram
💧 5 drops of lavender
💧 5 drops of ylang ylang
💧 5 drops of sweet orange
Spray liberally around the room and on your pillow just before bedtime!
Click here to check out my website for a range of aromatherapy products to calm mind, body & soul.
* ONS mid-2016 population estimates. There are 51,767,543 UK adults aged 18 and above in the UK.
Statistics taken from https://www.aviva.com/newsroom/news-releases/2017/10/Sleepless-cities-revealed-as-one-in-three-adults-suffer-from-insomnia/