Essential oils for sleep
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
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 in a massage or in a both)
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 overrapid 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, sweet almond oil or Neal’s Yard create your own body lotion click here to purchase - It’s divine and great for making your own essential oil creations!
To 50ml of oil or lotion 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 Etsy shop for a range of aromatherapy products to calm mind, body & soul.
You can purchase organic essential oils from Neals Yard here
* 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/
Be kind to your body & mind!
When I first started making soap a few years back I started to learn all about the difference between essential oils & fragrance oils. I quickly realised that many of the everyday products we use such as soap, shower gels, hand washes and shampoos contain products that, let's just say, aren't as natural as they're made out to be.
The thing is what we put on our skin ends up in our body and the more conscious we become about what products we use, what we put on our skin may become just as important as the food we eat.
What are fragrance oils?
Fragrance oils are synthetic man made fragrances. You will find them in a wide range of products to give them a scent. You'll know if a product contains a synthetic fragrance by looking at the label, if the ingredients list says the words fragrance oil, FO, perfume or parfum it's not natural. They are made from synthetic compounds and can have potentially dangerous side effects such as headaches, dizziness, skin irritation or coughing. Many fragrance oils are derived from petrochemicals (petroleum based) and could 'possibly contain diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans (Silva 2004) and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies (Swan 2008), and musk ketone, a synthetic fragrance ingredient that concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk (Hutter 2009; Reiner 2007).' )(from ewg.org)
Why use a fragrance oil?
For someone looking to make a soap or candle fragrance oils are the easy choice because they hold their scent better than essential oils and they are much cheaper. As a consumer you get the fresh clean linen scent that you love or the scent of fabric conditioner in your candle. Fragrance oils smell great! Essential oils cost more and are trickier to get a great scent throw from. That's why when you see an aromatherapy soap or candle made from essential oils it's bound to be more expensive and probably won't have such a strong smell. Fragrance oils aren't all that bad otherwise manufacturers wouldn't be able to use them! As they are made by a synthesis of chemicals to imitate a natural product, the issue can occasionally lie within the exact individual chemical component of the finished fragrance.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are made from the flowers, leaves, fruit or stems of plants. They are obtained from natural raw material either by distillation with water or steam, mechanical processing or dry distillation. They are widely used for their therapeutic benefits. Many essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when they are inhaled or applied topically and these essential oils have an effect on the mental states, nervous system or the endocrine system. For example lavender is well known for its calming and relaxing effects. But not all natural plants are safe, think poison ivy! Essential oils aren't as harmless as you may think, they are not to be used internally, most are not to be used directly on the skin and essential oils do have some of the same allergens found in fragrance oils.
Why use essential oils?
Here's why I will only use products fragranced with essential oils. They are natural extracts of plants and flowers. I choose not to have chemicals found in fragrance oils on my body or even worse burn them in a candle producing a toxic chemical vapour. But also for the therapeutic benefits, as an aromatherapist and holistic therapist I've been using them for years to help people with a range of conditions. Many of my clients swear by my muscle & joint ease balm to take away joint and muscle discomfort, and they smell divine too!
Visit my Etsy shop! www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LouisaBApothecary