In my previous blog, I discussed the difficulty in leaving the comfort of your bed to greet the day. Although this is an unpleasant problem, being unable to fall asleep, or even sleeping properly, carries an even greater risk to your overall health and quality of life.
Two types of sleeping disorders
Chronic sleep deprivation has an extremely negative impact on your life. It affects your daily productivity, performance and alertness, concentration, and problem solving. In addition to these, there are the physical impacts, such as blood pressure problems, heart disease, stroke, and weight issues, that are far more serious and detrimental to your health. When your body is deprived of sleep, the relationships with your family, your children, your friends, will also begin to suffer.
Insomnia is another sleep disorder that affects a wide range of people, and surprisingly, the strongest link to depression. In recent studies, people who have been diagnosed with depression have shown sleeping habits of six hours or less per night. Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Insomnia worsens the symptoms of depression, and as a result, the depression makes it harder to fall asleep.
Both types of sleeping issues, or as a combination, have fostered a population of extremely tired, unhealthy and depressed inhabitants of our planet. You are simply unable to function in a healthy, normal and positive fashion no matter what you do, or how hard you try. Lack of sleep will have serious long term consequences on your life, health and happiness.
Routine at bedtime
As I was raising my children, I realized that routine made for happier kids. By the way, this still rings true today. So every night, after bath time, I would tuck each of my three children in their comfy beds, and sing a lullaby of their choosing. I would sometimes have to sing the same song two or three times, but that was fine with me. It was our routine, and I could see their minds shutting off, and their breathing slowing down. It was an important routine, one that they still talk about today.
Funny, but I don’t remember when it stopped. There was no written rule in a pediatrician’s book, or article in the latest parenting magazine. It just stopped. And honestly, I’m not sure why. My point is that the routine worked. My children knew that when the song was sung, the day way done.
As adults, why do we not embrace the same ritual? Maybe not literally, as in having your mom sing you a lullaby. I mean the routine, the steps to closing down our body and mind, telling our brain that the song was sung, and the day was done. Instead, we try to squeeze as much into the day, and our brain misses that important cue, and does not realize that the day is finished, and it is now time to shut down and go to sleep. And that could very well be the contributing factor to many of our sleep issues today.
A New Beginning
So I propose this to you. Start a bedtime routine for yourself. Before you go to sleep tonight, apply some Lavender essential oils to the bottom of both feet. This oil has both a relaxing and soothing effect on the body. Rub the excess on your pillow. You can also place a drop of Lavender EO in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and inhale its calming aroma.
Add a few drops of Vetiver EO and/or Serenity Blend EO and diffuse in your bedroom. These essential oils have a grounding effect on your mind, and create a sense of peace and well being. Listen only to the sound of your breathing. If your mind tries to work, stop it in its tracks. Take several deep breaths and empty your mind. You will fall asleep faster, and your mind will adjust to the routine. It will send a signal to the brain that the day is done, and it is time to go to sleep.
If you wake during the night, don’t allow your brain to work again. Empty your mind, and think of nothing. Concentrate again on your breathing. You can inhale more Lavender EO, or even the Serenity Blend, there is no limit. Experiment with the different EOs and find the combination that works best for you. Apply an additional drop from a roller bottle to the bottom of your feet. You deserve a good night’s rest. Your mind and your body will thank you.
So sleep, and smell the lavender, and have a wonderful night.
Next week: Essential Oils – The New Trend?