If you asked me to tell you about the most hedonistic personal habit that I have, the one that I simply could not be asked to give up, you would in fact be asking me about the single most important health practice in my life: sleep.
I absolutely and unequivocally love my bed
Who can say when it happens exactly that we leave a childhood of fighting against bedtime behind us and begin to develop our most jealously guarded relationship in life – with 2-square meters of low-sprung comfort?
Or is this just a topic for middle-agers like myself who simply don’t always sleep as good as they wish they could?
On a casual level, US studies have said that about 25% of people don’t sleep great all the time. Which is quite a lot. If you start talking about diagnosable insomnia however, the numbers can drop to indicate about 6% of the population. But I also read that the three main symptoms for insomnia…
trouble getting to sleep
trouble staying asleep, or
not feeling rested after sleep
A lack of sleep can put lives at danger and significantly reduce your health
Whether or not we can legitimately use the word insomnia, most of us know how it is to lose out on a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t take a medical degree to know that we simply do not function to the same capacity if we are sleep deprived. Domestic accidents, car crashes and even industrial disasters have been linked to the reduced competence that comes from sleep loss. Some of the main issues that are thought to be connected with a lack of sleep are:
- Memory problems
- A reduction in hand-eye co-ordination
- A weakening of the immune system
- An increase in our perception of pain
The general consensus is that we need at least around 7 hours sleep a night. Growing and developing bodies need significantly more. Brain function has been shown to be connected to effective sleep restoration, but also optimal physiological and emotional balance. Studies have shown also that cell production increases while protein deterioration decreases during deep sleep, which may account for the general rejuvenating effect attributed to healthy slumber.
Since sleep is such an important part of healthy living, it is not surprising that there are a lot of pro-sleep products in general circulation. But even a brief foray into pharmaceutical choices will show you the alarming world of known side-effects of sleeping pills which include dizziness, drowsiness, weakness and shaking, just for starters.
WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT CAUSES A PERSON TO TOSS AND TURN ALL NIGHT?
People over the age of 60 are said to suffer generally more from sleeplessness and this in part is thought to connect to a more sedentary lifestyle.
Illness and medication may also be factors to consider.
Apnea is the current buzzword for sleep-related problems and it is a restricted breathing condition that occurs during sleep and disrupts sleep patterns.
As an intrinsically natural process, sleep is something that we need to learn to nurture rather than quick-fix. Stress and anxiety are considered to be major factors in sleep-related problems because these are conditions that interfere with our natural ability for relaxation – the essential precursor to sleeping.
Pure essential oils have been proven safe and effective for anxiety, stress, relaxation and sleep
There are numerous studies out there that show the clinical use of pure essential oils as an effective treatment for sleep-related issues. Significant results in the hospital setting have contributed to the rising fame of aromatic medicine for enhancing critical natural functions in a way that conventional medicine cannot.
WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS WORK BEST FOR SLEEP AND HOW TO USE THEM
Lavender True and Chamomile Roman are the two best known essential oils for enhancing calm and promoting sleep. But if you are looking for a greater synergy you should also look at some other powerfully therapeutic oils like Neroli, Marjoram and Ylang Ylang.
You can use an individual essential oil and inhale directly from the bottle. Or add up to 10 drops of combined oils on a diffuser to fill your sleeping space with therapeutic aroma (olfaction is a very effective way of influencing natural body responses). 5-10 drops of Lavender in the bath before bed or combined with Chamomile is also a great way to start the relaxation process. You can also blend 1 drop of essential oil to 1 ml of body cream or oil for massage (so in a palm serving about 5 drops).
Remember always it is important to only use high quality sleep essential oils from a reputable aromatherapy store or natural health products outlet. Certified organic is also recommended wherever possible. This is because only medicinal grade essential oils will interact with the body in a fully beneficial way at an optimum therapeutic level.
Medicinal-grade essential oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential we use certified organic or wild grown (sustainable) plants to produce our oils and all extraction processes are strictly controlled to produce the best quality oil with a maximum purity and therapeutic value. See more at: Absolute Essential's Website