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Insomnia and the best natural medicines for good deep sleep

When I was a kid, we used to make those little lavender bags with my grandma. We would take a basket to the garden to gather the flower heads and raid mother's sewing bag for little pieces of fabric and lace.

Lavender bagsI remember the soft gentle fragrance of freshly harvested Lavender was always especially pleasing. We called our finished bags lullaby pockets and we would tuck them under our pillows in the firm belief that they were the ticket to a sleep of lovely dreams.

And the general idea is basically still a sound one. Only nowadays, though I wouldn't forgo the pleasure of a garden ramble, I would most definitely sneak in a few drops of Dream Time or Twinkle Star to fortify the spell.

Do you ever have trouble getting to sleep?

According to the Sleep Management Institute, most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at some time in their lives and it is estimated that up to 50% of the general population is affected by insomnia.

The official criteria for insomnia starts with difficulty in obtaining and maintaining sleep. But there are a whole host of factors that have to be taken into account before you can be diagnosed with an isolated condition of insomnia.

Chances are, if you are having difficulty getting to sleep or if broken sleep leaves you staring at the ceiling, there will be some underlying issues contributing to the problem. Some of the main culprits are:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Medication/drugs
  • Illness/pain
  • Alcohol/caffeine
  • Inhibited breathing
  • Hormonal changes
  • Jet lag, or other body clock disruption

What can you do to get a better night's sleep?

There is this wonderful term - sleep hygiene - that comes from the sleep experts. Meaning essentially that there is a lot we can do to clean up our sleep-related habits. This involves such things as getting sufficient daily exercise, not eating late at night, and not watching TV or even reading in bed.

An important objective here is to help us associate our bed with only sleep and so we should try and go to bed really tired or get up for a while, rather than tossing and turning.

When it comes to taking something to help you sleep, the consensus is that sleeping pills or sedatives should only ever be a short-term measure and are not generally the best option.

This is where pure essential oils come into the picture. Of all the natural remedies for sleep, essential oils have probably received the most attention in clinical trials and studies. And their credibility as a genuine sleep aid is steadily rising.

Anxiety and stress are two of the main factors contributing to insomnia and here again essential oils have proven their worth as a means of natural support. (For more information see: How to de-stress your life for balance and success).

It is the active molecular compounds in essential oils that interact directly with our nervous and endocrine systems. Sedative, analgesic and nervine are just a few of the natural properties available when you know the right therapeutic essential oils to use.

The great thing about essential oils is that they are very aromatically pleasing, not to mention versatile. You can diffuse them into your bedroom, drop them in the bath, inhale them from your pillow, or incorporate them into a body oil for massage.

You can create easy, soothing rituals with pure blends that can work on many levels to help you to release tension and stress for bedtime.

The best essential oils and blends for a good night's sleep

Lavender sprig

Lavender True (organic) Lavandula angustifolia maillete
The concentrated essence of the familiar soothing Lavender has powerful therapeutic benefits to aid calm and relaxation. Safe and soft for families but with real power to help release the tensions of anxiety and stress.

Chamomile Roman (organic) Anthemis nobilis
Another classic herbal remedy worth knowing in its purest, most concentrate form. It is soothing on the nerves and has calming, soporific qualities. Also available in a 3% blend for babies and small children.

Dream Time
A blend of all the best relaxing, sedative pure essential oils with inbuilt respiratory support in a powerful natural synergy, plus of course a wonderfully comforting aroma. For anyone wanting to promote a really good night's sleep. Includes Chamomile Roman, Marjoran French, Orange Sweet & Lavender True.

Twinkle Star
This is the child version of Dream Time. Made with the gentlest plant strains most suited to infant sensibilities. Children find the softly sweet aroma deeply reassuring and the relaxing synergy helps them to drift off to sleep more easily. It also includes support for good deep breathing which can really make a difference to snuffly, unsettled children.

Use for single oils and blends: diffuse 5-10d (drops) in the bedroom; add 5d to the bath; 3d on the pillow; 5d to 5ml of body lotion or carrier oil for chest/body rub.

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. www.absoluteessential.com

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