Are you suffering from lack of sleep or an overload of stress? These are two all-too-common, modern-day complaints that often go hand in hand.
Indeed, the stress/sleep relationship can be a vicious cycle. The more stressed you are - the harder it is to sleep. Lack of sleep, in turn, intensifies the stress you feel, because your sleep-deprived body generates more stress hormones.
Clearly, prescription drugs (antidepressants and sleeping pills) should be a last resort and are best avoided if at all possible, as they can be harmful and highly addictive when taken over time. Instead, we recommend the following natural techniques to reduce stress, encourage sleep and get your life back in balance.
1. Move the body
Exercise has been proven to lower anxiety and gear the body for sleep. Morning or afternoon is the best time to exercise. Just before bedtime, try movement that ends in quiet meditation (like a yoga stretch) - something to relax the body and mind.
2. Set the scene
Environmental factors such as light, sound and temperature all affect the body’s ability to unwind and rest. A dark, quiet and cool (but not cold) bedroom setting is best. Clean, fresh linen also helps. And taking a shower or bath just before bed can relax and moderate the body’s temperature, which brings about sleep more readily.
3. Avoid stimulants
Too much caffeine (taken too late in the day) and/or alcohol can increase anxiety, raise the heart rate and inhibit sleep. You should also avoid screens at least an hour before bed - as TVs, tablets, smart phones etc emit a short- wavelength, artificial blue light that keeps the brain awake and suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Try listening to music or reading a book instead.
4. Relax the mind
Mindfulness meditation, yoga and breathing exercises are popular at the moment, and rightly so, as they offer easy, effective tools for attaining a non- stressed relaxed state. Calm can also be achieved by taking a walk. When you practice techniques for soothing the mind during the day, it’s easier to unwind and trigger the relaxation response at night.
5. Don’t forget your essentials
As well as aiding natural sleeping rhythms, certain essential plant oils can also effectively - and naturally - help towards reducing anxiety and stress. They integrate seamlessly with the body’s innate control systems and act organically the same way as the body’s own hormones to influence the areas of physiology that are linked to mood and sleep.
Our top three suggestions for de-stressing, living and sleeping well would be:
Lavender True Oil (organic) The concentrated essence of the familiar soothing Lavender has powerful properties to aid calm and relaxation. Safe and soft for families but with real potency to help release tension and counter restlessness.
Dream Time (organic) A blend of all the best relaxing, sedative pure essential oils with inbuilt respiratory support in a powerful natural synergy, plus a wonderfully comforting aroma. We also have Twinkle Star (organic), which is the child-friendly solution, made with the gentlest plant strains.
Stress Less (organic) calms the nervous system and quietens mental traffic. Helps re-establish balance and supports a positive attitude.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:
• Add 5-10 drops to a diffuser
• Mix 6-10 drops in milk, add to bath
• Add 1-5 drops to 1ml carrier oil or cream for massage
• Add 1-2 drops direct to pulse points
Note: Essential oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential, we ONLY 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 maximum purity and therapeutic value.
- Dr Bo Hendgen