By pure coincidence I have had at least three ‘sleep’ conversations this week with three different people. All to do with ‘rituals’ before sleeping. I’ll cover these at the end of this blog. I promised some friends who couldn’t make it to Ann-Marie’s sleep workshop last week that I would share some of her tips and insights from the workshop. For those of you who don’t know Ann-Marie – she is an expert in a range of therapies including sports massage, Aromatouch treatment, Indian head massage and Bio energy Therapy. Her knowledge and experience is invaluable, and it is not surprising that her one hour workshop turned into two hours.
I attended this workshop because I lost my sleep mojo four years ago when my lovely, daughter came into the world. Before then I’d hit the pillow and sleep for at least 8 hours straight. Also, my mind has decided to keep on running well after I lie down in my comfy bed. Thoughts rush through my head like a raging river – have I done this? did I make that deadline? did I lock the back door etc… If I could find just a few techniques that could remove some of my barriers to sleep, then I would be somewhere on the road to great quality sleep.
So back to the workshop – there were a variety of people at the workshop, nurses, business professionals and myself, mum of two looking for natural ways to find my sleep mojo back.
Let’s start with some sleep causes – some obvious and some not so obvious….
Poor Sleep Hygiene – we are not talking dirty pillow slips here! but that a beautiful crisp, clean lavender scented pillow case will help you reach your sleep utopia. There are poor habits like too much screen time in bed – mobile, e-reader, laptop, tv, all of these disrupt serotonin levels (a chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to the other). So our brain cells related to sleep can be negatively affected by low serotine levels.
Get into the rhythm of working on simple habits and practices to assist reaching that blissful sleep state. To be honest I was aware of some of these already – but I never practiced them, so this workshop was the nudge I needed for me to get my act together.
- 30 minutes before you get into bed – turn off any distractors such as TV, PC, Mobile. Give yourself those 30 minutes to wind down, even if it’s just building this into time spent cleansing your face, brushing your teeth.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol or other stimulants.
High Levels of Geopathic Stress – Ann-Marie got me here, I honestly never heard of this. These are bodily stresses that derive from the place where one lives or works. The Earth has a natural electromagnetic field. This field is distorted as it passes through underground streams, mineral deposits and other obstructions, and the frequency changes to a level that is harmful to most humans. Geopathic Stress in Ireland typically occurs along lines that follow the course of underground rivers. Electromagnetic pollution can also magnify geopathic stress.
Remove or move unneeded electrical appliances in your bedroom. If you can’t, keep them unplugged when not in use. If you sleep with your phone under your pillow – stop now and place it on the other side of the room. Switch TV’s off from the wall, don’t just leave them on stand-by. The biggest one that I took home is to turn off Wi-Fi at night (although hubby is a bit disgruntled about that one).
At this stage of the workshop I was seriously keen to get onto the next phase of identifying what essential oils I can use to make quality sleep attainable. Please be aware that it is not just the oils alone that will transform your sleep pattern, but a more holistic approach will certainly get you there.
Just on a side note, a discussion point during the workshop is the fact there is no regulation in the essential oils market. So anyone can claim to have 100% pure essential oils products, even if 5% is pure plant extract and the rest are fillers or synthetics. This is why doTERRA is now the leading therapeutic grade essential oil manufacturer in the world. This grade guarantees 100% pure essential oil extract – their products are even used by Harley Street doctors to reduce bleeding during surgery.
The best part of the workshop was when I actually got a chance to smell and touch the oils, Ann-Marie very kindly offered us a sniff and drop of each oil. So for sleep here is what Ann-Marie recommends:
Serenity Blend: a delicious blend of Lavender Flower, Cedarwood, Ho Wood Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Vetiver Root, Vanilla Bean Absolute and Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood. Inhale or apply to the bottom of the feet. Used in conjuction with doTERRA Serenity Restful Complex Softgels for a more enhanced sleep.
One audience member shared his experience of when his wife had a new baby and sleep was one thing she was not getting. So she was restless and heard every noise, whimper, and movement of the baby – so getting back to sleep was a challenge. She started taking the Serenity Softgels, within days she was sleeping well, so much so she had to be awakened by her husband to breastfeed the baby.
Juniper Berry: Also know as the oil of nightmares – this one really struck home with me. My daughter suffers from night terrors, and Juniper is an excellent blend for calming, grounding effect on emotions. It can be applied to the feet for quick absorption (our feet have large pours, so absorption is quick and effective). This is on my list this month – it comes in a roller ball format too, which is great for applying to children’s forehead and controlling the flow of oil if you are fumbling around in the dark and worried about applying too much.
Vetiver Oil: This is an anxiety warrior it seems (my term). If like me your head is going 100 miles an hour while lying in bed, this is the one for you. Apply on the back of the neck and base of the spine for a balancing, calming effect. Ann-Marie shared a lovely story where she was at a wedding and the children were hyper active, so she applied (with the parents permission) Vetiver to the back of their necks. The wedding photographer was really impressed with the calming affect and it made his job a lot easier!
For personal experiences from some friends and acquaintances that have used oils I have recommended please read on! What I have learned from working with these oils is that not one oil fits all. Every person is different and how they react or feel can differ, that’s why it’s important to try a variety of options until you find your ‘perfect match’.
Peppermint Oil: Initially this was to help with his respiratory issues, but he started to apply the oil to his forehead, temples and back of the neck just before he went to bed. He slept five hours straight, for a man who hasn’t slept for more than two hours a time this was a massive achievement for him and he swears it’s the effect of the peppermint oil.
Wild Orange and Lavender: Wild Orange is a favourite of mine – a friend of mine rubs it on her feet, it’s part of her ‘ritual’ and time for ‘taking care of herself’. She sprinkles lavender on her pillow for a sound, restful sleep.
I hope you found this blog useful. If you wish to try out any of these oils please reach out to me at email@example.com or just like my Facebook page for updates.