Using natural plants is by far the most preferable way to treat insomnia and help you sleep better rather than turning to synthetic drugs. Plants have been helping us sleep for thousands of years and there have been many scientific studies into their effects, which have shown that some really are effective at improving sleep and relaxing us.
Essential oils are natural oils extracted from plants through a process of steam distillation. It requires a lot of the plant to distil it down to a good quality essential oil. The benefits off essential oils are many, but include the ability to weaken certain viruses, strengthen your immune system and soothe anxiety. They can also be great at helping you relax and sleep better.
Essential oils can be used in several ways to help you get a great’s night sleep. Some have a direct impact on your drowsiness whilst others reduce anxiety. It’s likely the anxiety that is keeping you awake.
You can inhale, ingest or apply to your skin. But, if you do apply topically, remember they need to be diluted in a carrier oil. Choose from grape seed, sweet almond or olive oil.
Perhaps the best known essential oil and the one most commonly used to help improve poor sleep. There are references to Lavender in the Bible! And the Romans scented public bathhouses with it whilst Cleopatra allegedly used it to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
It isn’t just anecdotal either. There have been many studies on the benefits of lavender. It’s proven to improve the quality of sleep and increase deep sleep so you wake more refreshed in the morning.
Lavender also helps reduce anxiety by impacting several nerve transmission pathways. Put into a diffuser, add a few drops to your bath or onto a cloth and inhale. Or add to a carrier oil and apply topically to your skin.
Known as nature’s Valium. Although not as well-known as lavender, perhaps because it doesn’t smell as nice, it has been helping us relax and sleep for thousands of years.
There have been many studies which show valerian reduces anxiety. It can help children focus and reduce hyperactive behaviours. It not only cuts the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep, but helps you get a better quality of sleep.
Because it’s not the best smelling oil, people tend not to use it in massage oils and diffusers. Instead they ingest it.
Valerian is the special ingredient we use in Sleep Well milk. We combine it with whole milk and honey, to create a delicious and natural bedtime drink. Available in in chocolate, vanilla and even oat varieties, Sleep Well is suitable for all the family.
Studies show that valerian works best when taken regularly over a two-week period.
Holy Basil is another herb used for thousands of years as a cure for all sorts of illnesses. From eye disease to bronchitis.
While many of us use basil in our cooking, it is the jagged leaf edged cousin Holy Basil that’s used for essential oils.
You might have also heard it referred to as Tulsi. Holy basil is said to lower your stress hormone, cortisol, and also help regulate blood sugar. It can be added into a drink, bought as dried tea, or put into diffusers.
Patchouli not only smells good, but it is said to help increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our bodies.
These two hormones make us feel good and reduce anxiety and depression which, in turn, helps you sleep better. Used in diffusers or scents, it can also be applied directly to the skin.
Chamomile is well know for helping to relax and reduce anxiety. Packed full of antioxidants, it is often used in tea form. It contains apigenin, which binds to receptors in your brain. For the tea, dried flowers are usually used. But as an essential oil, it makes a great anti-inflammatory when a few drops are added to oil to dilute.
A really popular scent in relaxing massage oils, Ylang Ylang can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. This can help you sleep better.
Ylang Ylang has antiseptic properties. Most often applied to the skin via a carrier oil, you can also add a few drops to your skin to help fight chronic fatigue and insomnia.
Many essential oils are highly toxic to pets, this includes Ylang Ylang, tea tree oil, cinnamon oil and eucalyptus.
For this reason, animal health experts warn that people with dogs and cats shouldn’t use diffusers in rooms where their pet can inhale the vapour, as it can cause respiratory distress.
They also shouldn’t use oils topically on pets without veterinary advice.
Some oils are safe, but check before you use them around your furry friends.
All diffusers should be used in a well-ventilated area and not inhaled constantly. ⚱️
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