Diffusion Blends to Counter the Sleep Epidemic
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently conducted a study on sleep and came to an unsettling conclusion: one third of American adults are not getting enough sleep. After analyzing the results of the study, the CDC declared that sleep deprivation was in fact a public health epidemic.
One culprit is the Covid-19 pandemic, which had more and more people working from home. The issue with this is that the line between work and home life has become hazy. People are sitting in front of computers at odd hours, resulting in a reduction of quality sleep. Additionally, it has been shown that staring at the blue light put out by computers and cell phones alters our natural sleep cycles.
Why Sleep is Important
The importance of sleep is often dangerously underrated. However, sleep is necessary to help the body cognitively and physically restore itself. When we sleep, the cells in our bodies are busy synthesizing protein, our tissues are repairing themselves, and vital growth hormones are released to help the body function efficiently. Lack of sleep has been associated with chronic conditions like heart disease, obesity, depression, and type 2 diabetes.
Sleep is also vital for immune function. When you are getting enough sleep, your immune system is strengthened, as well as balanced. A lack of sleep can throw off the immune system, making you more susceptible to any number of viruses and infections.
Safe Sleep Support
The market for sleep aid is growing, and you can find many options available to help you sleep. Not all options are healthy though. One popular sleep aid is Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone the body produces to help fall asleep. The melatonin supplement many take to help them get to sleep is a synthetic form of this hormone. Many have raised concerns about this supplement because they fear that taking it on a regular basis may affect the body’s ability to produce melatonin naturally, resulting in a dependence on it.
Essential oils are a safe, natural alternative to synthetic and potentially harmful sleep supplements. Here are some effective blends to help you get the sleep you need in order to recharge and strengthen the body and mind:
Lavender and Chamomile: A Powerful Duo
Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile and effective essential oils if you are looking for something to provide a sense of calm and peace. Because it is so relaxing, lavender makes the perfect essential oil for helping you achieve a restful night’s sleep! In addition to its ability to quiet the body and mind, diffusing lavender can also help with anxiety and stress. Chamomile essential oil pairs nicely with lavender. It is known for its soothing and quieting properties. Another great attribute of this essential oil is that it has antispasmodic properties. This is extremely handy if you happen to suffer from restless leg syndrome or similar conditions. It can help relax the muscles to get the body ready for sleep. Combining lavender with chamomile results in a synergistic and harmonious effect on the body and mind. Diffuse three to four drops each of lavender and chamomile essential oils thirty minutes before bedtime to get the body prepared, and then allow this to diffuse as you drift off to sleep as well. At least one hour before bedtime, refrain from using any devices that emit blue light to further help the body prime for sleep.
Valerian: The King of Sleep Oils
From ancient times, valerian has been prized for its ability to relieve pain, induce sleep, and heal the body. Greek physicians were prescribing valerian for a variety of issues as far back as the tenth century. Over time, valerian has only grown in popularity. Of all the ailments valerian is said to cure, insomnia makes the top of the list. Don’t be intimidated by this pungent, syrupy essential oil. Yes, it’s true: valerian essential oil has a smell unlike any other. However, this only lends to its potency. If you are in need of serious sleep help, valerian is your essential oil! Combining valerian with another calming and sedative essential oil like clary sage helps to offset the strong, earthy smell. Try combining three drops of valerian essential oil with four to five drops of clary sage essential oil in your diffuser for a gentle, soporific effect.
Vetiver and Cedarwood: Bring on the Sandman
If you enjoy the aromas of nature, you will love a combination of vetiver and cedarwood to help you sleep! Vetiver has a lovely, earthy smell and cedarwood has a natural, woodsy fragrance. When combined, the two essential oils will leave you feeling like you are wandering through a forgotten and ancient forest. Vetiver is immensely grounding and can help keep your mind from racing. Cedarwood, with its slightly sweet and warm scent, helps promote relaxation, while melting away tension and anxiety. Diffuse four drops of vetiver with five to six drops of cedarwood essential oil for a sleep experience that will leave you fulfilled and uplifted.
Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood: An enchanting Pair
If floral scents are more your thing, you may enjoy the sweet, bloomy fragrance of ylang ylang. Ylang ylang has a unique floral scent that some describe as almost fruity. It can help improve relaxation by relieving angst and tension. Sandalwood is known for its ability to encourage mental clarity and lower stress. Combining ylang ylang with sandalwoods creates a blend that targets mental blockages and helps to dissipate a cluttered mind while promoting repose. Combine three drops of ylang ylang essential oil with four to five drops of sandalwood to create a hypnotic menagerie of flower and forest.
The blends discussed in this article have helped many achieve a restful night’s slumber. Find one that works for your needs and try to make sleep a priority to achieve optimal health. Here’s wishing you sweet dreams and uninterrupted sleep!
About the Author:
Amber Robinson is a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild(AHG) and a Level 2 NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist with the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy(NAHA). She is founder of The Bitter Herb Academy, as well as a published author in the fields of aromatherapy and herbalism.
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