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HOW ESSENTIAL OILS HELP YOU GET A GREAT NIGHT'S SLEEP


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Are you getting enough sleep? The answer is probably no, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare finding that two in three Australian adults report at least one sleep-related problem. Here, aromatherapy expert Pat Princi-Jones tells Lifestyle News why essential oils can help you get a great night's sleep - and which oils work the best.


Q: How can aromatherapy help us sleep? 


A: As well as acting as natural sedatives, essential oils help reduce stress levels which are often synonymous with sleep disorders.


Neroli and Bergamot are not only calming but also work to ease nervous tension brought on by an overactive, overwrought mind struggling to fall asleep. Regular use will reinstate healthy sleep patterns and improve sleep quality.  


Essential oils not only smell beautiful but they can also be used in a variety of applications to further enhance sleep. We can establish a calming bedtime ritual with pure essential oils.


Their delicate particles scent the air preparing a sanctuary to retreat from our hi-tech, hyper-connected lives, helping us to switch off and relax. They signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. 


Q What are the top essential oils that help you sleep


A: Although there are many oils suitable for sleep, the following are some of the most popular I recommend. Remember, if you want to reap the benefits of aromatherapy practice, only 100% pure essential oils will suffice. Synthetic copies do not have the same profound impact on the central nervous system. 


Marjoram is a potent natural sedative, this sweet herb is an amazing addition to any blend for its ability to aid sleep.  

  

Rich woods, and resins such as Cedarwood, Frankincense, and  Australian Sandalwood are most notable for not only inducing sleep but also for managing anxiety. The compounds in these oils support the final stages of REM sleep – providing a more profound night’s sleep. 


Heart notes such as Lavender, Geranium, Rose, and Chamomile, have a calming effect on the central nervous system. These ester-rich oils have been used for centuries to promote sleep. By simply diffusing a few drops of these oils an hour before turning in for the night will improve the overall quality of rest. 


The addition of citrus such as Sweet Orange, Bergamot, and Mandarin can also promote a sense of calm and add to the composition of any sleep blend. Citrus oils contain high levels of limonene content and are excellent nerve tonics.  


And finally, exotic sweet florals, such as Neroli, Jasmine, and Ylang Ylang are also indicated for modulating brain activity and assisting the body to relax. They make wonderful sleep remedies. Simply add a few drops of Neroli in Jojoba to bath water for a soothing soak.


Q: How can someone create a personalised sleep ritual? 


A: Simply repeating a ritual at bedtime can be a powerful way to signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down. With essential oils as part of that ritual,  you’re much more likely to get the rest you need.


Transform your bedroom into a sanctuary; a haven exclusive for sleep. Invite the delicate essential oil particles to permeate the room and envelop you with their soporific properties. 


Set your diffuser as part of the family routine each night. A regular bedtime ritual usually includes at least one hour of winding down time so set the diffuser at this time and leave on for three hours duration.  


Indulge in a soothing soak with pure essential oils, dispense a few drops of lavender on your pillow, lather your body with a soothing balm, apply roll on to the neck and shoulder, or add a few drops of essential oils to 5ml (1tsp) Jojoba base oil and massage onto the back and shoulders before going to bed.  


These simple solutions can help us make a seamless transition from the day’s challenges and surrender to sleep’s soothing embrace. 


aromatherapy expert Pat Princi-Jones
Aromatherapy expert Pat Princi-Jones

Q: What is your favourite oil blend, and why? 


A: The growing interest in aromatherapy has led to the rise of numerous ready-made products to aid sleep, and In Essence has excelled in this category to include roll-ons, therapeutic blends, and mists to aid the sleep cycle. 


The In Essence Sleep Blend contains Lavender, Mandarin, Roman Chamomile and Valerian; a delicate mix of sleep-inducing oils that can be enjoyed by all the family. The Sleep No Lavender Blend contains Sweet Orange, Marjoram,  and Roman Chamomile.  


If you want to make your own blend, here is my favourite recipe.  Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rose Otto, Australian Sandalwood, and Mandarin 


Apart from the divine aroma, this beautifully balanced blend creates in your bedroom, these notes are grounding, nurturing, soothing, and relaxing. Add two drops of each to the water in your diffuser. Diffuse for 3-4 hours only.


Q: How can essential oils help our nervous system? 


A: Concentrated plant extracts known as pure essential oils contain compounds that can profoundly affect our physical and emotional well-being.


Much research has been done to confirm the calming and soothing properties of certain oils such as Lavender, Neroli, and Bergamot. These oils are known to settle and sedate the central nervous system by interacting with the brain and the parasympathetic response through inhalation and topical application. 


Once inhaled, the particles activate the olfactory response connected to the limbic system involved in a variety of behavioral and emotional responses, including regulating sleep patterns.


Because essential oils are rapidly incorporated into the limbic system, they offer an immediate remedy for insomnia.  


Lavender, for example, is renowned for improving sleep quality. It contains the compound linalool, which is calming and soothing, and once inhaled can increase slow-wave sleep to help induce prolonged sleep time.


Regular use of pure essential oils can help you establish a consistent sleep pattern, allowing your circadian rhythm to operate at its peak. 


Pat Princi-Jones is an aromatherapy expert and educator @ Heritage Brands Pty Ltd. She is also the author of A Scented Life  

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