I don’t know about you, but when I’m under a lot of stress, insomnia comes to visit. Dealing with stressful situations is hard enough, but doing it on way too few hours of sleep makes bad situations grow in magnitude (at least in my mind).
Sleep debt is a national issue, whether from stress, overwork, illness or a number of other issues. We live in a society that actually esteems lack of sleep and equates it with our self-worth. However, studies show that not getting enough sleep is bad for us. It increases our likelihood of struggling with depression by 4 times the normal rate. Lack of sleep is responsible for increased accidents, missed work and weight gain.
I’m currently in the middle of a (short term) stressful situation that had been robbing my sleep. I don’t like to take drugs to induce sleep, (I don’t like to take drugs period) so I searched for a natural solution and came up with several. Many of the below suggestions are just common sense and will help you consider how your actions (or lack of them) and food (even the time of day you eat) can affect your sleep. It’s always better to try to work with ourselves and our bodies instead of against them whenever possible.
However, there’s one solution I’ve tried during the midst of this latest trial in my life that has cancelled my sleepless nights. It’s become my go-to and it works every time! It’s also non-toxic, safe and easy to use, doesn’t leave me groggy, and is inexpensive.
Ready? (You’ll have to wait until the end to find out this perfect solution.)
First, think about the following and adjust what you can adjust to see if it helps you when you’re suffering from an inability to sleep:
Consider Your Surroundings:
- Is your bed too hard/too soft? What about your pillows? Being comfortable helps relax you so you can sleep.
- Is the temperature of your room too hot (studies show that people generally sleep better in cooler temperatures)?
- Is your room too light or too noisy?
- Consider lowering the light as early as 1 hour before bed. This helps get your body in ‘shut down’ mode so it can sleep.
Some Helpful Habits:
- Keeping a regular schedule as to when you get up and go to bed each day (even on the weekends) helps aid sleeping. Turns out, our bodies like routine! Go figure!
- A warm bath relaxes and helps wind down the body (try adding Epsom salt to the bath for added relaxation).
- Try to stop eating at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed. When you’re stomach isn’t working to digest, we sleep more restfully.
- Although it might seem that alcohol aids in sleeping, it’s really a false sensation. Once the sedative effects wear off, it often increases insomnia, not decreases it.
- Limit sugar and caffeine to before NOON (or better yet, eliminate it completely).
- Add a bit of honey to some herbal tea with warm milk right before bed. Honey acts as a natural sedative. (Warm milk by itself is also effective.)
- Eat a small snack high in carbohydrates to help make you sleepy.
- Eat foods high in tryptophan (turkey, cottage cheese, chicken, cashews, tuna, etc.) Remember how sleepy you are after Thanksgiving, right??
- Drink cherry juice as it contains melatonin, which aids in sleeping.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Exercise (especially early in the day).
- Go for a slow evening stroll.
- Do some simple yoga moves right before bedtime.
- Rock yourself in a rocking chair (it’s not just babies who are lulled to sleep in the rocking chair; it helps relax adults, too).
- Listen to calm music (emphasis on calm).
- Try counting backwards from 300 in multiples of 3 (this forces your brain to think about something besides the fact that it can’t sleep).
- Get up and journal (I know, it sounds counterproductive to wake yourself up MORE, but getting your worries down on paper often allows restful sleep for the remainder of the night).
Helpful Essential Oil Protocols:
- Try Grounding Blend. Apply to 1-2 drops to ears, back of neck and/or bottoms of feet. Can also be diffused or a drop or two added to your pillow/sheets.
- Try Calming Blend. This blend is formulated specifically to lessen tension, calm the mind and relax the body. Use same as Balance, or can also be dropped into your bath at bedtime.
- Try Frankincense. Frankincense is good for an amazing number of concerns. It helps with sleep because it contains compounds that are calming and promote feelings of relaxation.
- And for the DRUM ROLL solution you’ve been waiting for…make your own Peaceful Child Blend. This blend of oil you’ll have to mix yourself, but it’s easy and it’s been my number one most effective sound sleep inducing solution.
Since I was already aware of how sugar and caffeine affect me, I already greatly limit it and never eat it after around 1pm. I know that taking a brisk walk daily helps aid my sleep as well. Getting up to journal also often does the trick when I can’t shut my mind down (but I’d really like to go to sleep and stay that way right off the bat).
While these measures helped some, I was still getting as few as three hours of sleep per night while I tossed and turned, trying relax. Since mixing up my own bottle of Peaceful Child oil blend, I now sleep like, well, a peaceful child. My brain stops frantically churning, my body relaxes and sound sleep envelops me. Deep sleep. I fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night. Finally, relief!
If you struggle with insomnia, I’d like to encourage you to experiment with any combination of the above suggestions to see which works best for you (we’re all different). To give each solution a fair shot, try it for at least a week (or even two) to see how many extra Z’s it gives you (or skip to suggestion 25 right off the bat and maybe it will save you weeks of experimenting. Who knows?)
Regardless, let us know how it goes. And here’s to a good night’s sleep.
Warning: Not all essential oils are created equal. Please note that many essential oils are not pure enough to use in some of the ways mentioned below. For safety reasons, we recommend pure essential oils that are certified by a third party and guaranteed to be 100% pure, with no chemicals, dilution or additives. If you want to purchase these pure oils hit the “contact us” (tab at bottom of page).