In the past, on nights when it was not easy to sleep, I would tell a familiar ritual.
I would fish a 3 mg melatonin capsule in the bathroom, place it on my nightstand next to a cup of water, and swear to have it in 15 minutes if I was still awake. A few minutes later, I was usually asleep, and in the morning, the melatonin was still perched on top of my bedside stack of books, intact.
It was a strange approach, I’m aware of it. In my waking hours, I found myself disturbed by the unreliability of the process. Sleep is essential for me – as a writer, as a runner – so I can’t really afford to lie there, fuming, until 4 a.m. on a Wednesday. One night I was sure my weird failsafe would let me down.
Defending against acute insomnia, however, as I understand it, is easier when the net is wide, with a holistic range of options designed to monitor, prioritize and to prepare to sleep.
For example: I monitor my sleep on the WHOOP app; I drink magnesium before going to bed; I try to keep my phone out of the room; and I eat fruits that catalyze the regulators of the sleep cycle in the body. It’s hard to do too much. (Who can argue with more, better sleep?) The key is to identify personal and additional practices – sleep tips, you can call them – that demystify the sleepiness process.
To that end, here’s another unannounced method to add to the list: aromatherapy. It’s not traditionally the sort of thing men talk about around the water cooler, but essential oils, especially lavender oil, are an easy-to-use all-natural relaxer and an obvious addition to any fitness routine. sleep.
Most of us associate Lavender with Dove Soap and Yankee Candles, but we sell it short. The flower extract has shown almost magical properties for millennia. It is only recently that peer-reviewed studies have attempted to test this dynamism. The authors of a 2013 article wrote: “Lavender is traditionally believed to have a variety of therapeutic and healing properties, ranging from inducing relaxation to treating parasitic infections, burns, insect bites and stings. spasms. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that lavender oil may be an effective drug in the treatment of several neurological disorders.
Once the lavender leaves are pressed and steamed, aromachologists find themselves with an oil with an avant-garde fragrance. It might take a pound of flowers to get there, but it makes sense – a vial of lavender oil is a powerful thing. Studies conducted in 2005, 2015 and 2018 have confirmed what sleep experts have long suspected: lavender oil is an “olfactory stimulus” that positively impacts sleep. Diffused correctly (by direct contact with the skin, a diffuser or even sprinkled on a pillow), it can act as an effective sedative before bed.
Why? Lavender contains the compounds linalyl acetate and linalool, two chemical compounds that inhibit neurotransmitters, lower heart rate, and reduce anxiety. Whereas advice for insomniacs usually involves finding ways to keep calm – rest in an armchair in the other room, drink a glass of water, read a low-stake book – a safe and modest sedative like lavender can be extremely useful.
Not to mention: lavender can help ease Well to sleep. On nights when I end up taking melatonin (or as a preventative), I will invariably experience a melatonin mad dream, and then have to work all morning with a groggy hangover. Lavender is different. Research has suggested that lavender oil not only helps people fall asleep, but also improves the sleep experience. Those who use it report a decrease in nocturnal disturbances (it is known to limit ‘wake latency after falling asleep’, which means it helps you stay asleep) and see improvements in mood and vigor upon awakening.
As essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, there is no specific recommended dosage of lavender oil. The end of the game is all about getting the scent into your nervous system, and the easiest way to do that is to breathe it in or put it on your skin. On this last point, it’s a precise process. You don’t lather it all over like sunscreen or walk through a cloud of bug spray – instead, locate areas like your wrists, palms, and the soles of your feet. Just be aware that some people may have irritated skin reactions to essential oils, and everybody the skin will flare up if you massage lavender oil without “carrier oil”.
The role of a carrier oil is to dilute the essential oil slightly and allow it to penetrate the skin without problems. You have a few options, but I would go with organic coconut oil. The good stuff too: extra virgin and unrefined. For every drop of lavender oil, mix it with a teaspoon of coconut oil. If that seems too bulky to you and you have about $ 120 to burn in your pocket, get a diffuser. It would also allow you to play with other aromas throughout the day – oils like chamomile, orange, sandalwood, clary sage, and lemon are all known to reduce anxiety. Whatever essential oil you use, try adding two or three drops to your diffuser.
If it’s lavender before bed, I recommend you get the bedroom ready early, up to an hour before bed. All too often, bedtime catches us off guard. We take sleep for granted and then get confused when it doesn’t happen. But counting down tips and hacks is the best way to avoid foolproof, wacky security. Try to keep your room dark, cool, and uncluttered. Keep your phone away. And give the place a scent that will not only send you to dreamland, but keep you there.
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