Along these lines, I am blessed to be one of a group called The Scarf Sisters (link also at right,) and among them, a friend we call Mrs. Mac. She has shared home remedies and natural responses to common problems that have made it easier for me because she's done the leg work :)
Which brings us to my latest interest, essential oils. Last weekend I took advantage of this electronic information age that I often dislike and ordered lavender, Clary sage and orange oil along with sweet almond as a carrier oil. Mrs. Mac, among others, recommended trying the lavender for my lifelong insomnia. I saw a physician about my lack of sleep a year or so ago, it was decided I needed additional testing but that there was some kind of neurological hiccup causing it since it's been going on basically since birth. I was given a short term prescription of a sleep aid to try to knock me back on track, no luck. I've taken 100 mg of Benadryl over ten hours and never fallen asleep. I never followed up on the additional sleep studies because frankly, I'm not sure what I'd do with the information? The end game would be identifying which medication would fix the problem and I don't know that I want to add medication to my life if I can avoid it. Although it's taken me a while, last night I finally tried the lavender oil idea.
Following the information online, I mixed about ten drops of the lavender essential oil (essential lavender oil?) with about an ounce of sweet almond oil in a small glass bowl. I put it in the corner of the shower so it could be picked up in the steam and after my shower, I used the mixture as a body moisturizer. When I went to bed, I used a cotton pad I had soaked in the lavender oil mixture and put it in my pillow case as a sachet. If it seems like that a lot of lavender, well, I spend a lot of time wide awake!
I do realize that my wakefulness is strongly tied to a brain that won't stop so I was careful to breathe deeply, center my mind on Jesus and peacefulness and turning off the thoughts that are stressful or even energizing in a good way. Results? Interesting! Yes, I slept. It is not my worst insomnia time, that's linked closely to my cycle so the true test is coming soon. There are three categories of sleep disturbance: trouble falling asleep (yes,) trouble staying asleep (yes,) early wakening (yes.) I did not fall asleep quickly, I did not stay asleep and I woke up early after my lavender therapy.
Number one, I believe that using lavender to help with sleep is not going to be like taking a sedative. My mind and body will need some time to respond fully to the properties of the oils and fragrance so it will take a while to have a real grasp on the efficacy of it. However, I fell asleep in about an hour and during that hour my mind was quiet and peaceful instead of racing and fretful. I often have heart palpitations while trying to fall asleep and I did not have them last night. I still awakened several times but I was able to breathe in deeply and slowly and fell back to sleep pretty quickly. When I woke up, I did feel rested. And my skin is very soft :)
I know many people have great success with lavender for sleep so I'm confidant this will be a healthy addition to my life over time and if not, I'll let you know what I've discovered. Some basics I've learned in my few days of essential oil use?
- It's not as expensive as you might think. A small vial of essential oil will go a long long way.
- You need an essential oil and a carrier oil. I ordered sweet almond but you can Google "carrier oil" and get a long list including olive oil.
- There are essential oils you can ingest and those you can't, pay attention to what you're ordering and make sure it suits your needs.
- Essential oils have a very "natural" and pure scent which I have always loved. If you've been to a spa, you know what I mean. It is not the perfume smell you find with commercial scents.
- People with allergies and sensitivities may or may not react to the fragrance of essential oils, don't rule them out but proceed cautiously.