Back to School…

canstockphoto1593771With the beginning of September comes all sorts of changes. Our holidays are over and our free time is somewhat limited. If you have children, you are probably finding that as their schedules start to fill up, yours does too. It is really important to allow for some downtime as well as some flexibility in your schedule to prevent burn out. During these busy months leading up to the holidays, try diffusing essential oils in your home to enhance your family’s well-being as well as your own self – care. (There are essential oils that are more appropriate if you have younger children, but you still have a lot to choose from).

Diffusing Essential Oils is helpful for stress, focus, relaxation, as well as seasonal congestion, colds, and allergies. Blends that have antiviral and antibacterial properties. would be a good choice for the start of the school year as well as the cold season. You can also use essential oil blends that are more calming especially if your child is feeling a little anxious about starting or going back to school.Try more relaxing essential oils for your bedtime routines. Better night sleep is always a good thing as it helps boost the immune system. I prefer to use an ultrasonic diffuser because most have timers and the added safety feature of turning off when the water level gets too low. When you are diffusing essential oils:

  • try 3 – 4 drops of your blend and diffuse for 15 – 30 min, to see how you like the scent, but more importantly, to see how you and your child feel.
  • When using your diffuser, Author Robert Tisserand (2014) says,  “Don’t diffuse for long periods of time, 30 – 60 minutes is good for adults”. For young children ages 2 & up diffuse for 15 – 30 min for specific reasons, like congestion or sleep issues. Check the timer setting on your diffuser to find the best one for you, your family and your environment.

For Everyday & the Cold Season…
best breezyOne of my favorite blends is my Breezy Diffuser Blend. It’s a good choice for everyday use during the cold season, especially if you have younger children. Try it first thing in the morning to wake everyone up or after school, when kids are doing their homework.  (I wouldn’t use this one at bedtime as it is a more stimulating blend.) You could also try Lemon, Grapefruit, Lavender or Palmarosa essential oils for younger children.
***For older children (9 & up) or adults you can try my Inhale blend; Purify,  or Life Support Diffuser Blends, both have stronger scents, so depending on your scent preference and the situation, you have a few choices. You can also try Niaouli, Tea Tree, Thyme, and/or one of the Eucalyptus varieties for older children or adults. Just check the contraindications before use.

Relaxing & Bedtime Routines…
canstockphoto8095059With back to school, little ones can get anxious and not sleep very well. Those little worries can seem awfully big to someone just starting school or having to make new friends. Try Lavender, Mandarin, or Roman Chamomile for younger children. Adults and older children can also use these essential oils as well as Bergamot, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Sweet Marjoram, Vetiver and Ylang Ylang. Just check the contraindications before use. Read More

Sleep Part 2 – What’s keeping you awake

5635160When it comes to sleep or not sleeping, I’ve had years to figure out what does & doesn’t work for me… I’ve tried the herbal teas, the vitamins, meditation, the warm baths, Melatonin & almost every tablet in the health food store. Some work for a while, & some don’t work at all.

I find what keeps me awake can change from night tonight. Most of the time it is my busy brain that is keeping me up. But there are other things that can keep you awake too. It may be restless legs or leg cramps.  And then there’s the big one… SNORING!!! And in the morning have you ever woken up with a sore jaw from clenching or grinding your teeth?
Because essential oils have so many different properties, they are a big help when you find yourself sleepless wherever you are & for whatever reason…

When Using essential oils at bedtime, try using an electronic diffuser, a room spray or smelling salts for inhalation. These methods work well for insomnia. Also, have a few different types of essential oils on hand so you can switch them up because after a while, you can get used to them and they aren’t as effective. And keep in mind, everyone responds differently to essential oils, so what works for me, may not work as well for you. That being said… Read More

Sleep Part 1 – Tired of Being Tired…

“3 o’clock in the morning & it looks like it’s going to be another sleepless night,”  (“Talking in Your Sleep”, by Roger F Cook & Bobby Wood)

And yes, these are the words to a country song, circa 1978, but it also seems to be the canstockphoto8773353story of my life. My friends know that I am often up at 3 am. Most of the time I’m reading a book, but I will admit to posting on Facebook, writing emails or writing this blog because I am wide awake and I can’t sleep. This has been happening since my early 20’s, & I have to admit that I’m tired of being tired.
Research has shown that a lack of sleep can seriously impact our health. Sleep allows the body to recharge our immune system so we can fight off colds & infections, and it gives the body a break from all of the stress in our daily lives. When you have ongoing sleep issues it may be time to look at the body’s natural timekeeping system or your circadian rhythm, which affects:

  • your body temperature
  • your sleep and wakefulness cycle
  • your  blood pressure
  • releasing hormones into your body.

For most people, the length of a complete circadian cycle is very close to 24 hours.”So it makes sense to pay attention to and follow your bodies natural schedule as much as you can. (like being exposed to sunlight and darkness at the appropriate time of day).

Some ideas to consider…
In the morning:

  • try to get outside, go into your backyard or on your deck, and take a deep breath or two. It will help to ground you. Being exposed to the sunlight gets you into the wakefulness part of your circadian cycle.
  • The morning is a good time to use an uplifting essential oil either in your diffuser or just doing a quick inhalation from the bottle. Try a Citrus like Grapefruit or Lemon, or maybe consider Sweet Basil or Spearmint.
  • Limit your caffeinated beverages to one in the morning and one around 3 pm.
    If you have the time, try to fit in your daily workout.

Lunchtime:
The are foods that you can eat that may help you sleep better. Ones to consider:

  • Hummus, Turkey, Tuna or Shrimp & Walnuts, all contain tryptophan a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps the body make  melatonin,
  • Kale & Spinach have a lot of calcium which helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin.

2 – 4 pm in the afternoon: 
Our body temperature lowers between 2 pm & 4 pm (just like it does at night) which tends to signal to us that it is time for sleep. This is the time of day that most people want to take a nap (I know I do). Now would be a good time to:

  • Get up and move around, and if you are able, take a short walk preferably outside for a few minutes.
  • Have your last caffeinated beverage of the day.
    snack on Almonds, they are rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep

In the evening:

  • Limit the use of electronics to earlier in the evening. (There are apps that will dim the lights on the screen as you are winding down for the night.)
  • Put a  relaxing essential oil or blend into your diffuser and take a moment to enjoy the scent.
  • Start a ritual of self-care & unwind before bed. Take a bath, dim the lights, put on some soft music, whatever will help you to relax.
  • Switch to drinking Herbal teas like Lemon Balm, its good for stress.

And at bedtime:

  • lower the temperature in your bedroom if at all possible.
  • find a good pillow (I’m still searching)
  • Turn off the notifications on your phone. I hate being woken up to the Mario Brothers coin sound when I got an email notification at 4:10 in the morning for something that I don’t want.
  • Run your diffuser for approx 30 min, as you are settling down for the night and use a blend with relaxing or sedating properties.

 

Essential Oils to use for Relaxing: Some people think that if less is good, more would beNeroli Petitgrain, orange sweet marjorambetter. This is not the case with essential oils. Some essential oils like Lavender & Sweet Orange are relaxing in small amounts & stimulating in larger amounts. With essential oils, less is always better

Here are a few of my favorite Relaxing Essential Oils:

Lavender:  one oil that most people know and a good place to start if you are new to essential oils. It is relaxing and can be diffused for children and adults alike.
Chamomile, Roman: is a gentle relaxing essential oil, perfect for children when used in small amounts.
Sweet Orange: this oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit, smells amazing and most people, especially children really like it. (You can also use  Mandarin)
Neroli & Petitgrain:  both are part of the Bitter Orange Tree, with Neroli being extracted from the orange blossoms and Petitgrain being extracted from the leaves. Both are comforting for anxiety and depression, but of the two I like Petitgrain better because it is not as sweet.
Sweet Marjoram:  a relaxing favorite that I really like. It has a green herbal scent.
Cedarwood: a sedating oil that helps to calm the mind so you can sleep.
Frankincense: an oil that calms your breathing. Helps you to relax if you are stressed or anxious.
Patchouli:  a base note essential oil that is grounding, meditative and relaxing.
Vetiver: a base note that is meditative with an interesting scent. Really! It smells like dirt. But I love its relaxing feel and I’ve grown to like the scent.

The easiest way to use essential oil at bedtime is to diffuse it in your electric nebulizer that has a timer, so you don’t have to worry about it. You can also dilute essential oils in a carrier oil or milk and add it to your bath. But always dilute before topical use.

So take a moment for yourself, make a few small changes in your lifestyle & your environment, it can go a long way to helping you have a better night sleep.

My Blog is for information only & is not meant replace medical advice. Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted before topical use.

References

 

  • Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd ed. Brisbane: International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2004. Print.
  • Davis, Patricia,  Aromatherapy: An A-Z. London: Vermilion, 2005. Print.
  •  Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. London: Thorsons, 2002. Print. 

http://www.quinessence.com/blog/essential-oils-for-insomnia
http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/circadian-rhythms
http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/biology-of-sleep-circadian-rhythms-sleep-stages.htm
https://www.westcoastaromatherapy.com/free-information/articles-archive/conditions/insomnia/
http://www.rd.com/health/beauty/foods-that-help-you-sleep/
http://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/arianna-huffington-better-sleep-tips
“Talking in your sleep” by Roger Cook & Bobby Wood.

New Year, New You?

canstockphoto1281338Most of us, when we think about New Years, think about resolutions. My resolutions were probably similar to some of yours; how we can fix ourselves, our bodies, organize our homes, and the list goes on and on. And come February, or maybe even March, frustration would set in that nothing much had changed, and of course, my inner critic just wouldn’t stop.
I realized that I was overlooking something in the process. Rather than revamping all aspects of my life at once, I needed instead to take a very small step or two in a new direction. Not a new idea, but definitely a good reminder for me.

After the holidays, I find that I am really tired and my energy is low. This is probably due to over-scheduling, and definitely under sleeping. I always know when I need some self-care because that is when Lavender essential oil starts to smell really good to me. I have an interesting relationship with Lavender. It’s not my favorite essential oil. But when I’m feeling run down, it then becomes my go-to essential oil.

Lavender is an aromatic “sub-shrub” that is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. The best quality Lavender is grown and distilled at higher altitudes, with the main suppliers being France and Bulgaria. Lavender, like Rosemary, is a herb that has been around since ancient times. The early Greeks and Romans liked to use it to scent their bath water. Thru the ages, Lavender has been used for all sorts of things, like scenting bath water,  lice, and flea repellent and for healing wounds.

Lavender is by far the most popular essential oil in aromatherapy.
It may also be useful for:

  • Soothing burns. (A lot of people use Lavender neat or straight from the bottle. I wouldn’t recommend this as your skin can become sensitized to the essential oil. Diluting is always best) 
  • muscular aches, pains, and arthritis.
  • Insomnia and sleep issues.
  • Stress and anxiety. It’s calming to your stressed out nervous system.
  • tension headaches and migraines.

I think that the best property of Lavender is its versatility; it has the ability to be relaxing so you can sleep or be gently stimulating so you can get on with your day. 

My Blog is for information only & is not meant to replace medical advice.
Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted for topical use.

  • Lavender is good for most people to use as it is non-toxic and non-irritating. I would always dilute it before topical use.
  • Diffuse 2-3 drops of Lavender essential oil during pregnancy if you are liking the scent. (A lot of women are sensitive to smells during pregnancy so use small amounts of Lemon or Grapefruit if Lavender isn’t appealing to you.)
  • Use caution when using Lavender essential oil topically in the 1st trimester of Pregnancy.

References

  • Battaglia Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003
  •    Davis Patricia.  Aromatherapy an A-Z. New revised edition, Vermilion, an imprint of Edbury Publishing, a Random House Company, 2005
  •   Lawless. Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Thorsons, 2002
  • Tisserand, Robert, & Rodney Young,  Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2014

http://roberttisserand.com/2011/07/lavender-oil-and-pregnancy/
http://www.westcoastaromatherapy.com/free-information/articles-archive/using-essential-oils-during-pregnancy/
http://www.netherfield.co.nz/lavender-history.php