My Favorite Essential Oils for Sleep

Are you looking for a natural sleep aid? In addition to numerous other health benefits, essential oils provide calming, soothing and stabilizing effects to your body that will help you to get all of the sleep that you need!

Clary Sage

The linalool and linalyl acetate in Clary Sage will provide feelings of calmness after a long day. In the Middle Ages, Clary Sage was used to soothe the skin.

This essential oil smells alluring and intoxicating. When I open a bottle of Clary Sage, I feel like I am being transported to a world of captivating beauty, similar to the world created by Monet, in his painting, “The Artist’s Garden at Giverny.” After diffusing Clary Sage in the living room, I discovered that it puts me into a sleepy trance!

Vetiver

Vetiver contains isovalencenol and khusimol which help to stabilize emotions. With its slightly sweet and enticing herbal scent, this thick essential oil is often used in perfumes. Tranquility in a bottle!

Cedarwood

Cedarwood contains cedrol and alpha-Cedrene which provide soothing benefits. Cedrol will also help to stabilize your mood. You can find Cedarwood in the biblical books of Leviticus and Numbers.

When I open a bottle of Cedarwood, it’s easy to imagine that I am under the stars and tall Red Cedar trees. The woody scent provides feelings of peace.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang contains carophyllene and germacrene-d which is a soothing chemical combination. Ylang Ylang has been used in perfumes (it has been called “The Perfume Tree”), weddings and religious ceremonies for centuries.

The floral scent of Ylang Ylang is sweet and uplifting. One whiff of it makes me feel happier and more relaxed. Ylang Ylang is like a healing balm for crazy emotions!

What are your favorite natural sleep aids?

This post was originally published on January 24, 2019; it was updated on November 1, 2019.

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Manage Your Stress Before It Manages You

Are you constantly under stress or continuously on the go? Many health experts say that acute or chronic stress is usually a precursor for autoimmune diseases, cancer, and other diseases. I have been struggling with a very painful and itchy psoriasis (psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder) flare on my hands for more than a couple of months now. This has forced me to slow down and find ways to alleviate some stress in my life. In addition to prayer, reading the Bible and spending time with loved ones, I started doing a few other things to alleviate stress.

I am trying not to be in a hurry all the time.

I started taking five deep belly breaths when I am anxious about my to-do list. This automatically forces my body to calm down. Also, I recently noticed that I am always rushing around everywhere. I came to the realization that it is not okay for me to constantly tell my daughter to hurry up, just so that I can save one more minute in an effort to feel a tad more productive at the end of the day. She takes time to enjoy life and I never want her to lose that!

I started to diffuse essential oils more often.

Essential oils help me to sleep better and they help me to relax. Even when I cannot get my seven hours of sleep, essential oils help me to feel more rested and energetic throughout the day. If you haven’t tried essential oils yet, you don’t know what you’re missing!

I started to schedule joy into my daily routine.

I started watching episodes of I Love Lucy with my daughter. Laughing out loud helps my body to relax and calm down. I am also trying to get outside everyday while the weather is still warm. It’s relaxing to breathe in the fresh air, gaze at the green leaves on the trees, and feel the warm sunshine on my skin.

I started making sleep more of a priority.

I was listening to a podcast of a popular personal development coach who said, put in extra time to meet your goals, even if it means that you lose an hour of sleep. I respect this personal development coach, but I don’t really recommend this for anyone unless it is for a short period of time. Sleeping allows our body to recover from the stress of the day. If we skip sleep, we might get more done in the short-term, but eventually we will crash—either emotionally or physically. I aim for at least seven hours per night and nap when I can. This is difficult with three small kids, but I try my best.

I started asking for more help.

In the past, I was hesitant to ask my husband to help more with the kids because I know that he works hard and is already under stress. The inflammation in my hands has forced me to ask for more help. I know that we will have to continue to tweak our weekly routine so that we can both find time to rest. Sometimes we need to ask for help from additional people as well.

I started doing yoga again and I started to work-out as much as I can.

One of my hairstylists is a lean, muscular yoga fanatic that studied yoga in India. In his own words, if he could use one word to describe why he loves yoga, he would use the word Efficiency. Yoga can build muscle and flexibility; it can help the body heal itself; and it can help with managing emotional stress. During my last pregnancy, prenatal yoga was one of the few things that helped to alleviate my crippling morning sickness. When I do yoga now, I can tell that it helps me with my stress and my psoriasis because it is good for my circulation and helps to decrease inflammation.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker about my self-induced (I say self-induced because I cause myself a lot of stress by rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off!) stress and we started talking about yoga. She said that she didn’t have time for yoga.

Friend, you might not have time for yoga, but you need to make time for something—you need to find some way to de-stress. Look at it this way. Imagine that your kidneys were failing and the only way that you could live was to have hemodialysis three times per week. That would take you about 12 hours per week, not including the time it would take you to commute to the treatment center. Would you find an extra 12 hours in your week so that you could stay alive?

I hope that you would put in that time. And if you could somehow find 12 hours in a week to save your life, you can surely find a small amount of time every week to manage your stress level—I will be so bold as to say that managing your stress level might be the thing that saves your life. So, I give you permission to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, consider these five reasons.

Five Benefits of Lowering Your Stress Level

  1. You will save time because you won’t have to spend as much time in recovery from being sick.
  2. You will save money because you won’t have to spend as much money on expensive health treatments.
  3. You will be more productive because your brain and body will be working better.
  4. You might enjoy life more because you will have less stress and be less sick.
  5. You will be able to serve your spouse, your kids, your elderly parents, your friends, your pets, and/or your co-workers better.

And, think about it—relieving stress is enjoyable! If you don’t like yoga, pick something else. Go to a massage therapist, go watch a funny movie, have coffee with a best friend, take a bubble bath, or go for a walk. Just find what you love to do. Don’t wait until you get to where I am—don’t wait ’til you can’t wash the dishes, cook, or take care of your kids without constant burning, stabbing pain on your hands and an intolerable itch that wakes you up at night. Don’t deprive your body of the rest it needs. Start taking better care of your body today so that you won’t have to worry about more serious ailments tomorrow!

I need more tips on stress management. What’s your favorite way to relieve stress? If you like this blog, consider liking the Facebook page as well!

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How To Use Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

I have never been a coffee lover, but I love tea—especially chamomile tea! A few months ago, I tried Roman Chamomile essential oil and it became one of my favorite oils. Chamomile is calming for the nervous system and helpful for the immune system. It is also soothing for the skin! Research articles on PubMed also show that chamomile can be used for hemorrhoids, carpal tunnel syndrome, and infant colic.

Aromatic Use

Throughout history, chamomile has been used to help with anxiety and has been used as a sleep aid. Chamomile has a beautiful, gentle, fruity smell. Need to relax after a long day? Place 2-3 drops (or more) in a diffuser, turn on some peaceful music, and put your feet up.

Topical Use

I use 1-2 drops of chamomile and lavender on my dry, itchy fingers. If you need help with calming your emotions, you can rub a couple of drops on your wrists, neck, or the backs of your feet.

Internal Use

When I had a cold a few months ago, I added 1-2 drops of Roman Chamomile oil, 1-2 drops of lemon oil, and honey into a mug of hot water. This tea was a sweet, soothing, immune-boosting tonic.

Email me at contact@inspirationforwellness.com for the purest essential oils!

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References

Adib-Hajbaghery, M. & Mousavi, N.S. (2017). The Effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A Clinical Trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 35, 109-114. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229917302601?via%3Dihub

Hashempur, M.H., Ghasemi, M.S., Daneshfard, B., Ghoreishi, P.S., Lari, Z.N., Homayouni, K., & Zargaran, A. (2017). Efficacy of topical chamomile oil for mild and moderate carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 26, 61-67. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388116300925?via%3Dihub

Srivastava, J.K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future (Review). Molecular Medicine Reports, 3 (6), 895-901. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/mmr/3/6/895

Side Effects of Social Media

Are you depressed, anxious, or feeling isolated? Are you suffering from low self-esteem? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you feel unproductive? Do you feel the need to check your social media feeds several times throughout the day? If you answered “Yes” to some of these questions, then you might be experiencing some side effects of social media use.

1. Poor Performance

Research shows that social media use worsens your ability to multi-task (truthfully, we are not very good at multi-tasking to begin with).

Possible Remedies:

Log off of social media whenever you are trying to get a task done quickly. You might want to refrain from social media use during working hours.

Create a vision board or set goals for the future. If you have concrete goals, you will be more productive and less inclined to use social media as frequently.

2. Insomnia

Any kind of light can alter the level of melatonin in your brain and interfere with the quality of your sleep. Because a lighted screen is required for social media, social media use at night may be an indirect cause of your insomnia.

Possible Remedy:

Turn off social media (and electronics) two hours before bedtime.

3. Loss of time

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? It’s 4:30 pm. In five minutes, I need to start making dinner, but I have to check my e-mail first. Oh, okay, I have 12 notifications. Cindy posted a new picture of her baby. Oh my! What a cutie! I forgot to send her a gift. Uh-oh, Carolyn changed her relationship status to single? I should call her to see if she is okay. Hmmm…Uncle Jarvis posted another political meme. That’s annoying. Oh man, what is the world coming to? Another school shooting? “Mama, I’m hungry!” Just a second…what in the world? It’s 6:30 pm already?!

Possible Remedies:

Set a time limit. Give yourself a limited amount of time to spend on social media each day. After you have met the time limit, close the app for the rest of the day.

Turn off social media notifications or remove social media apps from your phone. You will be less inclined to check your social media feeds throughout the day.

Only use social media when you need to. For example, only use social media for looking up someone’s contact information or for grabbing a good deal on a company page.

4. Strained Relationships

When you ask teenagers, ‘What’s the one thing you wish you could change in your relationship with your parents?’ The most common answer teenagers give to that question is, ‘I wish my parents weren’t on their devices so much and would actually listen to me.’

Andy Crouch, author of “The Tech-Wise Family”

Because I work from home and am a mother of three small children, I do not get out that much. So, whenever I am around someone that is constantly looking at the phone, I (like the teenagers in the above quote) become frustrated. Excessive social media use can affect marriages and other relationships as well.

Possible Remedies:

Eye contact. When someone is speaking to you, look up from your device and give them your attention.

Quality time should be quality time. When spending quality time with loved ones, do not log onto social media.

5. Anxiety, Depression and Low Self-Esteem

Research shows that people that spend more time on social media are more depressed and have lower self-esteem because they start to compare themselves to other “friends” on social media.

Possible Remedies:

Remember what’s real. Social media can fool you into thinking that all of your other digital “friends” are richer, better-looking, more exciting, more capable, more put together, etc. Don’t be fooled. Remember that most people only post their most exciting, polished, attractive selves on social media. Remember that scars, cellulite, emotional baggage, daily monotony, and extra padding are often omitted.

Focus on the good.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Even if you do not believe in the Bible, this is good advice. Instead of wishing for more money, a thinner body, a more creative mind, or a more powerful job, be grateful for what you have. Focus on the good.

Unfollow people that are toxic to you. On Facebook, you can remove someone from your newsfeed without unfriending them (and they won’t even know about it). This might be a good idea if your Facebook friend is posting things that make you upset.

Before logging into social media accounts, do something else that you love to do. Go outside, exercise, plant some flowers in the backyard, call a friend, meetup with a friend for coffee, play some sports, crochet a blanket for a baby, read, fly a kite, get your nails done, write in a journal, send a letter by snail mail, teach your nephew how to shoot pool, play some music, or do a jigsaw puzzle. You could also pick up a new hobby.

Ask for help. I believe that everyone can benefit from professional counseling.

6. Addiction

Social media can cause your brain to crave more “likes”, “friends”, instant responses, and more excitement from social media.

Possible Remedies:

Take breaks from social media. Don’t go on any of your social media accounts for half a day, a day, a week, a month, or a year.

Accountability. Tell someone that you want to cut back on social media use and ask them to keep you accountable.

Delete your accounts. A few years ago, I didn’t need any social media accounts for work, so I deleted my accounts for a few years. If social media is affecting your health, this might be worth considering.

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Recommended Resource

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane

References

Beres, Damon. 10 Weird Negative Effects of Social Media on Your Brain. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/negative-effects-of-social-media/

Woods, H.C. & Scott, H. (2016). #Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 41-49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27294324

Lavender: the Swiss Army Knife of Essential Oils

During my last essential oils class, there was a lady in the front row that did not want to smell any of the oils. Before passing each oil onto the next person, she covered her hand with a napkin and said to me, “I’m sensitive to smells.”

A few days later, the same lady approached me and asked, “What was that one oil that I smelled before the class started? When I got home, I didn’t feel no pain!” I wasn’t sure which oil she was referring to, but I gave her a sample of lavender oil to try. A few days later, she bought a bottle of lavender oil and a diffuser-the lavender provided pain relief because it helped her to relax!

With the chemical components of linalyl acetate and linalool, lavender essential oil is widely known for its ability to calm emotions. It is also wonderful for the skin; it is useful to apply on burns, sunburns, cuts, hives and other skin imperfections. I rubbed it on my daughter’s legs when she broke out in hives. I also combined lavender with melaleuca, frankincense and coconut oil to make an effective “Owie Spray” that smells like sweet flowers!

Have you tried lavender oil, the “Swiss Army Knife of essential oils”? Contact me for the purest lavender oil!