Top Tips for using Essential Oils to Support a Great Night’s Sleep this Summer

Essential Oils to Support a Great Night’s Sleep

Top Tips for using Essential Oils to Support a Great Night’s Sleep this Summer

Possible causes for Disrupted Sleep

During the Summer, there are often more reasons why a restful night’s sleep can evade us; the prime one (if we’re lucky with the weather!) is likely to be elevated temperatures and high levels of humidity.  Pollen count can also play a part if you suffer from allergies that leave you uncomfortable and distracted.  Due to the lighter evenings, it can be harder to drift off in a lighter bedroom environment, especially for children.  This is partly because the environment can be more distracting as you can see more, but primarily because our body starts producing the sleep hormone, Melatonin as light reduces. There are also may lifestyle factors such as stress, worry, hormonal imbalances or consuming too much caffeine or alcohol that can impair our ability to fully relax.  In this blog we highlight some simple, natural ideas to support you in getting quality sleep.

Pre-Sleep Routines

Sleep and nap routines are so well adhered to when we think of babies and children, but they often get overlooked as we get older.  The simple adage of ‘bath, book, bed’ that is often a nightly routine for children often gets pushed aside as we have busier lives and more responsibilities as adults.  But at Absolute Aromas we believe that a great sleep routine is such an important part of daily self-care that it should be built into your regime in some way.  In the Summer when it’s warmer, it’s sometimes better to replace the bath with a shower – a cooling shower can be refreshing in the heat and will also wash off pollen particles which may be an irritant if you suffer from these kinds of allergies.  Try showering with some Lemon or Rosemary Essential Oil infused into a Body Wash Base as both of these oils can have a clearing and cleansing effect.

Reading at night, even as little as a few pages for ten minutes or so has been proven to reduce stress, as the mind is distracted, and thoughts are encouraged away from stressful or worrying things you may be struggling to distance yourself from at bedtime.  It’s important to note however that reading on a lit surface such as a screen does not provide as much relaxation as reading from a book as device screens produce ‘blue light’ which stimulates a part of the brain to suppress production of Melatonin, making it difficult for many people to switch off and fall asleep.

Better Sleep with Lavender Oil

Sleep Environment

A very simple idea you can try to aid sleep routines is to create a calm, relaxing environment to sleep in.  If your room is full of clutter, is noisy, bright, or uncomfortable this will automatically dispel any feelings of relaxation and can be distracting or irritating.  If you think about all of your senses and how they affect sleep, these simple steps can support you in creating a positive sleep space.

Sight:  Keep your sleep space dark and distraction free.  Blinking lights from devices or a pile of laundry that needs to be put away are a no no – chores should be out of sight and therefore hopefully out of mind!  Our Diffuser lamps such as Aroma Bliss, offer a low level, ambient light in a choice of colours that can turn any room into a lovely soft environment after dark…  Our Dreamtime Diffuser is a popular choice for children as it’s a diffuser, nightlight, humidifier, and offers gentle sounds all in one product.

Touch:  The fabric your bedding is made of can have a massive effect on your night-time comfort.  Natural fabrics such as 100% cotton, linen, silk, and wools for the winter are preferable to synthetics as they are breathable and allow your body to regulate its temperature better.  Bamboo fabric is a great option as it’s a sustainable and eco-friendly due to its fast-growing and renewable nature.  It’s also naturally anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic, making it an ideal choice for those with allergies.  A silk pillow, with its breathable properties is a great option for those experiencing night sweats or hot flushes.

Hearing:  We are all different in our routines and while some of us prefer total silence to fall asleep to, others prefer gentle music, soundscapes or white noise.   Babies in particular often react well to white noise as it mimics womb and heartbeat sounds, and creates a soothing, and familiar environment where babies feel protected and calm. The continuous sounds also help to drown out loud or unexpected noises that could wake them.  If you’re prone to overthinking at night, a soundscape of gentle rainfall or birdsong could be a lovely way to transport you away from daily worries, as are guided sleep meditations and stories which are readily available from self-care apps such as Calm and Headspace.

Smell:  The scent of Lavender is well known for it’s calming and relaxing effects, so a spritz of a Natural Room Spray like our Relaxation or Goodnight blends can be incredibly effective in creating a calming space.  Lavender or Rose Floral Water sprayed onto bedlinen or used as an ironing water is a lovely way to introduce a gentle scent to your environment.  An Essential Oil diffuser is also wonderful in a bedroom to gently circulate scent.  Sleep can often be difficult to achieve if we are feeling under the weather – we all know that congestion can become worse when we are lying down so an Essential Blend to aid easy breathing such as our Breatheasy blend is fantastic to support you when you’re suffering from a cold or allergies.

Taste:  What you consume before bed can have a big impact on sleep.  We all know it’s a good idea to avoid stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol, but there are choices we can actively make to help encourage rest.  Camomile is an age-old favourite and can be consumed as a tea before bed.  Cherry juice contains melatonin to encourage sleep, and warm milk can be part of a comforting bedtime regime before sleep too.

An even, comfortable temperature is imperative in your sleep space – if it’s hot, try popping a fan with a bowl of iced water in front of it with 3-5 drops of Lavender, Ylang Ylang or Chamomile in it.  As the water evaporates in the heat, the fan will move the cooling water vapour around to room along with the soothing scent.

Summer Holidays!

It’s common for people to travel more during the Summer months – even if its just domestic travelling, these processes can still take a toll on our sleep patterns and routines.  Jet lag is an obvious culprit for stealing or confusing sleep cycles and its often difficult to retrain yourself into your normal routines when you’re back home.  Our sleeping/waking cycle is known as our Circadian Rhythm. This phrase describes our physical, mental, and behavioural changes that flow in a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark and affect most living things from us humans, to animals, plants, and microbes.

Sleep during Hormonal Changes

Sleep during Hormonal Changes such as Puberty, Pregnancy and Menopause

Another example of Circadian Rhythms is evident when a baby is born; a new baby will have to be encouraged into proper Circadian routines now that he or she is exposed to changes in light and environment, as they were deprived of any light in the womb.  This is often why a baby will take some time to become accustomed to sleeping at night and waking in the day, rather than the other way around!

Sleep troubles as we develop through childhood to puberty can often be attributed to hormonal changes.  During puberty this happens because this growth phase causes our Circadian Rhythm to reset, delaying our sleep cycle and keeping us awake later at night.  Geranium Essential Oil is excellent for quelling anxious thoughts in teens, and Mandarin is also a lovely choice as it’s calming, familiar and restful – ideal to diffuse in a teen’s room to encourage sleep – it may also help disguise the scent of smelly socks!

As we reach adulthood, pregnancy can be a hormonal change that has a massive impact on our sleep, especially during the heat of the Summer.  Our Expecting range uses a blend of Essential Oils which are all appropriate to use during pregnancy after 4 months.  It can be incredibly soothing to add three capfuls of our Expecting Massage and Bath Oil to your pre-bed bath, or to use it for massage to help you deeply relax and feel more comfortable for sleep.  It’s also a lovely addition to a footbath as it can be calming and moisturising for tired feet during those later months of pregnancy.

During Menopause, women have huge hormonal shifts when hot flushes, night sweats, and changes in mood can contribute to poor or disrupted sleep.  Neroli can be a wonderful Essential Oil if you’re experiencing peri or full menopausal symptoms as it can induce restful feelings and encourage calmness.  Our Headaid Aroma-roll is a pre-blended synergy of  Peppermint, Grapefruit, Marjoram and Lavender to help soothe hormone headaches which can make it hard to drift off.  And as suggested, choosing natural materials for your bedding will also really help to encourage airflow and reduce discomfort from excess sweating and hot flushes.

We hope that whatever you’re up to this Summer, whether it be travelling, working or trying to keep the children endlessly occupied, you are able to follow some healthy and simple sleep routines to enable you to stay on top form for the whole season.  Keep an eye on our social media pages for lots more tips for a happy Summer!