Sleep Struggles?

Sleep Struggles? 9 tips to wake up feeling nourished.

Who struggles with getting decent, quality sleep? I did for a long time. In fact, I still have times when I struggle, but overall, I manage to get what I need, and I feel nourished when I wake up. 

What has made a difference? Number one thing I did, was to make sleep my number 1 priority. 

Did I simply say – i’m going to get ‘x’ number of hours every night sleep and do it? Nope.

But what I did do was look at what I was doing throughout my day to help achieve a nourishing sleep at night. I recently heard the statement from Dr Daniel Amen – “Is this good for my brain? Yes or No?” which, without realising I had been doing for the past year. Now I just make it a formal part of my questioning. A slight twist is – “Is this good for my sleep?”. Ultimately what is good for my sleep will ultimately be good for my brain. Win Win!

So – what are the things that I ‘try’ to do each day to help me sleep and wake up feeling nourished?


1. Go to bed same time every night.

I try to go to bed at the same time every night and try to turn the light off at the same time every night. Whilst I do use electronics in bed (one thing I am working on not doing!) I aim to turn off my light at the same time each night. The reasoning behind this, is that your brain actually LOVES routine. Your brain will start to wind down your body to get ready for sleep in those few hours before bed. So – tip 1: Aim to go to bed at the same time each night and switch lights off same time each night.

2. Blue Blocking Lights.

I use Blue Blocking lights to light the house at night. I have young children in my house that get up at night. So I use Blue Blocking night lights in my house. These lights plug in like a normal night light, but the difference is they have a Red LED globe. This reduces the amount of blue light we are exposed to overnight which helps us get a better quality sleep. If by chance, I need to get up overnight to help the kids, I am not overly stimulated by being exposed to blue light, and I can get back to sleep quicker and easier.

3. Do a brain dump.

Sometimes I have thoughts going around and around in my head and I have trouble switching off. Don’t we all! So, I do a brain dump. This sometimes looks like a ‘to do list’ or it sometimes looks like journal writing where I write about a topic or subject. Other times it is a bunch of scribbles where I am getting out the ‘inner mean girl’ to get the negative thoughts out of my head and flipping them. Sometimes it is a brainstorm of ideas I have been holding onto. This is such a good fun way to get these ideas out of my brain to let it rest, knowing I don’t have to hold onto it anymore. 

4. Eat well.

This is an area I am working on. When I eat well – highly nourishing food in the form of unprocessed foods, I feel so much better! I sleep so much better. But, I am human and my daily intake doesn’t always look like that. But making the effort to simply eat nourishing foods, I definitely sleep better as a result. 

5. Body check in.

I check in with myself to see what my body needs. This has been one of the most amazing ‘side effects’ of using essential oils in my daily life. It has allowed me to check in with both my physical and emotional needs. Maybe its aches and pains or maybe its emotional responses. I can choose an oil that will help to support my bodies needs in that moment that will help encourage sleep. I will apply oils topically to my body to help in the areas that need nourishment to help me sleep. 

6. Setting up a sleep supporting environment.

Where you sleep, you need to respect and nourish your space. When my bedroom is messy, and cluttered (especially near my bed) I simply do not sleep well. My brain goes into overdrive and I can’t switch off. But when my space is clutter free and clean, I can relax and I feel nourished, supported. I also love diffusing essential oils. If I want to diffuse oils, I generally set up the space around 30min before I am heading to bed. Sometimes I use a sleep spray and use calming/relaxing essential oils in a spritzer bottle and spray a light spray over my pillow and linen. Using the scent of essential oils, the brain relates that smell to the routine of sleep, linking the two actions together. After 10 days of using the same scent during sleep time – the brain will link that scent to the time for sleep and will start to prepare the body to go to sleep. Our awesome is our brain!

7. Drinking enough water.

Most of us are chronically dehydrated. We simply do not get enough water. Our brain is made up of about 75% water so we need to get adequate water throughout the day to ensure our brain can function properly. If we get enough water throughout the day, our brains can work efficiently during sleep to repair and nourish our bodies and memories. So, (as a rough guide) aim to get 35ml water for each KG of body weight. So a 50kg person should aim to drink 1750ml or 1.75L of water a day.  A 100kg person should aim to drink 3500ml or 3.5L per day. Please note: this is simply a guide for a ‘normal’ person and does not take into account any illnesses or life changes such as pregnancy or breastfeeding that may need different calculations.

8 Assessing sleep quality. 

I function so much better in this world when I get the quality sleep I need. So when I say quality sleep, I am not talking about the number of hours I get. Each night that is different for me. I judge the quality of sleep by ‘how I feel’ when I wake up. If I wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated – then to me, that was a night of quality sleep. If I wake up feeling tired and flat, despite an appropriate number of hours sleep, then that was a night of poor quality sleep for me. So, if you continuously wake up feeling flat and tired, maybe it is worth investigating the reasons why. Is it one of the steps above? Or is it something else medically that needs to be investigated?

9. Reducing caffeine intake.

This one is kind of obvious but reducing the amount of caffeine you drink. I only try to have coffee in the morning before lunch. Ideally, no coffee would be better but I’m human and have human weaknesses. I really look forward to sitting down with a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning before the kids wake up. Sometimes I add a drop of essential oil (such as peppermint) to give me a boost so I don’t need that extra cup.

So, next time you have trouble sleeping, or feel as though you are not getting the quality of sleep you deserve, look at your day and make improvements to wake up feeling nourished.

My 5 favourite diffuser blends for Sleep

At some point in our lives, we have all had trouble sleeping. If I was a betting woman, I would bet some of you do too. So, I want to share with you, some essential oil sleep blends with you. I have 5 trusty sleep diffuser blends that I LOVE using. It depends on my mood to which one I choose, but these are all on high rotation in my house. 

1. “Sleepy Snuggles” Diffuser Blend

Juniper Berry – When diffused, Juniper Berry provides a cleansing, refreshing aroma. It is perfect in a sleep blend as it has a calming, grounding effect. Just be warned – it drips out of the bottle really fast!

Vetiver – One of my absolute favourite oils! Vetiver has a rich, exotic, complex aroma. Vetiver’s calming, grounding effect on the emotions, it is an ideal oil to add to a sleep blend. This oil is extremely thick and takes “forever” to come out of the bottle.

Bergamot – When diffused, Bergamot promotes a calm relaxed environment. Bergamot is unique among citrus oils due to its ability to be both uplifting and calming to the emotions. As an added bonus it smells divine!


2. “Her Sleep Blend” Diffuser Blend

So we already know the reasons I love vetiver and juniper berry. Exchanging the citrus smell of bergamot for the woody, herbal, floral scent of clary sage, changes with whole tone of this diffuser blend.

Clary Sage – The main chemical component of Clary Sage is linalyl acetate, part of the esters group, making it one of the most relaxing, soothing, and balancing essential oils. When added to a sleep diffuser blend, inhaling Clary Sage promotes feelings of relaxation.

 

 

3. “Peaceful Sleep” Diffuser Blend

This oh so simple sleep blend is simply divine. It uses two of the oils that are part of the Home Essentials Kit. If you haven’t yet purchase your essential oils, (and you aren’t already working with someone else) you can do so here. (You will join my oily team).

Lavender – Called the ‘swiss army knife of oils’ because it is so useful for so many things. But most people know lavender for its calming and relaxing qualities. Add a few drops of Lavender to pillows, bedding, or bottoms of feet to relax and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. But added to the diffuser and its the bomb!

Easy Air –  Is a blend of essential oils including Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon, Cardamom, Ravintsara, and Ravensara. When Easy Air is diffused at nighttime, calms the senses for a restful nights sleep. It is especially useful during the winter months to feel clear when breathing during the night. 

 

4. “Sweet Dreams” Diffuser Blend

Adding Lavender Peace to Juniper Berry is simple ‘the bomb’!

Lavender Peace – combines essential oils renowned for their ability to soothe the senses and calm emotions. These include Lavender Flower, Cedarwood, Ho Wood Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Vetiver Root, Vanilla Bean Absolute, & Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood. Lavender Peace is soothing to the senses and calming to the emotions.


5. “Sweet Sleep” Diffuser Blend

Finally, adding cedarwood and marjoram to lavender just creates a divine blend. Marjoram is an understated oil but it has many great benefits. Despite being one of the the herb oils, it has a gentle aroma. 

Cedarwood –  It has a grounding aroma that evokes feelings of spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Diffusing Cedarwood is especially beneficial after a difficult day to create a relaxing environment.

Marjoram – Has a uplifting, herbaceous aroma that was known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness. Marjoram creates a positive, calming aroma and promotes feelings of calmness and ease. Added with cedarwood and lavender it is simply divine.


I hope you like my favourite diffuser blends just as much as I do!

As an added bonus, why not try one last diffuser blend. Diffuse 3 drops Frankincense, 3 drops Lavender and 2 drops Wild Orange. Bliss!

Jem x

P.S. Bonus Sleep tip – add a drop of Vetiver straight onto your big toe. Let me know how you found it 🙂