Sleep is important because it’s one of our basic needs, as necessary as eating or breathing. Maintaining a regular cycle of sleep is a requirement to your day-to-day well-being as it is to your long-term health.
You’ve probably noticed that poor sleep in the short-term results in stress, bad moods, loss of focus, and an overall lack of energy. Whether from anxiety, overworking, or looking at computer and mobile screens for extended periods of time, these gaps in sleep, when they add up, can amount to serious health risks.
Long term patterns of poor sleep can result in medical conditions like heart disease, obesity, or diabetes. To get an idea of your own sleep habits, you can measure your own sleep quality here on the National Health Service website.
So, what else can you count on, besides sheep, to help you relax before bed?
How can essential oils help us sleep?
Using essential oils at home before bedtime can influence quality sleep. Throughout history, essential oils have been used to treat many medical conditions.
Many use essential oils for sleep, because they can promote rest and relaxation. That’s because certain scents have direct links to the brain’s emotion and memory center. And these various types of essential oils can interact with these areas of the brain to calm you into a restful state. Research shows essential oils can act as a sleep-promotor, stress-reliever, pain-reducer and mood-regulator.
Below are a few suggestions on how to add a little nighttime serenity to your bedtime routine, including our range of Essential Mist Diffusers.
Ten steps for a perfect bedtime routine
Want to know how to sleep better? Here are ten of our recommendations to get started.
Develop a sleep schedule. Do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Even though it may be harder to commit to this schedule on weekends, do your best to keep your scheduled sleep hours top of mind. This sort of regularity will optimise your body's sleep-wake cycle.
Monitor caffeine and alcohol intake. Be mindful of what time you consume alcohol, so that your body has more time to process it out of your system as you approach bedtime. Try to make caffeinated drinks only a morning beverage, and rarely an afternoon or evening choice. Caffeine can stay in your system for 4-6 hours, and for some people, even longer than that.
Exercise. Just because you don’t have a gym membership or all-weather jogging gear doesn’t mean you can’t add exercise to your daily routine here and there. If you can get somewhere without transportation, walk there. Try out a standing desk if you work in an office. Or think about what you do after hours: play, dance, clean. Be mindful of those things, and do them harder! Exercise is a great primer for sleep. Just make sure you’re not overly active around two hours before bedtime.
Consider your diet. We won’t go on about staying hydrated, avoiding junk food, or the hierarchy of the food pyramid. You’ve heard it all before. But did you know eating certain foods before bed can actually help you relax? Try kiwis, nuts and legumes, or leafy vegetables that are high in fibre. There is evidence to suggest some foods are perfect partners for indulging and then drifting into sleep.
Best bedding. If you’re waking up stiff and sore, or feel uncomfortable before you fall asleep, you may need to consider the right mattress, pillows and blankets for you. Look up the firmness vs. support rating of the mattress you own, and consider that you might need an improved sleeping surface. Specially designed pillows may give you the head and neck support you may be lacking. Weighted or heated blankets may assist you as well.
Create a restful environment. Curate a restful space tuned to your senses. Try the Air Wick Essential Mist diffuser with lavender, a natural ingredient renowned for its soothing qualities. Reduce the amount of light in your room, listen to slow, relaxing music, and if external sound is an issue, consider wearing earplugs.
Pull the plug. Establish a cut off time for television, internet and mobile devices. Bright light from these screens stimulate your brain. They end up keeping you awake more than they could relax you. If you’re able, reduce the brightness on your screens the later in the night that it gets.
Take a relaxing bath or shower. Many people find that a nice (and hygienic) way to relax is to take a hot shower or bath about 90 minutes before bed. They claim, and studies agree, that this helps them achieve a deeper, more restful sleep.
Meditation. If you didn't already know, meditation doesn't require years of practice or perfect, zen-like concentration. When it comes to sleep, it's quite the opposite. Meditation is making a new resurgence as online videos and apps offer free guided sleep meditations. Browse them online and listen with headphones, ideally earbuds, as you lie down to sleep. Don't worry about turning them off. You might be asleep before it ends.
Cool your room off. As you start to drift toward sleep, your body temperature begins to drop slightly. When it it’s cooled off enough, the first phase of sleep begins. Whether you know it or not, your overall comfort depends on the relationship between your body’s and your room’s temperature.