Sleep and hormones are often a feedback cycle in that hormonal changes can impact on sleep and sleep deprivation can impact on hormones. Chicken and egg scenario, which came first?
Some hormones require sleep in order to be produced and secreted, these include growth hormone, prolactin, luteinising hormone. There are other hormones that are inhibited during sleep, including cortisol.
I’m not going to go into depth with hormones as it’s a huge and complex area. Let’s keep it simple!
Cortisol is important in the morning to help wake up and stimulate the body to get you through the day. This is often why people find morning the best time to be active and productive. In the Western world where we’re expected to be alert and on the go all day, cortisol levels can increase rather than lower throughout the day. High levels of cortisol make it challenging to sleep.
Are you understanding why it’s important to relax?
Don’t think you have to be relaxed all the time. That’s impossible! It’s about finding balance.
Melatonin production and secretion increases during night time sleep, and reduces as light increases and this is one of the regulating hormones for reproduction.
I personally don’t like melatonin tablets. I encountered a young child recently, who was on melatonin tablets. I gave the mother my Peace Touch Roll On and the results were amazing, peaceful sleep and a happier child.
I’ve read a study which suggested sleep follows a 4hr cycle. When people wake up to the alarm and hit that snooze button, they’re sending their body off into another sleep cycle from which they’re waking from minutes later.
Have you ever woken up from a nap feeling worse than when you went to sleep? You’ve awoken in the middle of a natural sleep cycle.
Keep in mind, just because you sleep doesn’t necessarily mean you’re relaxed.
The body really is complex.
How do you know if you’re not relaxed during sleep?
You might grind your teeth, wake up periodically, be a restless sleeper, call out in your sleep, night mares, vivid dreams, wake up feeling worse etc
I used to get restless legs and if I could get to sleep I’d be fine by the morning. One night I woke up and couldn’t settle, so I went to get some coconut oil and rubbed it on the outside of my legs. Went straight back to sleep and slept right through to the morning.
I used to get up and go to the computer when I couldn’t sleep. It was better than lying awake thinking my body was relaxed therefore I was getting benefit. That’s a myth. I was told the best thing to do was read a boring book. The problem with that was the moment I went back to bed I’d wake up again.
I know of people who fall asleep in their chair while watching tv. That’s not beneficial either. Studies have shown that the body needs to be lying down to achieve the benefits of the full sleep cycle.
What essential oils can be used to assist with sleep?
The trick to using essential oils for sleep is to rotate them every 2-4 nights. I do know some people who use the same oil night after night with success. Maybe sleep isn’t really an issue for them? At the end of the day, everyone is different.
I feel rather blessed with all of my essential oils as I can choose from a wide selection every night. Yes, that’s correct, there is a wide range of sleep oils to choose from.
The list I mentioned in part 1 of this article, for stress, can all be used for sleep.
Wild Orange, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Frankincense, Siberian Fir, Copaiba, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Lavender, Petitgrain, Spikenard, Rose, Marjoram, Arborvitae, Bergamot, Helichrysum, Myrrh, Ylang Ylang, the list goes on.
I want to make special mention of Cedarwood. This oil is great for calming children, particularly they wake from nightmares.
Vetiver is known in wide circles as ‘the horse tranquiliser’. This is a thick and sticky oil and only a tiny amount is required. It’s potent!
Less is more.
Insert a toothpick and use what comes out.
All of these oils can be applied to the soles of the feet or temples, back of neck or you may prefer diffusing.
The last time I flew overseas I took some Serenity tablets with me. It was my first time trialling them and I found they were calming and that enabled me to sleep a bit longer than usual. The Serenity tablets are herbal whereas the Serenity (Lavender Peace) blend is pure essential oils.
You can also make a spray for sleep. In a 40ml bottle add 40 drops of your chosen oil, top up with distilled water, spray on your pillow.
A nice blend that men and women generally like is 20 drops each of Lavender and Cedarwood in a 40ml bottle. If you don’t like the smell of Lavender, try Petitgrain. Or you may like to formulate your own blend.
Do you sleep well?
If not, what do you do about it?
Do you wake up during the night?
How do you feel when you wake up for the day?
What part of the day do you function best?
Are you a morning person, or evening? Why?
Have you tried melatonin tablets? What are your thoughts?
Have you ever worked nightshift?
If so, how does that impact on your sleep cycles?
Do you ever get up during the night when you can’t sleep?