Hey moms and dads do you ever wish you could take a nap or go to bed early? Is one of the best parts of vacation getting good sleep? My kids were pretty good nappers and were in a good habit of getting to bed early throughout most of their years. I tried to teach them that sleep is important for health, for growing, recovering from training, and for their brains to work well. Now that they are in high school and college they sometimes have to stay up late or feel like they are missing out if they go to bed early. But the truth is, like it or not, sleep is important. If you think about it most animals sleep. And it puts you into an unaware vulnerable position in nature. If it wasn't important why do we need it. A lot goes on while we sleep. The energy it takes to keep our brain alert and awake is shifted to repair, growth, memory formation, immune system taking care of invaders, and general body housekeeping tasks. Without adequate sleep most of know we are fuzzy-headed, forgetful, our reaction time is lessened, and often we are more susceptible to illness. In fact sleep loss and chronic lack of sleep can increase your risk for numerous health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. (1) So when it comes to helping our kids do and feel their best, getting a good nights sleep can be a huge benefit.
If you or your kids aren't getting adequate sleep it may take some time to build a healthy routine but it's well worth it. And just like little ones do best with a bedtime routine so do older kids and adults. And essential oils can be a beneficial part of such a routine. Here some ways to help establish a healthy sleep routine.
image source: National Sleep Foundation
1. Get up and go to bed around the same time. This can be tough especially during the teen years but will help you get better quality sleep.
2. Establish a routine: We don't have a an off switch. Having a routine that helps you wind down prepares your body for sleep. This is a great place to add in essential oils. We'll look at more specific ways to do this below.
3. Create the right environment: A quiet, comfortable, dark, room with a cozy bed at the right temperature is conducive to sleep. Again you can use essential oils to help create the right environment for sleep.
4. Diet and lifestyle: Caffeine and sugar can rev kids up and make it tougher to settle down. Alcohol can also disrupt sleep in adults. Exercise is great, but for some intense activity close to bedtime can also be disruptive to sleep.
So how can you incorporate essential oils into your routine and create a comfortable sleep environment? Here are a few ways:
1. Relax with a bath or massage. Adding essential oils to a bath, lotion, or massage oil can be a great way to unwind before bed.
Bath: Aim for 3-5 drops per bath. Add essential oils to a teaspoon or so of carrier oils and add to the tub. Great oil choices include lavender, Roman chamomile, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, clary sage, orange, vetiver, marjoram, and patchouli.
Lotion or massage oil: Aim for 6-12 drops per ounce (use lower amount for kids under 12). Add relaxing oils (see above) to lotion or carrier and massage onto feet, neck, shoulders to help kids or adults relax.
Diffuse oils: Using a diffuser blend 15-30 minutes before bed helps create a relaxing environment. For young kids this can sometimes be enough. For older kids you can run the diffuser longer. Add 3-4 drops of relaxing oils to a diffuser. Great oil choices include lavender, Roman chamomile, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, clary sage, orange, vetiver, marjoram, bergamot, and patchouli. Choose 2 or 3 to blend or one favorite.
Inhaler: Add 10-15 drops of oil to a blank inhaler. Great oil choices include lavender, Roman chamomile, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, clary sage, orange, vetiver, marjoram, bergamot, and patchouli. Choose 2 or 3 to blend or one favorite.
These ideas will help support a healthy sleep routine and set the environment for sleep.
So does better sleep = better grades? While diffusing or using essential oils is no guarantee of A's they can help support sleep. Better sleep can help support memory, mood, attention, growth, and immune system. Better memory, mood, attention, and health will support better learning.
So if you'd like to help your kids do their best, helping them regularly get a good nights sleep can support learning and good health.
If you have questions about essential oils, aromatherapy, or using essential oils for sleep contact Tricia.