Natural Health & Everyday Wellness...
An Investigation of Sleep and Tips on How to Improve Sleep Naturally
“Sleep is the best meditation” - Dalai Lama
“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”- Thomas Dekker
“He who sleeps half a day has won half a life” - Karl Kraus
Sleep has had a deep impact on many of the most influential figures in the history of the world. We would like to discuss how to improve sleep efficacy, simple tips on improving sleep quality, and how we have naturally improved our quality of rest.
This journey began with my quest to accrue a significant amount of information to improve our health, wellness, and overall life span. Sleep is an essential part of human existence. So important that it will occupy approximately 1/3 of any single human life. We need sleep everyday. Quality AND quantity matters! The truth is most people either do not get enough sleep or do not get quality sleep, let alone accomplish both simultaneously. Renowned sleep researcher Matthew Walker (more on him later) is quoted saying "the shorter you sleep, the shorter your life". I always knew sleep was important but I never really considered all that happened during the sleep cycles, that is, until now.
What is surprising to me is how many of us sacrifice a good night's sleep. We have a tendency to deal with "other" priorities in life over prioritizing sleep. I also used to think in such a way. I remember saying to myself and others things like “I’ll catch up on sleep tomorrow night” or “I’ll just sleep in this weekend to catch-up”. It seems like many of us believe there are not enough hours in the day for all of our tasks. Think of packing for a trip and catching a red-eye. Perhaps you were up late studying or preparing for an event or a holiday. I am sure we all can remember a time (maybe you still think this way) where we believed that sleep was something that you can "catch-up" on or treating it like there was such as thing as a sleep bank. Well, I am here to tell you there is not such thing as a "sleep bank" to cash in on unearned sleep. Sleep is not something that we can use like a debt contract. It is something that we need to pay daily! Sleep is vital for human performance and sleep deprivation is associated with significant reductions in cognitive performance.
Not too long ago I, like many of us, was unaware of the adverse health effects from sleep deprivation. The subtle signs and symptoms that our body provides—low energy levels, feeling groggy, tired, and not well rested when waking up—doesn't seem to be enough for some people to commit to healthy sleep habits. Perhaps we are unaware of the etiology of many of these symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Hopefully today we can put all this to rest (all pun intended). I am here to share with you what I have learned over the last few months on my wellness journey.
On my daily commute I have taken a deep dive into podcasts. I use my ride as an opportunity to learn and listen to highly credentialed professionals discuss current science, longevity, performance, and health optimization. Some of the topics covered include nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management. I have found spending my commute learning- as well as practicing safe driving- has kicked my wellness regimen into overdrive.
While listening I stumbled upon several discussions regarding sleep and the physiological effects of quality sleep vs. poor sleep. Of all the hosts and guests I listened to, I kept coming across one specific guy. His name is Matthew Walker. Walker's research and insight is cited regularly among the most highly educated professionals in the health circles. He is often a guest on several shows and the first time I heard Walker was on Joe Rogan's podcast. It was that episode that truly lit a fire under me to dig a little deeper into the importance of good sleep hygiene. I immediately began changing my lifestyle and habits based on newfound knowledge to support a good night's sleep.
Walker is a Doctor of Neuroscience, professor at University of California Berkeley, and the founder and director of Center for Human Sleep Science. After listening to several shows which he was a guest, I heard him mention a correlation between sleep and longevity countless times. If we look no further, I would say this makes sleep fairly important. However, this was not his only mention of the benefits of good sleep. Honestly, Walker blew me away! I highly recommend reading his book to truly understand, Why We Sleep:Unlocking The Power of Sleep and Dreams. You can learn more right from his website, www.sleepdiplomat.com or review his research which examines the impact of sleep on human health and disease at www.humansleepscience.com
Consider a statement from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding sleep: “As chronic diseases have assumed an increasingly common role in premature death and illness, interest in the role of sleep health in the development and management of chronic diseases has grown. Notably, insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression” (2018). There is much more information and facts found on at the CDC’s database showing the health risks of sleep deprivation (less than 7 hours) that you can review here.
Considering all of this information regarding sleep deprivation, I though I would share some of my new tips that have been supporting both the quality and quantity of my sleep.
Here are some key elements to my new routine to support the best quality sleep based on researching and learning from the world's leading experts:
How I Use Essential Oils for Sleepytime
Since I know sleep is so important and desired by many, I want to share how I use essential oils tat night. To be honest, I was never really a person who struggled with sleep but that didn't stop me from using them at night once I first got my Premium Starter Kit in 2016.
When I received my first starter kit, I decided to move my diffuser into my bedroom and diffuse the beloved Lavender while we slept one night. Placebo or true biophysical effect? Many folks will argue this but one this is for certain, that first nights' sleep was incredible! I remember waking up and actually feeling well rested.
The reason why I do not believe this was just a placebo is the fact that I still use it, and it still is equally effective! I know what you are thinking. Nice anecdote. Show me some real science behind this.
Consider a 2005 study reported young healthy men and women improved sleep quality, reported higher next-day vigor, and demonstrated improved deep sleep cycles when diffusing essential oils.
There are also many reports of improvements in quality of sleep for various conditions. I challenge you, do the research!
For diffusing Lavender I use my new Desert Mist Diffuser from Young Living. It has an 8-10 hour intermittent setting which allows it to diffuse throughout the night. Anecdotally, I noticed a difference when first switching diffusers. The longer diffuser modes are available on the Desert Mist, Aria, Lantern, and Dewdrop diffusers. Every few years Young Living seems to increase the efficiency and settings of the diffusers so I am sure they will all have a longer run-time option in the future (they might already by the time you read this).
Why do I only trust Young Living essential oils?
The reason why is Young Living's Seed to Seal promise. The Seed to Seal promise assures you that Young Living owns every part of the essential oil manufacturing process from seed, to plant, to distillation, to bottling. My husband and I have personally visited their farms in Mona, Utah several times and you will see pictures of us all over the site that were taking at various Young Living facilities. There is no other company that provides this much transparency about their process! Trust me, we have called and messaged other leading manufacturers of essential oils to ask where their farms are located so that we can take a visit and guess what... THE OTHER COMPANIES EITHER DID NOT ALLOW US TO VISIT OR DID NOT KNOW WHERE THEIR OWN FARMS WERE LOCATED! This is very important as most essential oils on the market are fragrance grade whereas Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade. This is an important distinction, do not take it lightly!
Using a diffuser for sleepytime
I enjoy diffusing oils at night because it’s a steady way to attain a prolonged gradual exposure to the characteristics of the parent plant. Many of the Young Living diffusers can be purchased as part of the Premium Starter Kit at a discounted price. Since you get a diffuser for cheaper, I typically recommend purchasing the starter kit for anybody who is looking to start or has began within the last several months. The Premium Starter Kit comes with a diffuser and 12 essential oils. Young Living often includes other sample items as a promotion but this varies from month to month.
It’s important to educate yourself before using essential oils. I am very grateful to be apart of an amazing educational community, which anyone signing up with a Premium Starter Kit from this site will receive access to the education groups.
*My favorite diffuser blend at night is Lavender and Sleepylze
Using essential oils topically for sleepytime:
It should come as no surprise that Lavender is a staple in our home, even when using topically.
Full disclosure: I believe the best way to use essential oils is consistently. There are many "overnight" success stories running around out there but I believe that good health is cumulative, not instantaneous. There are many different essential oils out there and Young Living produces over 300 different oils. Each oil has a different set of characteristics so do your research! Consult with your physician as well.
Even though Lavender is our go-to for sleep, it may not work well for you. However, if you use it once and then conclude that it is not working for you, you might need a significant pep talk about setting proper expectations when it comes to your health.
Think about improving your weight. Increasing strength. Building endurance. Reducing chronic disease. These are all examples that will take time and lifestyle modifications in order to reap the benefits. Consistency is king.
For topical application of oils, I tend to make my blends in a roller. We recently wrote a post on how to create essential oil rollers for those of you who are unsure. I keep a few rollers bedside in order to apply them before bed. I typically apply to the bottoms of my feet as well as the tips of my toes. If using with adolescents or small children, please reference the guide when considering proper safety and dilution ratios!
I apply my sleepy essential oil rollers on my toes and soles of my feet at night. According to the Vita Flex Chart, there are areas of the foot that correspond to the brain and are responsible for primal actions such as regulating sleep. This area that corresponds to the aforementioned functions is the bottom of the big toe bilaterally.
I also tend to apply behind the neck on the base of the brain stem, temples, wrists, and behind my ears. As always, consult your physician if you are concerned about using essential oils as I am not a doctor and this is certainly not medical advice.
*My favorite sleepy essential oil roller blend is Lavender, Sleepylze, Cedarwood, Valor, Frankincense, and Peace & Calming.
Here is a list of specific oils we like to use at night:
"Sleepy oils" from the starter kit: the best place to start is with a starter kit; in the kit you will find 5 specific oils that have worked wonders for us around bedtime:
Other "sleepy oils" NOT found in the starter kit:
Oils to help support clear breathing at night:
Vitality Oils for Bedtime:
I like to use essential oils in all three ways (ingestion, aromatic, and topical application). For ingestion, I look to Young Living's Vitality Essential Oils. Ingesting essential oils is a personal decision based primarily on your comfort level. Please be sure to educate yourself on the safety of ingesting before using oils internally. Please consult with a physician as needed. I originally started slow with ingesting oils, I used one drop of citrus vitality oils in my water to start (I only use glass or stainless steel when using oils for consumption). Ingesting Vitality Essential Oils can be done in a variety of ways, add desired drops directly into a glass of water, dropped under the tongue, or put into an vegetable capsule with properly dilution of carrier oil for ingestion. There are three essential oils that come to mind for: Lavender Vitality, Frankincense Vitality, and Copaiba Vitality.
Before using these oils internally, learn safety and educate yourself.
YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OIL SUPPLEMENTS:
Young Living also has many supplements to support our health and wellness. I chose buying my supplements from Young Living because I trust that it is there are no additives or synthetics blended into the supplement. There is also some interesting theories out there that essential oil infused supplements may have improved absorption. Young Living has supplements for targeted nutrition, foundational nutrition, and cleansing nutrition. Here are a couple of their supplements at a glance:
OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER:
Here are a few of my favorite resources that I often still refer to regarding essential oil education:
As always, if you are new to essential oils and do not have any of your own, consider a premium starter kit from Young Living. This is widely regarded as the simplest way to get started with essential oils. When signing up for your first kit, you will have the opportunity to choose one of our leaders. This is an important step as they will provide you with ongoing support for the lifetime of your Young Living journey at no added cost to you! You can do this simply by visiting the our team page and selecting the individual you would like as your direct upline.
Further, by signing up as a member you will also receive tons of additional promotions such as saving 24% off retail pricing on future purchases of Young Living products.
If you have not done so already, please subscribe below for the latest updates, offers, and promotions exclusive to our essential oil community!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Please see our disclaimer.