Do you persistently have trouble falling asleep at night? Do you consistently wake up in the middle of the night? Do you awake in the wee hours of the morning and cannot get back to sleep? Does your sleep pattern or lack of sleep cause you to function below par during the day? If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, you may be experiencing insomnia.
It is estimated that over 30% of adults experience insomnia periodically, with over 10% experiencing chronic insomnia. Persistent lack of sleep can be detrimental to the mental and physical health of the body. During the act of sleeping, our bodies undergo various processes which focus on repair and regeneration.
It is important, however, to remember that insomnia is a symptom and not a medical issue unto itself, meaning something is causing it. Therefore, if you experience chronic insomnia, you need to visit a physician to determine the underlying reason for your inability to sleep.
Many individuals do not like the idea of taking medication, especially sleeping aids. If you fall into this category, there are many lifestyle changes and natural remedies that you may find beneficial. For instance, what you ingest can have a significant effect on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Foods that contain stimulants should be avoided. Caffeine products such as coffee, chocolate, most teas, and soda pop should be cut out of your diet. Stop smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant. Ensure you are getting enough vitamin B12 and iron in your diet. This can be simplified by taking a supplement. Overeating in general can have adverse effects on the amount and quality of your sleep – avoid eating at least three hours before you plan on going to sleep.
Exercise is important to your overall health, including your ability to sleep – regular exercise is a must. Many experts suggest exercising in the morning. If this is not possible, then make sure you exercise early in the evening. Incorporate relaxation practices into your daily life – this can be as simple as locking yourself in the bathroom for ten minutes a day to simply unwind from your hectic day. Stress and tension have a very negative effect on your body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If you are looking for a natural remedy, you may want to try essential oils and aromatherapy. This option is easy to use and requires very little time or effort. There are a number of different oils that you can use, and a variety of applications. A few of the essential oils that you can use to promote sleep and relaxation are: chamomile, neroli, oregano, sandalwood, ylang ylang, tangerine and lavender.
To use essential oils for insomnia or to promote sleep in general, there are several different applications that can be implemented.
1. Use several drops of your chosen essential oil in your diffuser. This should be done in the evening while you are winding down getting ready for bed. Never leave your diffuser on throughout the night; it must always be attended as it is a heat source.
2. Use 8 to 10 drops of the essential oil of choice in your bath water. Add the oil only after you have finished running your water, and make sure you mix it into the water so that it isn’t sitting on top of the water in a little puddle.
3. Another option is to put several drops of the essential oil on a tissue and place it inside your pillowcase. You will have to replace the tissue nightly before sleep.
4. Mix your essential oil into your favorite carrier oil and massage onto your body before bed.
Play around with the applications until you find the one that works best for you. For best results, choose an essential oil that you enjoy the fragrance of. Again, you may have to experiment with a couple of different essential oils until you find which work best for you. Another option is to mix a couple together; for instance, chamomile and lavender work together very effectively. Be patient and use over a few weeks before you determine whether an oil is working for you or not.
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