According to The Great British Bedtime Report, only 32% of young people aged 16-24 say that they ‘sleep very well’. Lifestyle and Culture editor Verity knows the struggle that faces insomnia sufferers, but she’s found something that just might help you beat it.
Sometimes I lie wide awake at 4AM, clenching the covers with the stress of constant worrying about deadlines, my university life and my work life. There is a voice inside my head that loves to appear in the early hours of the morning, just after I’m ready to settle down and try and get my beauty sleep. This voice demands attention, it demands solutions and most importantly, my time at such late hours. There is a ping pong battle between this voice and my brain, who acts like a mother trying to hush me into a lullaby. My brain reminds me to count sheep, listen to white noise, try sleep hypnosis – do anything to quieten the anxiety inside me. But as always, the voice grows louder, causing me to toss and turn all night.
Just as the voice has had enough, my alarm clock starts screaming at me, vibrating loudly on my desk, and I realise that I have hardly slept at all. I shake it off, throw myself into the shower and rush to my 9AM lecture. I try hard not to fall asleep during my class. I start googling ‘insomnia solutions’ but all of the suggestions are useless – I’ve tried them all before.
Then, I spot a page on aromatherapy sleep relief. I inspect the page before dismissing it as ‘hippy dippy rubbish’ but, months down the line, after almost a whole university year of falling asleep at 4am and waking up at 4pm, I decided to investigate further.
What is insomnia?
If you find yourself restless at night, struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, you may want to see your doctor. It could be that you’re suffering from insomnia.
People who suffer from insomnia are most of the time unsatisfied with their sleep, which leads to irritability, low concentration, mood swings and inability to perform at school or at work. Insomnia is a complicated condition, and anyone who is worried about their sleep patterns must always see a medical professional before diagnosing themselves.
However, alongside the advice from your doctor, a healthy diet and daily exercise, I’ve found that aromatherapy can be extremely beneficial. Aromatherapy uses natural resources such as plants and essential oils to ease the effects of medical and psychological conditions. Aromatherapy is usually safe to use as a complementary therapy, but do look out for oils that are dangerous for pregnant women and ones that pets are sensitive to.
When discovering aromatherapy, it was hard to accept that is is not a cure for insomnia. But it can massively ease the symptoms of insomnia and lull you into a sense of slumber. I’ve found it can make you fall asleep faster and help you stay asleep for longer, which is why I’ve put together a few helpful tips from the world of herbal for those of you who are struggling to get a full night’s sleep.
Aromatic cotton ball for bedtime
Dab a few small drops of lavender essential oil, sage essential oil or roman chamomile essential oil onto cotton wool or tissue, simply hold in your hand, practice your favourite breathing technique whilst inhaling the scent of essential oils. The calming effects of the oils are natural sedatives and will help you to find peace before you fall asleep. Essential oils cost between £2-£7 making it a more cost-worthy way to try out aromatherapy.
Bedroom, sheets and pillow mist spray
This is personally one of my favourites, though slightly more expensive, as you can carry a small bottle anywhere. A couple of sprays will do to make the whole room a sensory delight. I recommend Holland & Barrett’s Miaroma lavender sleep mist for £7.00.
Try a lavender scented pillow
I admit, these pillows from Unforgettable.org are a little pricey at £29.99. However , scientific research supports the relaxing benefits of lavender. In one study at Southampton University it was found that: “10 adults slept for one week in a lavender scented room and one week in a similar room scented with a placebo. At the end of the study, the volunteers ranked the quality of their sleep 20% better on average when in the lavender-scented room.”
Fleecy microwavable lavender wheat wrap
These snuggly solutions are an absolute bargain at just £3.95 online! The warmth of these microwavable wraps will have you in snug heaven scented with lavender.
Remember, please seek medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist if you think you may be suffering from insomnia. Sweet dreams everyone!