The Sleep Series: De-Stress for Your Best Night’s Sleep
Welcome to The Sleep Series.
Where once a month we will share our expert tips and wellbeing moments to help you unwind your senses, offer you guidance in understanding your circadian rhythm and just how to reset it, plus all the ways you can create the perfect bedtime ritual with our aromatherapy products — for your most restful nights.
This month's topic: De-Stress for Your Best Night’s Sleep
Stress affects us all differently.
Some of us may feel anxious or nervous, experience tension in the body or reactions to skin, while others may toss and turn at night and struggle to fall asleep.
Though we can’t always avoid feeling of stress completely, we can learn how to manage it.
Our Education Manager, Amy Bonfield, and neuroscientist, bestselling author and Expert Wellbeing Associates Dr Tara Swart share their tips in building mental resilience, mindful practices to relieve tension and how we can use the power of aromatherapy and our sense of smell to help build our most calming and mindful bedtime rituals.
Create Boundaries in Your Day with Aromatherapy
As working from home has blurred the boundaries between personal and professional life, many of us have struggled to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Cue: the power of our essential oil blends.
By diffusing our pure essential oil blends throughout the day, you can begin to create your own transitions: an energising start to your day with Revive, a focusing reset in the afternoon with De-Stress and a calming unwind with Relax.
Our Head of Spa, Amy Bonfield, separates her own work life from home by re-creating an evening commute:
"As I finish work for the day, I add 2-3 drops of our De-Stress pure essential oil blend into my diffuser. I’ll then take the dog out for a walk and let the balancing and soothing scents envelop my house. When I come back and open the front door, I am greeted with the familiar scent of my evening unwind. By repeatedly using this scent at night, my mind and body associate this aroma as time to relax, lowering my cortisol levels and helping me feel calm."
Run a bath
Studies have shown that a simple act of self-care, in particular bathing, reduces anxiety and calms the mind by inducing a hormonal reaction in the body.
"Being in warm water produces the bonding hormone oxytocin, which you get if you spend time with people you love. To reap the benefits, stay in the tub for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
I enhance my bathing experience by using an Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oil, applying the oil to my torso, and also my shins - where I experience the most dryness when I am stressed."
Dr Tara Swart
Give yourself an at-home massage
When we experience stress, we often hold tension in our neck and shoulders.
A self-massage can help stimulate circulation and reduce our stress levels, further increasing our oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine hormones.
Before you go to bed, use our De-Stress Muscle Gel or De-Stress Body Oil, massaging into any tense areas. Similar to immersing your skin in warm water, this act of self-touch stimulates oxytocin and, in turn, lowers the cortisol and adrenaline hormones we have when we are stressed.
Pick your scent for sleep
When we go to bed with a racing mind, our stress hormone, cortisol, is in battle with our sleep hormone, melatonin, keeping us up throughout the night.
The key to your best night’s sleep is using the ritual of aromatherapy, and your sense of smell, to build neural connections to your brain.
"Every day we can strengthen connections in the brain with affirmations or by recalling certain memories. Our sense of smell is a key connector, and we have the power to align smell with positive habits.
For your bedtime ritual, pick an Aromatherapy Associates scent to diffuse or apply on your body and skin, and use it every day. You will create that connection with your brain, helping it associate that particular aroma with relaxation and sleep. Next time you smell the same scent, this will trigger positive emotional and physical responses, reinforcing the message to the brain about a memory of sleeping well.
Aromatherapy Associates products are hand-blended with essential oils that actually have a therapeutic effect, traveling to the limbic system, the part of the brain associated with emotion. Choose the essential oil blend that resonates with you emotionally."
Dr Tara Swart
Practice meditation and deep breathing
If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.
During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. Begin by finding a quiet place and concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nose. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.
Use an Aromatherapy Associates Roller Ball to further enhance this moment of pause, applying to your pulse points and inhaling the aromas. Like you would use a particular essential oil blend as you unwind for the evening, doing the same while meditating will help your brain connect this act of self-care, compassion and mindfulness to that aroma.