FIONA HEDIGAN: SLEEP NIRVANA
The Dalai Lama said “Sleep is the best meditation” and never a truer word was spoken. When clinical aromatherapist (and our sleep collaborator) Fiona Hedigan was researching and developing her best selling blended oil, REST, designed to pave the pathway for sleep, she found plenty of compelling reasons to set a fool proof sleep routine.
We are regularly reminded by health practitioners to get 8 hours sleep. However, with life being so busy, there always seems to be obstacles to achieving that magic number. Work, study, family, fun times all seem to conspire at different stages in our lives to come between us and our pillows, sometimes literally.
Imagine a product that could help you prepare for those eight hours, that gets you in the mood for a nice, long relaxing sleep. Doesn’t that sound marvellous? When I began thinking about my new REST oil, I was thinking of all my family, friends, clients and customers lamenting the fact that they were having difficulty switching off, tuning out and dropping off. Knowing that Frankincense oil and Neroli oil contain powerful relaxing properties, I began my research into creating an oil that can become part of any bedtime routine, relaxing and winding down to sleep.
IMPROVE YOUR LIFE
Research in recent years suggests that adequate sleep (which varies depending on age but is not less than eight hours regardless of age group) can improve your memory function, your motor skills, boost your immune system, aid longevity and bizarrely, improve breakfast food choices among teenagers thus counteracting potential onset of diabetes and obesity.
According to the scientific research benefits of sleeping the recommended length of time for your age group include:
1. Improved health: there are numerous studies that confirm the link between the optimal amount of sleep and conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
2. Improved weight control: this is partly due to psychological reasons. If you are too tired it’s easier to slide a pizza out of a packet than to spend time chopping vegetables for a nourishing soup. However it’s also physiological as a hormone called leptin plays a role in telling you when you are full. Leptin levels drop when you are tired meaning you’re more likely to feel hungry. (4)
3. We all know that short sleep can make us cranky but research shows that adequate sleep can improve concentration and productivity in adults and in children. So if you sleep well not only will you stop snapping at your co-workers, you’ll get your work done in half the time!
4. Longer sleep will help you get achieve fitness goals: Longer sleeping has been linked to achieving athletic goals in a study of college basketball players so get to bed early if you are trying for a personal best.
5. Stay healthy this winter by sleeping for eight hours a night. A 2015 study found that adults with longer sleep were less likely to develop cold symptoms after infection.
6. Apart from the short and long term health benefits that can be gained from eight hours of sleep per night there are also mental and emotional benefits. Sleep before and after learning can greatly assist recall due to the role deep sleep plays in memory retention or what Matthew Walker, the Sleep Diplomat and author of “Why We Sleep” calls in this video presentation “the save button” . There are campaigns afoot to adjust school start times in order to make allowances for the specific sleep needs of teenagers with sleep experts calling for a complementary course of sleep education for parents, teachers and teenagers. How have we gone so wrong that we need to be taught how to sleep!
What can we do to reach this sleep nirvana? Over and over experts recommend routine, gentle activity that helps frame your mind for rest. This can include gentle mindfulness or yoga practice, a soothing blend of tea or incorporating FLORA + FIONA REST into your evening routine to help you prepare. Other tips (based on scientific research!) include:
1. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine, not just before bed, but altogether. Do I want to believe that?!
2. Putting away that phone/ mobile device (you have our permission to stop reading right now if you are in bed!)
3. Getting some daylight during the day but dim the lights at bedtime.
4. Developing a routine which can include things as simple as brushing your teeth but try and keep to a schedule. Consider including a warm bath (15) with calming oils as part of that routine.
5. Introducing some calming scents to the bedroom. We love this one, of course!
FLORA + FIONA REST Oil is part of our Ultimate Sleep Gift Set
You can find out more on floraplusfiona.com