I love this time of year. I’ve always been a holiday spirit kind of’ gal, to the point where my holiday music was banned in the household when others were home, at least until after Thanksgiving. Now that I am older, I understand why adults may not want to hear the “Little Drummer Boy” in September.
The holidays can bring everyone together under one roof or bring up feelings of grief due to missing loved ones. Whether it’s from the excitement of children in anticipation or sadness in adults that Norman Rockwell gatherings only exist in pictures, many struggle to experience peaceful dreams of organic-sugary–tasting-plums dancing in their head this time of year.
We all are now aware of how sleep is beneficial for body, brain, and emotional well-being. In fact, I wrote about it here. While we know we’d make wiser decisions and be more cheerful on a full night’s rest, it seems that many of our brains can start running like a hamster on its wheel as soon as our head hits the pillow. With the holidays, the list may be longer in the things that need to get done, purchases that need to be made, or worries about what cousin Ned will say at the holiday table. To simply say, “go to bed earlier,” or “get more sleep”, can be an anxiety-producing recommendation for those who walk the dark halls at night.
This is why I’m so excited to share with you a recipe with calming essential oils that I learned about through my awesome clients and others’ testimonials. The fact is, I found it worked before I knew how. I have had testimonial after testimonial from clients and distributors of Young Living Essential Oils on this one. I figured, with the holidays, this needs to get out there…blog topic and fun research for me.
So, I’ve posted the recipe here.
Now, for those who are interested in learning the science….here goes….
The blend calls for the following oils:
Lavender, Tangerine, Roman Chamomile, and Geranium
Let’s start with Roman chamomile.
I had a fun journey down the biochemical pathways with an article from Molecular Medicine Reports back in 2010 on this oil! I can see how Roman chamomile, most known for calming anxiety in the herbal world, would help for sleep. To also discover how it modulated the release of the pituitary stress hormone, ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) and calmed inflammation by affecting the same pathway as powerful anti-inflammatory medications, made me was ecstatic. What a true brain pre-holiday treat!
See, when you are inflamed or in pain, your brain can definitely be in hyper-diligence and your stress will go up. This will make the hamster wheel analogy seem not so funny to you!
Next, there’s lavender.
Okay, I cheated a bit here. See, I learned about this oil’s biochemistry about 11 years ago, and was hooked in studying the mechanisms of essential oils’ chemicals actions since. I kind of already counted on lavender to be in a sleep formula. After all, it contains calming esters and it is known as the universal essential oil due to its powerful healing properties. Furthermore, it has the ability to modulate the stress response because of the calming esters and the aldehydes. These aldehydes are also calming to the nervous system as well as being anti-inflammatory. In addition to the chemistry, I found a recent article in November that reported on the positive effect that lavender essential oil had on sleep for those suffering from dementia. This study was done at the HealthPartners Alzheimer’s Research Center.
Geranium is another powerful oil to include in a sleep blend. Those visions of sugar plums can cause blood sugar to become deregulated and cause awakening at night. The good news is, researchers published a study in 2012 that found that geranium essential oil modulated stress in our rodent friends’ bodies and could positively influence blood sugar levels and cholesterol metabolism in ours.
Tangerine belongs to the Rutaceae or citrus family. These oils are known to contain high amounts of limonene, a potent immune modulator. They are also high in antioxidants and have calming effects on the brain due to those esters I already discussed. The flavonoids present in this oil are also beneficial to circulation, which is a good thing to support during dream-state.
Clinical Studies on Oil Blends for Sleep
The power of the combination is incredible. For the sake of length of this article, I’ll focus on two more positive studies in humans.
One was a study done with a similar blend to our secret recipe containing a mixture of lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli. This experiment demonstrated a positive effect on anxiety, sleep, and blood pressure in coronary artery disease patients. This (nonequivalent control group nonsynchronised quasiexperiment- for those who know what different types of studies are) included participants with ischemic heart diseases after a stent insertion during coronary angiographies who were admitted to the ICU. (Definitely an anxious bunch, right?)
Another study with 99 middle aged women participants demonstrated that a massage with essential oils had even more benefits on sleep and blood pressure than a massage alone.
So, content with the testimonials and the science, I will be giving my family the gift of sleep in little joy-filled bottles this holiday season, along with this information. It’s a great blend to have on hand for traveling and jet lag as well. May you have peace-filled nights this holiday season.
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A, Young Living Essential Oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been AFNOR and ISO standardized or medicinal grade. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. Please remember that this information is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness.
Srivastava, JK, Shankar, E & Gupta, S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Report. 2010 November 1; 3(6): 895–901. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2010.377. PMCID: PMC2995283
Brun, M. Lavender oil linked to sleep benefits for dementia patients: Lavender aromatherapy can help people suffering from dementia sleep easier — that’s according to a new study conducted at an assisted living center in Red Wing. grandsforkhearld.com. November 25, 2013. http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/278961/group/homepage/
Wong, C. Health Benefits of Geranium Essential Oil. altmedicine.about.com. Updated July 14, 2013. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aromatherapy/a/Geranium-Essential-Oil.htm
Boukhris M, Bouaziz M, Feki I, Jemai H, El Feki A, Sayadi S. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of leaf essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér. in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Jun 26;11:81
Essential Science Publishing (compilation). Essential Oils Desk Reference 4th ed. USA: Essential Science Publishing; 2007.
Cho, Mi-Y, Min, ES, Hur, M-H, & Lee, MS. Effects of Aromatherapy on the Anxiety, Vital Signs, and Sleep Quality of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Patients in Intensive Care Units. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 381381. Published online 2013 February 17. doi: 10.1155/2013/381381. PMCID: PMC3588400
Ju MS, Lee S, Bae I, Hur MH, Seong K, Lee MS. Effects of aroma massage on home blood pressure, ambulatory blood pressure, and sleep quality in middle-aged women with hypertension. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:403251. doi: 10.1155/2013/403251. Epub 2013 Jan 30. PMID: 23431338