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Relaxation and good quality sleep... are you getting enough?
Written by Lucinda Walton
Life today seems ever more fast paced and deadline filled. We pack our schedules to the brim and are often found to be juggling too many balls in the air. Our life balance gets out of kilter and we find ourselves over working, ‘doing’ more and relaxing less. This will invariably begin to affect our sleep patterns over time. Our time out spent relaxing, or lack of, is often linked to our sleep health.
This month’s newsletter will focus on sleep and relaxation and how you can take steps to help yourself and your clients. Whatever our busy diaries throw at us, most of us will experience different amounts of alertness or sleepiness throughout the day. We have two internal body systems to regulate sleep:
The sleep/wake homeostasis system will nudge us that the need for sleep is accumulating when we have been awake for a long period of time. This system alone would mean we feel most alertness first thing on waking and more sleepiness as wakefulness continues; it creates a balance between wakefulness and sleep. However, you may have noticed that it isn’t always as straightforward as bright-eyed and bushy tailed with the dawn chorus and sleepy headed as the owls come out.
The Circadian biological clock
Our circadian rhythm is our internal body clock that regulates the timing of periods of wakefulness and sleepiness throughout the day, dipping and rising. We are probably all aware of our own individual times of the day when we feel energised or in need of a nap, or whether we consider ourselves to be a morning person or an evening person. If our night time sleep is insufficient, or poor quality, our circadian dips will be more intense, hence spells of feeling very tired throughout the day. However, our circadian rhythm will also create spells of alertness even when we have insufficient sleep.... not so good if you are feeling alert just when you are desperate to get to sleep.
So what effects our sleep health?
Our lifestyle and general health can all affect our quality of sleep. You may have observed more and more clients reporting disturbed, poor quality of sleep. Internal factors to consider are medical conditions and medications taken, pain levels, age, stress levels, depression and anxiety. External factors to consider are pre-bedtime eating habits, amount of light exposure pre-sleep, especially the ‘blue’ light from our phones, tablets etc, alcohol and caffeine consumption, the environment in your bedroom, shift patterns at work and jet lag.
So, what can we do to help promote a nourishing and undisturbed night’s sleep?
Firstly review your sleep environment. Avoid having your room too warm, an open window will allow fresh air to circulate. Himalayan Salt lamps help create a soporific light as well as having health benefits. The Eve Taylor Ultra Sonic Aroma Diffuser also emits gentle ambient colours; try diffusing the Relax Diffuser Blend or Sleep Well Diffuser Blend to aromatise your room, both are soporific.
Relax Diffuser Blend unwinds mind and body, the warm earthy aromas of Egyptian Geranium, sweetened by the richness of Indonesian Patchouli, gently unwind the senses. The hint of ripened Italian Mandarin, permeates through the subtle smoothness of Bulgarian Lavender, lifting daily body stress and tension, into an undisturbed uncomplicated repose.
Sleep Well Diffuser Blend helps you recline in peaceful tranquillity resting in the dusky aroma of Moroccan Cedarwood and sweet Brazilian orange, as you gently drift into calm comfortable stillness. The freshness of high-altitude lavender and the unmistakable benefits of Valerian root, soothe and transpose your breathing, your body and your mind into a peace and restful slumber. Take time to set the scene for restful sleep rather than just crashing into bed exhausted only to find yourself struggling to get to sleep.
Secondly look at your habits in the hours leading up to preparing for sleep.
Limit caffeine, alcohol and heavy spicy foods, avoid eating straight before going to bed. Limit using your phone or tablet just before settling down as the blue light has been suggested to affect sleep. Swap tea and coffee for a herbal infusion. Chamomile and valerian teas are widely available. Enjoy a relaxing soak in the bath with Anti Stress Massage & Bath Blend before retiring. The light citrus aroma of sweet orange and mandarin coupled with a fragrant hint of French lavender creates a soothing and relaxing effect to a tired body in this multi-use aromatherapy blend. Add 4-6 pumps into bath water.
Apply Relaxing Body Serum (No.10) before retiring to bed. This tried and tested formula ensures effective results for anyone in need of deep relaxation, helping to relieve stress, tension and general body fatigue. It soothes and calms the body and mind making it ideal for insomnia. The synergistic blend of mandarin, orange, thyme, lemongrass, cinnamon and lavender collectively soothes the mind, strengthens the nervous system and aids in restful sleep. Smooth 3 pumps across shoulders, to solar plexus area and soles of the feet.
As well as getting into the habit of good sleep practice, look at the rest of your daily routine. Are you fitting in time for rest and relaxation? Are you eating a healthy balanced diet? Getting out in the fresh air has been shown to increase wellbeing and encourage good sleep as well as letting you escape from your work routine for a while.
Exercise and meditation promote good health for body, mind and spirit and therefore helps with good nourishing sleep. Make time for pursuits you enjoy, art, reading, music.
It’s all about balance.
What can we, as therapists, offer our clients?
Before your client arrives, you can set the scene. Lavender Hydrolat spritzed over the couch and into the air will set a relaxing ambience. Relax and Self Indulge AromaWax Candle will further aromatize the room. Create a sacred space for your client where they feel safe and able to deeply relax.
During the consultation process, whilst communicating with our clients and observing their body language, we will be able to gauge their stress levels and ascertain their sleep health and whether they are finding time for leisure and relaxation. We can recommend treatments to bring balance and wellbeing to our clients, encouraging them to take time out for their own relaxation. As an Eve Taylor Therapist, you have an extensive tool kit of products to introduce to your client within your treatments and to retail. You can plan a treatment regime and suggest homecare products to help them bring back balance.
And finally, as you are nurturing your clients and ensuring they take time out for relaxation, remember all the good advice you give your clients and practice self-care. Make May your month to make change and factor in some tlc for you in your busy schedule.