Time changes can have a very disruptive effect on sleep patterns as well as overall health. Last year CNN reported that the rate of stroke was 8% higher in the two days after daylight savings time due to changes in sleep patterns or circadian rhythm. Both having a good bedtime or nighttime routine (or hygiene as it is often called) and using lavender at night can help. Here are some of the basic tips for getting to sleep at night include:
Environment – make your bedroom a relaxing environment for sleep. Don’t bring work into the bedroom, or even TV screens. Exercise equipment in the bedroom can also be a distraction to sleep. Lower the temperature in the bedroom to 67 F or lower. Its difficult to sleep when its warm.
Limit caffeine, food, and alcohol – caffeine too late in the day can definitely keep one awake. While alcohol can be relaxing and promote sleep, it can also act as a stimulant and make sleep restless. Food too late in the day, especially food high in fat or spices can make sleep difficult and cause indigestion. Dinner in European countries is typically later; after 8. I never understood that custom and how they can get to sleep to get up the next day.
Maintain dark/light cycles – being exposed to light during the day is important to regulating your sleep hormone; melatonin. Having darkness at night is equally important. While getting ready for bed keep the lights in the bedroom low. You can even dim them earlier in the evening. For more on enhancing melatonin production, read here.
Exercise – getting enough physical activity during the day can also improve sleep, even if its just a moderate walk. Some experts recommend not exercising at night, but in my experience, mild exercise at night can help sleep.
Use Lavender in your bedtime rituals – lavender has a long history of use to decrease anxiety and promote sleep. This is Lavandula angustifolia, not to be confused with other species of lavender, namely, Lavandula x intermedia which has different properties that are more stimulating.
Many medical studies have confirmed the effect of lavender to help with sleep. One of the more recent studies found that when infants a bath with a lavender scented bath oil their stress and crying were reduced and sleep was enhanced. The lavender oil also helped relax mothers of these infants relax and bond more with their infants.
Even the molecular mechanism of lavender has been studied. Compounds in lavender were found to modulate a specific type of Calcium channel in cells. These particular calcium channels are known to be involved in sleep, epilepsy, pain, anxiety and cell proliferation.
Previous studies also show that lavender can decrease the release of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, at the neuromuscular junction. This is also something that leads to sedative effects.
We have many products with lavender so I’d like to address how you can use some of these for your bedtime routine.
Use lavender, or lavender/rose body oil in a bath before retiring. A warm bath can help relax the body, and the lavender scent is a bonus. You can also use lavender/rose bath salts and wash with lavender/shea soap.
Use lavender scented Mountain Mist hand and body lotion on the hands and other dry spots before sleeping. I’ve been woken up before because of dry, itchy skin when I’ve forgotten to moisturize before bed.
Mist your face, hair and even your pillow case with lavender face/body mist. This will also help hydrate your skin before sleep.
Use a dream pillow in your pillow case. Besides lavender, these dream pillows contain hops, chamomile and other herbs to promote sleep. Alternatively, you can use a lavender sachet in your pillow or by your bed.
I hope this helps you adjust to the time change. I am not a fan of time change as I don’t like waking up in the dark.
Field, T., Field, T., Cullen, C., et al. Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants. Early Human Development. Volume 84, Issue 6, June 2008, Pages 399-401 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378378207002265?via%3DihubSummary in Science Daily at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378378207002265#!
El Alaoui C, Chemin J, Fechtali T, Lory, P., Modulation of T-type Ca2+ channels by Lavender and Rosemary extracts. PLoS (Public Library of Science) One. 2017 Oct 26;12(10):e0186864. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186864. eCollection 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5658086/pdf/pone.0186864.pdf
Koulivand, P.H., Ghadiri, M.K., and Gorji, A., Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 681304, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304