As I explained previously in this blog series, living with the daily consequences of a sleep disorder is harsh. The sleep disorder causes chronic sleep deprivation as well as a host of cognitive and physical ailments. I also have a Circadian Rhythm Disorder, which makes things worse.
I use a variety of techniques to treat the daytime effects of sleep deprivation and reset my circadian rhythm. Part 1 of this blog series discussed the use of caffeine; Part 2 discussed Light Therapy and Part 3 is discussing how I stimulate my brain with smell using Aromatherapy.
“Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.”
Lavender is probably the most famous of all essential oils and most familiar for helping people get to sleep. There are hundreds of essential oils, though, and they have been used for thousands of years for their healing properties. The oils all have different properties that provide a variety of potential healing abilities.
I know many sceptics still call aromatherapy ‘pseudoscience,’ but ask anyone who has treated burns with lavender and fungal infections with tea tree oil if it works and in many cases, the answer is yes! Science might not be able to explain why, but if it works, do we need to be so critical? After all, antidepressants are used to treat a variety of mental illnesses, but scientists still can’t explain exactly why they work in some cases, but not for others!
The essential oil properties I am most interested in for waking me up, are those with stimulant properties such as peppermint. It is recognised that Peppermint can energise and help us stay alert. It is described as ‘uplifting and invigorating,’ and I certainly have to agree! Peppermint is my favourite, but it is down to personal preference. There are other many stimulant oils such as; Grapefruit, Bergamot, Rosemary, Basil and Ginger available to use.
Peppermint oil is a natural stimulant that is included in hundreds of products for it’s fresh, uplifting scent and taste. The oil can increase your ability to concentrate during times of mental fatigue or stress and boost your energy levels. Perfect for the morning sleep deprivation crisis!
I use the aroma of the oil to stimulate my brain, by burning it in a specially designed oil burner for about an hour, and it fills the room with its wonderful scent. I also put some on a cotton ball and sniff this periodically. I have found it does cut through the foggy brain sleep deprivation causes and helps me feel more awake each morning. I can concentrate more effectively also. I can feel my eyes beginning to stay open instead of half shut and out of focus!
It is also has a fresh, pleasant sweet smell. I wouldn’t be without peppermint oil in the mornings now!
Please note, essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin as neat essential oil, though; they must be mixed with a carrier oil first. (Lavender and Tea Tree Oils are the exceptions to this rule). Also, the essential oils must never be consumed.
So, far we have discussed how I use my senses each morning to stimulate my brain through taste with the caffeine, sight with the light therapy, and smell with the aromatherapy. Coming up: I will be writing about stimulating my brain through sound using music therapy. These previous blogs are: