- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Easily Fall Asleep with Aroma Theropy and Relaxation Techniques
I used to have an incredibly difficult time drifting off to sleep, and I've since discovered that this is a relativly common problem. It effects everyone, from infants to the elderly.
A few years ago, I began seeing an aroma theropist - a really lovely lady by the name of Claire. She recommended a few methods to me, and I was somewhat surprised to find they worked remarkably well.
I was taken by surprise as at the time, I didn't have much faith in the capabilities of aroma theropy. I thought I'd share what I discovered then, and if you're like me and are in need of a little help to nod off, try them out - they might work for you, too.
One of the methods Claire suggested to me was visualisation. You think of a scene that is beautiful and calming to you personally, and put each of your senses to use while imagining it.
For example, one of my own relaxing scenarios takes place in a rainforest. I conjure up the sounds of birds calling to each other and the rain pitter-pattering on the leaves that surround me. I imagine I can smell the scent of damp earth and exotic flowers, and feel the rain cooling my skin. I can see a lot of greenery, unusual trees and perhaps a small monkey or parrot looking down at me. Sometimes I'll imagine myself picking a piece of fruit and try to call up the rich, sweet flavour of it. This covers all five senses.
Other situations people enjoy imagining are a beach at sunset, an underwater scene, a beautiful garden, a mountain path, etc. There are some good suggestions made
I've also written a handfull of visualisations myself, a couple of which appear below. You of course don't have to follow them exactly - if you want to use them to create your own relaxing place, then please go ahead.
You are trudging through a stunning snow-covered landscape - your gait is unhurried and you are revelling in the elegant charm of the untamed wilderness. You feel the cold wind blow around you, but inside all those layers of clothing, you are warm. Hear the snow crunch under your boots as you walk along, and breathe in the slight smell of pine trees. Feel the snowflakes gently caress any patches of exposed skin, soft and cooling.
An array of colours is spread out above you on the inky background of the sky. Greens and pinks float and dance around among the stars. You decide to watch for a moment, and eat some of your favourite snacks you have packed for this trip. Does this food taste sweet, or savoury?
When you have seen enough of the twinkling lights and colours, you move on, at a comfortable pace, and look back at the long line of deep footprints on the snow. Have you travelled far? Can you see your starting point any longer? Gaze at odd features on the surrounding landscape, and take in their mighty, majestic beauty.
The air smells clean, crisp, and fresh, making you feel happy and safe.
You begin to hear sounds you do not recognize, but they are not frightening, and an animal approaches you, out of curiosity. As it comes closer, you cannot help but smile, and you see how friendly the creature is. What is it? A penguin? Maybe a hare? Or perhaps an artic fox?
Timidly, it reaches out to you, and it seems to enjoy the touch of your warm skin. You savour the feel of it's incredibly thick coat, too. is it soft, or coarse?
Just ahead, there is a faint glow, bright against the frozen ground. Approach this light, and you can observe that the source is a campfire, accompanied by a tent. You can smell the faint, agreeable aroma of burning wood, and once you reach the offered shelter, you take a pre-packed meal from your ruksack that you can cook over the fire. You relish the taste, and you give some to your animal friend.
Now you sit inside the tent, which keeps you surprisingly warm and cosy. Does the Arctic animal stay with you, or does it stroll away into the distance?
Sit here, looking out at the white landscape. The campfire burns brilliantly against the gleaming snow, making restless shadow patterns that dance on the ground.
The warmth and comfort of the tent are seductivly inviting, so you rest here, listening to the wind whisper outside, and to the animals that wander past sometimes. You feel yourself falling deeper and deeper into a state of pleasant semi-conciousness
Remain here for a short while, and allow your mind to wander to wherever it pleases.
It is a cool summer’s day, and you are going for a walk in the mountains. You feel the sun warming your back, and a light breeze often blows, keeping you cool, as you stroll up the gently sloping path.
Your walk is just beginning, but you immediately notice the landscape around you. The surface you are walking on is a cool, mossy track. To each side of you, there are treas which serve as a source of shade from the sun. The natural greens are dotted with brown here and there. You realise that these are acorns. As the breeze blows again, you hear small, light thunking sounds, and notice that the light wind is shaking them to the ground. You feel them rubbing against your shoes as you walk through the grass.
Suddenly, you emerge into the light and notice that the path beneath your feet is baked and cracked. The top of the slope is still quite far away, but you are in no hurry. You feel very relaxed here. Along the side of the sandy track, you spot a cluster of bushes which house some small birds that flutter away when you approach. You find some blackberries in the bushes, and you stop to pick some. You wash them with the water you have brought along, and sit down to eat them. How do they taste? Are they sour, or sweet? Fill your pockets with handfulls of the delicious fruit in case you become hungry later. Your fingers and palms are sticky with the juice, but you are not bothered by the sensation.
You continue on your way up the track again, and you smell an exquisite, natural perfume. It is coming from the wild flowers around you. They are in full bloom and are reaching up towards the sun. Closing your eyes, you take a deep breath, so you can fully apriciate their fragrence.
You let your eyes open again, to be greeted by the vivid purples, reds, yellows, and greens of the flora.
Finally, you see that you are only a small distance from the hilltop. As you draw nearer, you hear water trickling and lapping over rocks. It is a stream, and you see that it travels underground a short distance away.
You kneel down beside the stream and take a drink of water from it. It is cold and fresh, and you help yourself to another drink. Tired from your journey, you sit in the grass. How does it feel? Long, or short, soft or rough. It gently tickles your skin, and you begin to think about your surroundings. Here, the smell of flowers is all around you, and the selection of scents and sounds help you relax. You are very comfortable now, and your mind begins to drift. Sit here and become lost in your thoughts for a while…
The Worry Box
If you find yourself worrying about past or ongoing problems in your life when trying to fall asleep at night, this exercise may be of use to you.
Imagine a sturdy container in as much detail as possible. For example, visualise a chest at the bottom of the ocean, covered in seaweed, with schools of fish swimming past it. Maybe you could imagine a crab or lobster scuttling across the chest, or plankton clinging to it. Even envision some gold coins or expensive relics spilling from the chest if you like.
You can do the same thing with a toy box in your childhood bedroom, a barrel in a field, a safe hidden behind a hanging picture frame, etc.
The idea here is to imagine yourself leaving your worries in this container for safe-keeping, then in the morning you can go back to your vessel and retrieve them.
It is more effective if you picture yourself securing the lid of your capsule. For example, using a heavy padlock to close the chest, sitting an old favourite stuffed toy on top of your toy box to guard it, placing a large rock on the lid of the barrel, or setting a combination on the safe.
You're now free to drift off to the land of nod, as these mental images communicate to your subconcious that it is acceptable to let your mind wander onto other less serious subjects.
Aromas That Soothe
Different oils and the scents they give off have a number of effects on humans and our mood and state of mind. There are many that can be used to aid you in becoming relaxed, and whisk you off to sleep.
First, you need to identify exactly what it is that's preventing you from sleeping. Below is a list of stress-related issues and the essential oils that can be used to relieve them.
Anxiety can be treated with:
Depression and guilt can be treated with:
Helplessness can be treated with:
Insomnia and restlessness can be treated with:
Irritability and nervous tension can be treated with:
Tiredness and exhaustion can be treated with:
While candles are available in a host of fragrances, they do not contain essential oils, and therefore shouldn't be used in place of the oils listed above.
You will need to purchase a diffuser in order to properly allow the oil's aroma to permeate a room. I would personally advise a candle diffuser, or a reed diffuser, although there are many different types available. It depends entirely on your own personal preference.
I suggest candle or reed diffusers as other models can be very noisy (e.g. the fan model) or expensive.
Of course, be sure to extinguish the diffuser's flame before settling down into bed, as you don't want to fall asleep with an open flame burning in your bedroom.
I'd recommend placing the diffuser in your bedroom windowsill and allowing it to burn as you prepare for bed, read a book, or browse the internet, etc. Once you're content that the fragrance has become strong enough, make sure you've fully put out the flame, then feel free to snuggle down beneath the covers.
If you'd rather not use a diffuser, you can easily make up a liquid solution to spray on the underside of your pillow.
Fill a spray bottle with water, then add 1 - 3 drops of essential oil, depending on how strong you'd prefer the aroma to be. Children, for instance, don't often enjoy strong scents, so you would only use one drop of oil on the pillow of a child who is having trouble sleeping.
If too much oil is used, it may irritate the individual and in turn keep them awake.