Bedtime should be an event to look forward to after a long day. There can be something so comforting about going through a methodical nightly routine that ends with cozying in under the covers and flicking off the lights. However, if you are one of the millions of Americans struggling with insomnia or related sleep disturbances, the evening hours can be a dreaded part of the day. Restless nights of tossing and turning can leave you feeling drained and distant rather than renewed come morning. This DIY Sleepy Time Balm offers a gentle solution; it uses a calming blend of essential oils designed to soothe the nervous system so that a deeper sleep can occur naturally.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by a difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, and it is becoming more and more common across the population. Insomnia can occur in acute or chronic, mild or severe forms. Researchers believe that it results from a disrupted circadian rhythm. The body’s internal clock becomes altered in some way, making it difficult to transition between normative states of being awake and asleep. This disruption can be caused by a complex interplay of biological, environmental and social factors. Medical and psychiatric conditions, genetic influences, unhealthy sleep habits and the intake of certain foods or substances can all play a role.
Below are a some of the most common causes of insomnia:
- Change in schedule or environment
- Engaging in stimulating activities before bed (exercise, TV, computers)
- Light pollution
- Caffeine and alcohol intake
- Certain medications
- Nasal/sinus allergies
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Chronic pain
- Endocrine imbalances
As you can guess from this list, insomnia is unique for each individual. The most effective way to treat sleep disturbance is therefore to determine the distinct and personal underlying causes. Working with an integrative health care practitioner can be helpful when assessing complicated cases. For those experiencing more transient or less severe periods of sleeplessness however, there are many natural sleep aids and remedies that can help to restore the body’s natural patterns.
This DIY Sleepy Time Balm uses essential oils that are known to help settle the nervous system. The balm is inexpensive to make and easy to whip up in the kitchen. With just five wholesome ingredients, it can be a simple and safe addition to your nightly routine. It isn’t a sedative and won’t provide instant relief for sleepless nights, but it can work naturally with your body’s systems to promote a state of relaxation that helps to usher in sleep.
Here's a look at some of the ingredients at work:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: a gentle and nourishing carrier oil, filled with vitamin E for the skin
Castor Oil: traditional anti-inflammatory, easily absorbed into the skin
Bergamot Essential Oil: helps reduce anxiety and stress, also useful for depression
Lavender Essential Oil: promotes balance and calm, associated with stress and pain relief
Rosemary Essential Oil: eases mental fatigue, provides immune system support and soothes respiratory problems
DIY Sleepy Time Balm
1/2 oz beeswax (about 1 tablespoon when melted)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
15 drops bergamot essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
1. Measure out extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
2. Weigh out about 1/2 oz of beeswax. If your beeswax is in a bar and not pastilles, shred or shave so that it will melt easier. If you prefer a softer salve, use slightly less.
3. Place beeswax and carrier olive oil in a double boiler and melt. Use low heat to preserve integrity of the oil. If you do not have a double boiler or don't feel like scraping the beeswax out of it later, simply place ingredients in a mason jar and hold over a pan filled with water.
4. Remove from heat and add castor oil and essential oils. Whip quickly with a fork and pour directly into a small glass jar or tin.
5. Place the jar in the refrigerator or freezer to set. Remove when hardened (likely no more than 30 minutes). Apply to forehead, temples, neck, shoulders or wherever you wish to bring some relaxation. Sweet dreams!