Healing Straight From Nature…

Sleepless in Jamaica

Rosewood Tree

Rosewood essential oil derived from the Magnoliid Tree

I had a tough week last week. It’s Sunday, the start of another week and time to start all over again. It wasn’t work, or people who made my week so hard. It was that all important factor of TIME and how it’s used!

In today’s busy world, it seems that there are not enough hours in a day. In a week, there are 168 hours. If you don’t make the most of them, you will fall behind somewhere in your busy schedule.

How many of these 168 hours are dedicated to sleep? Many discount sleep since these non-working, non-playing and non-running about hours don’t factor into the business that keeps us buzzing. But, they do count! Immensely. Your body has rights over you and if it doesn’t get its due, then you might not be as effective in those actions to be accomplished that get a higher importance rating. Lack of sleep is attributed to a higher rate of accidents on the job, increased rates of illness, absenteeism, deadly automobile accidents, and I am totally convinced that fuzzy math is in there too. Ask any investment banker how many hours of sleep he or she is getting. It’s entirely possible that derivative formulas and credit swaps that even the most erudite mathematicians can’t thoroughly explain are the result of someone’s thinking without enough sleep! If this were the case, it might be considered an instance where lack of sleep seems to pay– for now, that is. 

Sleeping 8 hours a night, or no less than 7 is the standard recommendation. That adds up to 49-56 hours a week. In quick math, almost a third of the time of a day, a week, a month– your life.  There will never be another April 10th whatever minute it is that you find yourself reading this (whatever day that is), forever. Time is going to pass. You and no one else will stop it. For your body, it’s kind of like that with sleep. The sleep you did not get last night or last week is over. But, it’s not forever. Catching up on sleep is better than continually thinking that sleeping 5 hours a night is enough to get you by. It’s not. Studies have shown that sleeping less than the recommended hours will catch up with you and it won’t be in beneficial ways. One study that really awakened me to understand how I needed to get more sleep indicated that lack of sleep may even shorten your life.

I had so many things still on my mind when I got into bed each night last week that it was not easy to drift off as I usually do. It’s amazing how some people can lay their heads on a pillow, or just back wherever they are and the next thing you know, they are asleep. I am not that person. I recognize the signs of sleepiness and put the book down, lose those thoughts in the darkness of my bedroom after turning off the light or just keep my eyes closed. I know that I can create a sleep environment. I have. There is no media in my bedroom other than a radio that includes a noise reducer (sometimes called a sound machine). I love to listen to that synthetic sound of rain and the ocean lapping against the shore every now and then. I do have books around me. I love to read. When my routine doesn’t go as planned, I reach for the aromatherapy next to my bed. It’s a simple blend of Lavender, Rosewood and Melissa. Some nights, it’s just Lavender, a very soothing essential oil with a wonderful aroma. It’s origin is those tiny lavender colored flowers from the lavender plant. To think about it, the color lavender has a soothing effect on the eyes and registers similarly in one’s mind. I love Lavender for many reasons.

When I add Rosewood I create a blend. It is an essential oil that is derived from the wood of a species of the Magnoliid tree known as Aniba rosaeodora. The use of two oils blend to enhance the desired effect by virtue of the combination of chemical components that begin a therapeutically marvelous duet. Mixing essential oils creates a conversion that is more powerful than using a single oil, kind of like two heads (thinking minds) being better than one. Both Lavender and Rosewood possess a chemical constituent called linalool, Rosewood having the higher of the two. It’s linalool that provides the calming sedative effect of these oils. I like to blend these two essential oils that work very well together to promote sleep.

But, last week was a different kind of week. I needed to invite an exceptional and precious essential oil named Melissa to complete the concerto. Also known as Lemon Balm, it has a top/middle note to it. A note can be defined as an aroma signature that is also related to the evaporation rate of an essential oil. Melissa’s fragrance is radiantly warm, sweet and lemony.  The aroma lifts out the bottle easily compared to the scent of Rosewood, a middle/base oil with a deeper, reflective and lingering aroma. Distilled from the flowers and leaves of the plant, it’s known to reduce anxiety, calm emotions and thereby is effective against insomnia. It is the more potent of the three oils and provides the “kick” that I know makes this blend work, for me. It’s nights when I can’t wind down from the spin of the day that Melissa brings the now you are going to get it shut-eye! One drop in synergy with Lavender and Rosewood makes a totally different blend. The nose knows. When using Melissa, it is important to respect that it can be a skin irritant in some instances. It should always be used in a carrier when applied to the skin.

I used these three essential oils sparingly in an ounce of organic aloe vera gel, but they could be used in an organic carrier oil like jojoba just as easily. I’ve also combined a 3-2-1 diffusion of Lavender, Rosewood and Melissa for use in the bath or deeply inhaled the combination of the three straight out of a small bottle. When I apply the blend to my skin, usually my upper arms, shoulders, behind the ears, I always clasp my hands together afterwards and deeply breathe in the beautifully soothing fragrance. Sleep, or the Sandman as I use to call it as a child, is only minutes away… 

I hope that the plant world continues to provide these precious essential oil gems. Lavender is fairly plentiful and grows in abundance in France, England or in your garden in a place where you have full sun– it’s that simple. I have some growing in mine. It won’t be like the lavender from elsewhere because conditions vary. It will be all yours to nurture and enjoy.

The tree that brings us Rosewood is found in the tropical rainforests in South America, specifically in Brazil, Columbia, Guyana, Venezuela and a few other countries in that part of the world. It is a threatened species. It’s a special oil that should be used in special instances, and like I use it, sparingly to support my need for restive sleep. Sleep is a necessity! Ho Wood, an essential oil that is similar in therapeutic properties to Rosewood, can be used in its place.

Here is to more sleep this week! It’s comforting to know that if it’s not as planned– you know, stuff happens, that I will have reliably safe and wonderful to use aromatherapy to get me through it!

Aromatically yours.

Choose from a selection of articles about the results of lack of sleep at WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/search/search_results/default.aspx?sourceType=undefined&query=lack+of+sleep&navState=6176

Source: Aniba rosaedora (Rosewood) on the Endangered Species List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/33958/0


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