September 6, 2015
Throughout my entire adult life, I have had issues with sleep. I was always exhausted and as tired as I was…. when bedtime rolled around, I was puzzled when I couldn’t fall asleep. Or stay asleep. Soundly. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1995, I was told that THAT was one of the main reasons I couldn’t sleep: My brain was constantly firing away thoughts and processing sounds and noises. So began my introduction to prescription sleep medications. I have been on SO MANY over the last 20 years. Some worked, most made me SO groggy the next day that by the time I was ready for bed in the evening, I was ‘just’ beginning to have the effects of the medication from the previous night, fade away. Only to start all over again. When it was discovered officially a few years back through having a sleep study, that I stop breathing 96x an hour, I became the proud recipient of a C-Pap machine. It’s cumbersome but it works. I sleep better BUT I still need the stinkin’ meds at bedtime. I asked if I could possibly have surgery on the uvula (that attractive long, hangy piece of flesh that hangs in the back of your throat), to shorten it, and I was told I wasn’t a good candidate.)
I would try and go cold turkey and not take my nighttime meds at bedtime, only to toss and turn the entire night and feel like being in a coma the next day. I moved on to other brands of prescription night time drugs and have been on my current one for 19 years. I am at the highest dose and it doesn’t knock me out anymore, so I have had to add one Tylenol PM to the mix. My goal is to get rid of the Tylenol PM and wean off the prescription drug.
Now enter the essential oils hullabaloo that’s been all over the internet for a few years. I know that people have been using plant oils for thousands of years and I had always been interested in reading up on specific oils for uses that would benefit my family and myself.
“Essential oils are the subtle, aromatic and volatile liquids extracted from the flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, bark and roots of herbs, bushes, shrubs and trees through distillation. In the craft of alchemy, the soul of a plant is its oil, while its spirit is the plant’s alcohol or tincture. According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, priests and alchemists were using essential oils thousands of years ago to heal the sick. They are the oldest form of medicine and cosmetic known to man and were considered more valuable than gold to the ancients.”
People I know have been selling the Essential Oils and touting how great they are for this and that and I wondered if they really did work or was it that my friends worked for the company who manufactures these oils, so naturally they will tell you they are great?
It wasn’t until I was in physical therapy last month, when the PT assistant (Craig) was talking to another patient about headaches. This piqued my interest because what Craig was telling the patient, very much interested me: Craig was having migranes that became cluster headaches and the only thing that worked for him was Peppermint Essential Oil. I get migranes once a month (and headaches once a week) and at least every 6 weeks I develop cluster headaches that can last from 2 days – 5 days, NON-STOP. Nothing I try works. NOTHING. I was given a prescription for a heavy duty pill last fall, but I never filled it. I am sick to death of MEDICATIONS. Well, I joined in the conversation and asked Craig exactly what to buy and how to use it. He said he just rubs the peppermint oil directly on his temples and across the forehead but did say that THAT was pretty potent. He suggested that I try a carrier oil and use it that way. Since then, I have been reading, researching, going over reviews and recipes and compiled my list. I knew I also HAD to buy Lavender Oil for sleeping, because I never read one negative comment about it. I placed an order through Amazon on Thursday for Peppermint Oil, Lavender Oil and Fractionated Coconut Oil, along with roller-bottles. My delivery arrived yesterday (Saturday, thank you Amazon Prime) and I took my recipes and whipped up a few bottles.
I am not the only one with sleep issues in the household. Dennis has problems and Jenni has always had issues too. I blame it on her having Down syndrome, everything is much smaller with her sinuses and ear canals. I had been telling Dennis about my plan of ordering the oils and giving them a whirl and he seemed interested. I mixed up a bottle of Lavender Oil and the FCO and had it already to go last night. I made one for my daughter also to take to her house to help my grandson with sleep. Then I made up my MIGRANE batch, the peppermint. After I finished making them, I noticed the start of my headache. I thought, “what the heck?” and rolled some of the peppermint concoction on my temples and across my forehead. Within a half hour the pain subsided, never reaching its usual throbbing.
Come bedtime, I was all ready to try out this ‘hopefully- new- Lavender- way -of -sleeping.’ I followed the instructions I had read, I rubbed the roller bottle across my hands and rubbed it all over Dennis’ and Jenni’s pillows. Then I rolled it on the back of their necks, behind their ears and on the wrists (for good measure). It wasn’t soaking wet, but moist, just enough, in my opinion. When it was my turn, I did the same except the pillow, seeing that I have a full face mask strapped to my face and can’t smell anything, I rubbed a small amount on the inside of my mask to inhale through the nose and mouth. I still took my pills because I NEED SLEEP and wasn’t sure what would happen.
The verdict after one night of the Lavender Oil: It seemed to have worked! I slept SO soundly, I didn’t see the clock once. I went to sleep at 10:30, woke up at 6:00am for a restroom run, went back to sleep until 8am! Jenni woke up and looked refreshed. And Dennis said he slept like a rock, straight through the night. I will definitely be doing this routine at bedtime. I’ll go a few more nights then cut out my Tylenol PM and see what happens.
Next up, I am going to make some roller bottles for congestion and muscle aches. I’ll let you know how those turn out.