Hypnos the Greek God of sleep, was adored and respected all throughout ancient Greece for they believed that the sacred act of sleep was considered as a journey to the spiritual world and worked as a rejuvenating balm for the body, mind and soul. Hypnos had an iconography of a God with wings which allowed him to fly at night also being known to merge with Eros the God of love, these Gods were known to have a similar effect on humans. Love being very powerful and together with the power of sleep the qualities of them both was considered all conquering as they’d make you melt and loose self-control, and if either of these Gods paid a visit to you then there was no higher power on earth that could help you in resisting them.
Sleep being the key to accessing the spiritual world, it was a realm that could help refresh and restart all over again, as depicted in many Greek literatures how sleep had very religious overtones. In Christianity, there are theological debates whether the Gods sleep or not. However, the Greek Gods don’t have any sleeping disorders, unless something or someone is causing them to be perturbed mentally, then even the Gods suffered from insomnia.
The impertinence of Insomnia
The most common sleep disorder that affect more people than one can imagine is insomnia, which is the difficulty to fall asleep or staying asleep even though the body is willing. The ability not to do so leads to fatigue, low concentration, mood swings which reflects our lifestyle with zero performance in almost all areas of our lives. Primary Insomnia affects the person directly which is not associated with any other health condition, medication or substance use, unlike Secondary insomnia.
The three categories of which insomnia are classified are, Transient, Acute and chronic.
Transient Insomnia: Majorly caused by another disorder such as change of sleep environment, irregular sleep timings, depression or stress.
Acute Insomnia: Also known as short term or stress related insomnia, occurs when a person is unable to consistently fall asleep, this usually lasts for a period of less than a month. However, the sleeping regime being so erratic in these cases, the sleep which is poorly obtained is of very poor quality and not refreshing leaving the body and mind weak lethargic and completely at unease.
Chronic Insomnia: The worst of its kind, last longer than a month, which is related to clinical disorders and certain medications apart from the obvious causes such as high levels of stress hormones or shifts in cytokines. Cytokines being molecules that mediate and regulate immunity, inflammation and hematopoiesis (the process of creating new blood cells in the body) evidence shows that cytokines are involved physiological sleep regulation and other sleep regulatory substances. The side effects vary according to its underlining cause, such as hallucinations, mental fatigue and even double vision.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that around 30% of the general population is affected by some form of Insomnia. However, in 2002 The National Sleep Foundation poll revealed that 63% of women experienced symptoms of insomnia more frequent than the 54% of the men. By 2005 the NSF reported that more than half of the world was affected by symptoms of insomnia regardless of its categories. Benzodiazepines the most commonly prescribed sedative are potentially are addictive and can cause memory and concentration disorders and are usually never used for a long-term course of treatment for insomnia and personally facing these side effects myself, I would never recommend them.
Rekindling your love for sleep
According to Ayurveda imbalances of Doshas leads to poor nourishment of brain cells causing insomnia. Deciding upon the more obvious course of treatment such as maintaining a healthy diet, lifestyle, hygiene and even a strict de-stressing schedule does help, but what if you’re one of those that fall into the crazy odds such as myself where none of it worked. What then?
The hyperactive brain being the naughtiest reason to why our minds can’t find anything to soothe its anxiety is what I found to be the root cause for my insomnia. I can’t seem to stop thinking, even when I’m not thinking I ponder as to why. All the years I have spent understanding the true essence of Buddhas law of detachment, wherein I quote him, “Attachment is suffering”. Yes, we attach ourselves to emotions feelings worries and memories. Anything that no longer serves us that we emotionally cling onto causes us to suffer.
In my case, a completely unrest mind. When we talk about achieving inner peace the first cardinal rule in calming the senses is complete relaxation of the body mind and soul. I had learned to meditate, detach, exhilarate the senses by strengthening my own ability to control all negative emotions that would control my every tiny moment of serenity. Following a sincere routine of meditation does help, but in my case, recovering from spinal surgery didn’t work in my favour. I couldn’t meditate, concentrate or even try to see the positives of all I have learned while on my path.
So, how did I find my solace in my solitude which was constantly overpowered by my somewhat inconsequential thoughts and anxieties? Diversion.
Diversion, diverting the senses from what impediments it’s peace was the answer. Amongst the five senses, the sense of smell being the most powerful, as it has the ability to articulately evoke memories, positive thoughts, emotions and even allows the mind to detach from the dimension it currently inhabits. Smell, being linked to memories is also extremely emotive. Fragrances that we individually chose to love have a very intense impact on our emotions and feelings, from power, desire, love and relaxation.
According to The National Geographic news, a research study done by the University Hospital Mannheim in Germany, proves certain smells influence emotions in your dreams, so sweeter the smell, sweeter the dreams.
Goodnight, the sweet essence of sleep
It was definitely an honour being the guinea pig for this most interesting experiment, that was truly to understand for the first time how effective can a precision perfect blend of particular essential oils can help work miracles in tackling a very frustrating ailment. Been suffering from Insomnia for months now, which was majorly brought on by stress due to an illness I was suffering with for four years. I tried to lead a very healthy lifestyle, eat right, exercise enough and of course think positive thoughts. However, once night would come, owls would shy away in embarrassment at my incredibly disastrous ability to stay up wide eyed all night and loose myself in absolutely ridiculous thoughts till sunrise. Yes! it was that bad, until I discovered the mystical excellence of Aromatherapy. So, how exactly did this sleep elixir work?
The miracle blend of these five essential oils, truly works its magic in unison.
Lavender, known to help in calming nerves is extremely effective in alleviating anxiety and sleeping disorders.
Vetiver, most popularly used in Aromatherapy in alleviating emotional stress, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and insomnia. Further studies have also proved that Vetiver is similar to Diazepam (benzodiazepine) which is prescribed to treat anxiety apart from other medical conditions. The earthy fragrance of Vetiver activates the senses and surges into a state of calmness and tranquillity.
Frankincense, this essential oil is believed to have the power to transmit messages to the limbic system of the brains, which influences the nervous system. Inhaled this truly remarkable herb reduces heart rate and blood pressure, which is useful in lowering depression, levels of stress and anxiety. The natural grounding fragrance helps opening breathing passages allowing your body to reach the perfect sleeping temperature, to achieve serene peaceful slumber while healing any pain that might keep you awake.
Ylang Ylang, known to work with cardiovascular, endocrine and hormonal systems, also helps in maintaining an emotional and spiritual balance. Most commonly used in alternative medical treatments for Insomnia as well as hypertension and depressions this oil calms the nervous system and lowers the heartbeat and respiration rate making is brilliant for those suffering from high blood pressure. The unique fragrance of this herb has an ability to assist us in connecting with own sense of inner peace, which helps people tremendously to subtly flow into a peaceful slumber. Popularly used in meditation and holistic healing practices, Ylang-Ylang is loved for the powerful affect is has in conquering the stressful and emotional mind.
Wild Orange, the citrusy fragrance of this very energising oil works brilliantly to elate the troubled mind and elevates physical energy. Used a lot in spiritual cleansing therapies in mediation, the citrus aroma has the ability to open the mind and activate the heart chakra allowing a very positive flow of goodness to surround them, with its stimulating and purifying qualities is extremely effective as an antidepressant, lowering anxiety and even an aphrodisiac. Widely recommended to be blended with Frankincense and lavender for a perfects night’s sleep.
Goodnight, a myriad of brilliance in its perfect blend, is what I first experienced when I dabbed it on my pillow. My mind surrendered to its enchanting aroma, that very subtly captured my every turmoil laden thought and eased it away. Unknowingly, subconsciously leading me to a fantasy world of surreal and serene imagery that perhaps I did concoct with my own inner desires, or perhaps there were already there and I just didn’t know how to connect with them at the right moment.
A sense of calmness, happiness and yes, intoxication began to stealthily manoeuvre its way into my senses, diverting my mind from all that troubled it. Holding onto our every little burden, exploits our inner sanctum. We all struggle to learn to let go, especially to our worries. What I realised is that, we all have our own conjured up happy place in our fantasy world that is our private retreat during stressful hours, which is ignited by, either music, meditation, therapeutic massages and in my case with Aromatherapy.
The Greeks were right, sleep is a journey to a beautiful spiritual world that works as a rejuvenating balm for the body, mind and soul, all we need to realise is how to find a way to get there at any given time, even if it’s with a gentle nudge in that direction, and in my case, I found it in a bottle labelled, Goodnight.
Happy Healing Ya’ll!!!