I possess a natural empathy and a desire to help people; whether that is to help ease the pain of chronic tension, to soothe the muscles following over-exertion or simply to relax and take away anxiety. I treat people holistically and as individuals

Amy Phillips - 07800 636266

Dekker Road, Dulwich Village. London. SE21 7DJ

thedulwichtouch@me.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Wellbeing

Insomnia

'A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by 
one after one; the sound of rain, and bees
 murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
 smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky -
I've thought of all by turns, and still I lie 
Sleepless...'
- William Wordsworth, ‘To Sleep’

My journey with insomnia has been a long and winding one and there have been some essential stopping points along the way that I’d like to share. My Mum assures me that my volatile relationship with sleep has been a life-long one, but I was first aware of this thing called Insomnia and its huge part in my life in my early twenties. At the time I was also depressed and it has been very obvious to me how the two conditions were intertwined, and rarely have I experienced one without the other. The anxiety I experienced alongside depression and the inability to sleep became this vicious and all-consuming circle of existence that consumed me, on-and-off for over a decade. In brighter times sleep would return to me and I could function and blossom again until the next dark cloud descended. When I finally began to accept my tendency towards these illnesses and to investigate ways to deal with them I also began to find tools that could help.

The first method I found was what I now understand as a form of Meditation, a Body Scan, which I still use to this day as an excellent way to relax. Here is a simple method:
Body Scan: Lay flat on your back as it is easiest to identify different body parts this way. Start from your left toes, don’t visualise them just feel that they are present and take note of how they feel. If they feel tense then wriggle them a bit and let them relax. Focus your outwards breath into your toes and let any pain or tense feeling drift away and move your attention to your heel.
Move up your leg, stopping to focus on each part and then do the same with your right leg. Next focus on your pelvis, lower back stomach, chest, shoulders, pausing for a moment to acknowledge how it feels and release any tension.
Move down your arms then to your neck and finally your head. Finally once you have finished focus on your body as a whole and let your breath reach every part.
You will probably find that you fall asleep before you get to the end, and if not, the mind should be rested enough for it to happen, just keep focusing on the breath.

The 2nd invaluable tool I have to tell you about is essential oils. There are many essential oils that can help insomniac’s, and they all work in slightly different ways, so it’s a case of trying them until you find what works best for you. Its also worth baring in mind that we can build up immunity to them, so its worth trying a different one every now and then. Here’s a few that I love:

Melissa- (lemon balm) this oil is especially helpful if depression/anxiety are the cause of your sleeplessness.

Neroli: (orange blossom) This is very relaxing and can relieve chronic anxiety, depression, fear, shock and stress and its calming effect can also be beneficial to the digestive tract. This is also a fabulous oil to use during pregnancy.

Jasmine: This is a very calming oil (and my personal favourite!) it is fabulous for depression and especially post-natal depression, it can also help with muscle pain, and stiff limbs, which can also affect our ability to sleep.

Others that are worth trying are: Lavender, chamomile, vetiver, clary sage, Sweet marjoram…the most important thing is that you like the smell, and you may find it worthwhile experimenting with blending a few of the oils in different quantities to get a blend that’s just for you.

The 3rd great find I made, I have covered in a previous post- you may think I have an obsession with them, and you probably wouldn’t be wrong…its Epsom Salts! A hot bath, with the relaxing Magnesium seeping through the skin and I never fail to sleep well.

And last, but certainly not least, its massage…a regular treatment can be beneficial in so many ways, but for those who struggle with sleep, I highly recommend a regular treatment to calm the mind and soothe the body.
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