We have some tips on sleep hygiene for children, however these are based on what worked for us and some of our fellow parents. Its important to remember that each child is different and what will work for one, may not necessarily work for another, so please bare this in mind as you read through. You know your children best.
Is there a monster under the bed?
Our son was about 3 years old when we were alerted to the fact that there was a monster under the bed. Like many parents that went before us, this was the latest hump in the road for a much-desired smooth transition to bedtime.
This is currently the most asked question we yet through our social channels. And it is no surprise. The past 16 months has had an impact on us all in some way or other. For some of us it has been an acutely stressful time, bringing our anxieties to the fore. Lucky for us essential oils provide a wonderful solution and can help us bring anxiety and stress under control.
How essential oils work
Essential oils are therapeutic plant oils usually extracted through the process of steam distillation or expression. They can be applied to the skin when diluted with a fixed oil (into the blood stream) or used through a variety of inhalation methods to stimulate the bodies limbic system. Essential oils when used correctly can have powerful therapeutic effects.
There are many essential oils that are wonderful for those of us suffering with anxiety. These are our top recommendations: -
A rose is much more than a beautiful flower. Rose damask oil is amongst the most highly prized essential oil and with good reason. It can take up to a quarter of a million rose petals to distil just one 5ml bottle of essential oil.
The therapeutic benefits to those suffering with anxiety are positive. One study conducted in 2009 concluded that dermal application of rose oil had a relaxing effect reducing blood pressure and pulse rate. Subjects reported as feeling more calm and relaxed. In another study of 100 pregnant subjects, the rose essential oil was used in childbirth, anxiety scores in the experiment group were significantly lowered compared with the control group.
Who can resist its mellow citrusy aroma? One of our favourites here at Bramble & Blossom. The essential oil is expressed from the rind of the fruit and is predominantly sourced from Italy.
There have been a few limited studies on bergamot, however in some smaller scale experiments bergamot was shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress by sending signals to the brain to release dopamine and serotonin.
The canga odorata tree is native to southeast Asia and Madagascar. The precious ylang ylang oil is extracted via the flowers of the tree through the process of steam distillation. Farmers must work meticulously when harvesting the flowers to ensure none are bruised before the process starts.
It’s worth noting that there are varying degrees of distillation. At Bramble & Blossom our Ylang Ylang is sourced from the first distillation, as subsequent distillations yield a more diluted oil.
From a therapeutic standpoint Ylang Ylang is said to boost mood and reduce stress levels. A study from 2014 showed that in a group of 34 subjects it boosted self-esteem and reduced anxiety. There is additional anecdotal evidence that it has aphrodisiac properties.
We advise moderate use of this oil as it can overwhelm due to the strength of its aroma and in some cases cause mild headaches. When selecting for use at home, we would encourage you to seek a sustainable source from a reputable supplier.
Grapefruit oil is predominantly sourced from the USA. It is extracted via expression of the peel of the citrus x paradisi fruit (the oil is located in the glands). It has a wonderfully uplifting aroma. Various studies have shown that grapefruit may reduce blood pressure when inhaled. Other studies have indicated that grapefruit oil may stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, lowering stress levels. At Bramble & Blossom we always refer to it as our happy oil.
As always, if you are unsure of which essential oils are right for you, we advise working with a qualified aromatherapist who can guide you. Our article is never intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Remember plant oils are powerful and can interfere with any medication you are on, so always consult with your General Practitioner before you use essential oils.
Karen and the team x
Aromatherapy has gained huge popularity over the years since I first started studying it in 2001. The benefits of essential oils are many and over time I have witnessed clients reap huge benefits from this natural therapy. However, unfortunately with the rise in their popularity unscrupulous companies have advocated the inappropriate use of essential oils and have not been clear with their customers about their potential risks when not used properly.
Firstly, essential oils should never be ingested under any circumstances. Even in small undiluted quantities essential oils can be highly potent. Ingesting them can interfere with medications, they can be highly toxic and result in liver, respiratory issues to name but a few. They can even be potentially life threatening.
Essential Oils should never be used neat directly on the skin. Regular use of undiluted essential oils on the skin can result in irritation, burning, and at worst desensitisation. It is always important to blend your essential oils with a fixed oil before applying to the skin. We love sunflower, jojoba, coconut and for a special skin treat rosehip oil.
Used in the correct way essential oils in your home can have wonderfully powerful and therapeutic benefits. We recommend taking a less is more approach and reading up on the benefits as well as the risks of oils that spark your interest. If you are still in doubt consulting the expertise of a qualified aromatherapist would be our recommendation. An experienced aromatherapist can blend a bespoke solution tailored to your individual needs. And when making essential oil purchases, we recommend selecting from reputable European suppliers. Alternatively choose pre-blended aromatherapy solutions, here at Bramble & Blossom we have thoughtfully blended aromatherapy remedies for you to choose from sleep solutions through to mood-boosting mists there is something for all aromatherapy enthusiasts in our ranges.
If you have any questions on essential oils, we would love to hear from you. Use the contact us form on our home page. In the meantime, we hope you continue to enjoy essential oils safely.
Karen & the team x
Flagging in the hot weather? We know how you feel. We are really appreciating the warmer weather at the moment; it’s been lovely catching up with much loved friends and family in our gardens. However, if you are like us here at Bramble & Blossom, you may have been struggling to keep cool. These are our top two essential oils for keeping cool and super chill in warmer climes.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is wonderfully cooling; it also has a smidge of sweetness. We love blending it with a peppermint hydrosol (flower water) and popping it in the fridge to make it extra cool. Once chilled we mist liberally in our workspace. Some studies even show that peppermint can improve cognitive function and concentration. Definitely one to use when you are feeling pooped in a warm office.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon packs a zesty punch and can have an invigorating effect. It is a wonderful ariel disinfectant and is perfect as an antimicrobial home spray. Like peppermint it is known for improving concentration. Here at Bramble & Blossom we blend both as the main ingredients for our energising mist.
Whilst these are our favourites, we also recommend eucalyptus (blue gum), spearmint and anything from the rutaceae plant family (sweet orange, mandarin, petitgrain etc).
We hope this helps you to stay cool and enjoy all the benefits summer brings the soul!