It can be difficult to get restful sleep with chronic illness, and many of us spend far too long counting metaphorical sheep waiting to drift off. So when I received an email from the team at Alexandra Kay asking for me to review their new diffusor, I knew I had to choose the Time to Sleep oils.
I actually gifted this to my mum (isn't she lucky!) as she has been having a tough time with her health lately, and her sleep has been affected. We called it an early Christmas gift, and she said she felt very spoilt in the best possible way.
So let's talk about chronic illness and sleep, and the benefits that lavender essential oil can bring . . .
This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own and not affected by monetary compensation.
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Sleep and chronic illness
With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us find we are doing some extra tasks in preparation for the festivities. Extra cooking, shopping to find the perfect gift for a loved one and seeing friends and family a little more too. All of this can be lovely, but also rather tiring for those of us with chronic illness conditions.
Many conditions impact our ability to sleep well. Take fibromyalgia for example, a condition that has extreme tiredness (fatigue) and difficulty sleeping as some of its many symptoms (NHS; Sleep Foundation). Over 75% of people with fibromyalgia report disturbed and nonrestorative sleep (Anderson et al.). Pain and sleep are known to have a reciprocal relationship - chronic pain makes it difficult to sleep, and poor sleep impacts upon pain (see Anderson et al.)
With such difficult sleeping, for fibromyalgia and other chronic illness conditions, I think we need all the help we can get when it comes to trying to relax and find some calm! Having some lifestyle options to use alongside medical ones, if required, is a nice way to help improve our relaxation as best we can.
Lavender for sleep
I was very intrigued to learn more about lavender and its relationship to sleep. It is one of the oils in the 'Time to Sleep' essential oil blend from Green People as part of their Alexandra Kay wellbeing range, alongside bergamot and frankincense.
Lavender is famous for its calming effects, and my grandmother used to swear by a few drops on a handkerchief to help her sleep. This summer I went to some lavender fields and just walking around the beautiful bright purple bushes in the English countryside felt so restful.
I am definitely one to have a google, so I did some reading on lavender and sleep. While research is rather limited at present, the Healthline page has some fascinating insights on both smaller studies and self-reported benefits of lavender.
One small study showed that:
Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow‐wave sleep (SWS) in men and women. All subjects reported higher vigor the morning after lavender exposureGoel et al. The Journal of Biological and Medical Rhythm Research (2005)
I think we could all do with some higher vigor in our lives! Such a fascinating area of research, and I am intrigued to see future studies on the matter.
Time to sleep oils and diffusor
The lovely aspect of lavender to help promote sleep is its accessibility*. Essential oils for sleep can be used in so many different ways to help you relax. You can dab a few drops on a handkerchief as my grandmother used to do, add some to a bath or maybe get a loved one to give you a massage with some diluted in a carrier oil!
A fun way to promote relaxation with these oils is to use the mini handheld diffuser by Alexandra Kay. It's very easy to use, comes with a USB cable to recharge and designed to be portable for use on-the-go when you need a moment of calm.
Or perhaps you would prefer to use it at home to relax. It can be set on a bedside table in the bedroom to fill your space with the calming scent of lavender, bergamot and frankincense. What a lovely way to unwind, perhaps while reading a favourite book and snuggled up with your cat (or dog!) in the evening.
A lovely (and helpful!) holiday gift
Essential oils make a lovely gift and a bit of a change from the usual socks (does anyone not give their dad socks?!) or chocolates given during the holidays.
And if you have a loved one who is able to use essential oils and has sleep problems or finds it difficult to relax, then I think this Time to Sleep essential oil blend would be a thoughtful and very helpful gift.
Supporting EDS UK
I really admire the support that the Alexandra Kay company gives to Ehlers-Danlos UK (EDS UK). This year they are donating 10% of their net profits of the handheld diffusor to the charity.
Such donations are so incredibly helpful to charities who work to further research and support patients with medical conditions. I have personally attended workshops by EDS UK and accessed their website dozens of times to further my knowledge on EDS as I live with Type 3 - Hypermobile EDS.
Access to the EDS UK website is free for patients, and a vital source of information for many of us. It helps us better understand our conditions, and to be able to prepare for consultations with our doctors. Of course, such resources require funding, and so donations such as those by Alexandra Kay are so vital and so appreciated by so many of us.
I am very happy to be able to gift my mum the Time to Sleep oils and the diffusor. After a stressful year, she, alongside all of us I think, need a way to relax and unwind. I think this is a lovely way to find some calm!
With the holidays around the corner I definitely recommend making a cup of tea, cosying up on the couch and having a browse through both the Alexandra Kay and Green People products. There are so many lovely products to pamper yourself (and others!) and to use for wellbeing.
And don't forget to use the discount!
Happy holidays everyone and hope it is a relaxing one for you and your loved ones 🙂
*Always speak with a doctor before trying essential oils as they can have adverse effects for persons with certain medical conditions. This review is for informational purposes only, and I am not a doctor.