Tag Archives: Aromatherapy

8 Tricks to Make Waking Up Easier

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 “Waking Up” by Vgiie is licensed under CC BY 3.0

I never have considered myself a “morning person.” Most of my adolescence and adulthood involved staying up late (sometimes until the wee hours of the morning), sleeping in whenever I could, and dreading early mornings. I started out in college going to night school, and most of my shifts for work began later in the afternoon. I took pride in considering myself a “night owl.”

During the past year, I started a new job that required me to start my shift at 7am. Needless to say, the transition was challenging! Here are some tricks that have helped me wake up easier, feeling energized and refreshed:

1. Go to Bed Early

This seems like a no-brainer, but there are reasons why going to sleep early can be beneficial to your health. Your body has a natural detoxification process during a 24 hour period. Here is how your body is working to cleanse during the night and early morning:

9pm and 11pm: Lymph nodes and blood vessels.

11pm and 1am: Liver

1am to 3am: Gall bladder

3am to 5am: Lungs

5am-7am: Colon (you should empty your bowel during this time – which means you will need to be awake!)

In order for your body to get the full benefits of natural detoxification, you need to be sleeping in order to spend the maximum amount of energy for cleansing. When our bodies are allowed to care for itself the way nature intended, we feel more energized and positive in the morning.

2. Turn Off Electronics

The National Sleep Foundation reports that electronics are being shown to tamper with our natural circadian rhythm. Our bodies naturally wind down and prepare for sleep when the sun goes down, and we become energized with the sun rising. When we spend a lot of time in the evening staring at lit-up electronics, our bodies confuse it with UV sunlight, and we aren’t able to easily prepare for sleep. Eliminating electronics about an hour before bed can really help us get to sleep faster.

You may wonder – what should you do with an entire hour without electronics?? I enjoy reading. There are so many incredibly-gifted writers. Getting lost in a story also helps me get my mind off whatever anxieties from the day are still floating around. You could also take a relaxing bath, listen to soothing music, talk with a loved one, or cuddle with your dog!

3. Drown Out Sound

I am a VERY light sleeper. Every little creak and noise is likely to wake me. I have found using white noise to be very effective in helping with sleep. Some people leave a fan on, purchase a white noise machine, or download a white noise app on their phones. I use an air purifier and turn it all the way up. A loud murmuring noise can resemble the sounds from being in the womb, and can be very relaxing (ever notice how a baby can sleep through the loudest noise, and tend to like the sound of vacuums, lawn mowers, dryers, etc?). For those of you sensitive to sound – give it a try!

4. Take Some Magnesium

Magnesium deficiencies are one of the most common deficiencies in the U.S. The average American diet contains little to no magnesium. Do you have muscle tightness in your back, neck, or shoulders? Cold hands and feet? Muscle twitches? I do – and if you do too – you are probably deficient in magnesium. Magnesium deficiencies include symptoms such as migraines, muscle cramps, fatigue, asthma, anxiety, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, and several others.

Magnesium plays a role in staying hydrated, energy production, and – most importantly – the deactivation of adrenaline.  This wonder-mineral helps our GABA receptors (calming neurotransmitters) to function properly. Without GABA working efficiently, we tend to feel anxious, experience racing thoughts, and have difficulty sleeping. It essentially helps our brains to shut-off.

The best part about magnesium? It practically works instantly! Take some magnesium before bed, and you will feel the difference – I promise! My favorite magnesium supplement Natural Calm by Natural Vitality drink powder. It supplies magnesium citrate – one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium. You can also take a bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Also try to eat more foods with magnesium such as nuts, collard greens, beans, and sea kelp.

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5. Use Aromatherapy

I strongly believe that our environment plays a large role in how secure, comfortable, and grounded we feel. Colors, textures, scents, sounds, lighting, and the images we surround ourselves with can make us feel energized, calm, confident, etc. Essential oils can greatly affect our moods, including helping us to feel relaxed and at ease. I speak about the dangers of synthetic fragrance here, as well as the health benefits to essential oils. One of my favorite natural oil blends for sleep is Sleep by Essence of Vali. It truly smells incredible, and immediately puts me in a pleasant, easy mood. After using it for several nights, it’s as though I’ve been conditioned to feel sleepy when I use it!

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6. Try a Guided Meditation

Meditation is known for helping with relaxation, quieting the mind, and decrease insomnia. There are several apps you can download that provide a guided meditation. My favorite is iSleep Easy. With this app, a soothing female voice guides you through breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualization exercises while in bed to help you sleep. You can customize the volume of her voice, the background noise (ocean, rain, stream, lake, forest, birds, music), and how long you want the meditation to continue. There is also a brief guided meditation for the “wee hours” in case you wake up in the middle of the night.

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7. Wake Up Gently

The sound of a loud, obnoxious alarm clock is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Being jolted awake by a horrible noise seems to put me in a bad mood first thing in the morning. I have not used a traditional alarm clock for several years. I was thrilled to discover Zen Awake iPhone alarm clock app a couple of years ago. It works to gradually wake you up, as if you were naturally waking up on your own. It plays a series of peaceful chimes, starting about ten minutes before you intend to wake up. The chimes progressively get louder and closer together as the time for you to get up approaches. When you go to turn off the alarm, you are greeted with an inspirational quote for the day, and with one click you can share the quote to your Facebook page. How neat is that?

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8. Quit Caffeine

Ok, so the thought of quitting your morning coffee may seem nearly impossible for you. It was hard for me too – but hear me out. If you are relying on caffeine to give you energy in the morning, you are robbing your body’s natural ability to produce its own energy.

How do you know if you are relying on caffeine too much? Ask yourself: are you drinking caffeine daily (coffee, energy drinks, soda, etc)? Are you nearly late for work in an attempt to get that morning cup of coffee while on the road? Are you overspending in order to get your caffeine fix? Do others not want to be around you in the morning until you’ve had your coffee? Are you feeling tired, cranky, or experience headaches if your caffeine schedule is altered? If the answer to any of these questions are yes, then you may need to consider decreasing your caffeine intake or quitting altogether.

Caffeine, like any addictive substance, alters the brain. When we alter our brain, we are putting our bodies in a state of imbalance. Our bodies will eventually become reliant on coffee to feel awake and energized rather than naturally producing the energy we need to function. Caffeine also dehydrates us, eventually causing us to feel more tired. So swap out that cup of coffee for a glass of water!

Since I have quit caffeine, I have felt much more energized yet calm and focused, without the anxiety-jitters I typically experienced with coffee. Although I miss the taste of coffee, I love my sense of balance even more!


Since I have made these changes, my mornings are much more pleasant. I actually enjoy going to bed earlier and waking up sooner. I simply feel better. Sometimes I miss being a night-owl. However, I still get that quiet, peaceful feeling (as if I’m the only one awake when the world is sleeping) being up early in the morning. I often get to see the sunrise while driving to work. I enjoy longer days at the beach or have more energy for hiking. My days feel longer (in a good way), and I have more time to enjoy the sunshine!

Have you tried any of these strategies? What makes you feel energized in the morning? Please share!

A Healthy Alternative to Synthetic Perfume

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Dandelions Sophie Perfume” by foxandfeathers is licensed under CC BY 2.5

For several years now I have converted from wearing synthetic fragrance to organic perfumes that utilize essential oils. I have always been a lover of all things sweet-smelling, and was an avid wearer of Miss Cherie by Dior for many years. I frequently got compliments on how good I smelled, and my perfume lasted nearly the entire day. However, in an effort to reduce the level of toxins I subject my body to daily, I have come to recognize that traditional perfume is hazardous to my health and wellbeing.

Most common perfumes are made up of “fragrance.” Fragrance is generally created by using a chemical formulation of petroleum, motor oil, or coal tar. These chemicals are comparable to what is used in smoking tobacco, and are considered carcinogenic. It is a serious public health concern for those who wear synthetic perfume as well as others who are subjected to second-hand fragrance. Read more about the health hazards of synthetic fragrance here.

You may be wondering – what will I do without my favorite perfume? Enter the world of essential oils! Not only does the right combination of essential oils smell divine, but many essential oils have healing properties and can cure disease. Essential oils are extracted from plants such as flowers, herbs, bark, etc. through a process called steam distillation. The oils enter your body through inhalation, oral ingestion, or through contact with skin. They work to clean out our cells by bringing oxygen to the cells, thus maximizing our bodies’ natural detoxification. In order to work properly, essential oils need to be of high quality without added fillers.

Essential oils can address physical ailments as well as ease emotional problems. For example, roman chamomile can heal allergies, arthritis, headaches, inflamed skin and PMS as well as reduce anger, depression, loneliness, fear, and stress. Lemongrass can heal acne, athlete’s foot, excessive perspiration, and muscle aches as well as fatigue and mental confusion. Learn more here.

Who would have thought that something that smells so good could do so much? Here are some of my favorite perfumes that utilize pure essential oils:

 

Misaki by Tsi-La: This perfume is unique in that is comes in a spray bottle like most traditional perfumes, utilizing food grade sugar cane alcohol. I find the scent to be light and floral, with notes of warmth – sweet and seductive. The perfume is intended to be unisex, but I find it to be more lady-like. Ingredients include French lavender, red tea, vanilla, bergamot, honey, and other wild flower extracts – think “French countryside.” Although it’s not listed in the ingredients, I swear I can detect cinnamon – It truly smells good enough to eat!

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Aromatic Irritability Treatment by Tata Harper: This is my all-time favorite perfume to wear. It is intended to be an aromatherapy treatment, however I wear it as a perfume. The scent is intended to reduce moods of irritability, and the scent is incredibly intoxicating. I typically get many compliments when I wear this perfume. It has an herbal, complex fragrance with ingredients including chamomile, bergamot, grass, rose, and patchouli. I consider this my confidence-booster! It helps me to feel more grounded and at ease. This perfume comes with a roller-ball application, and the essential oils are combined with carrier oil that is applied directly to pulse points on the skin.

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Nu Green Verrine by Honore Des Pres: This perfume also comes in a traditional spray bottle. The name says is all – it truly smells “green” – as if you are in a springtime meadow after a rainfall. Ingredients include grass, mint, musk, tarragon, and cedar wood. This fragrance is incredibly easy on the nose. It is light and sweet with earthy undertones. It seems like the perfect fragrance for all you earthy, crunchy, yogi ladies!

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Yiska by Tallulah Jane: This perfume comes in a spray bottle, and is intended for men. I absolutely fell in love with this fragrance, and bought it for my husband as a birthday gift. For those of you who love the smell of men’s cologne, this may be the perfect gift for the men you care about – or even for yourself! Who says women can’t rock an arousing, masculine perfume? Ingredients include notes of citrus, floral, tea, woods, and leather – ooh la la!

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There you have it – clean, healthy fragrances that are as complex and beautiful as you!

Have you tried any of these perfumes? What are your favorite organic fragrances?

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