Sleeplessness or insomnia is another common stress-related complaint that everyone suffers from at some time in life – whether it is before an exam, after an exhilarating experience, or simply due to an inability to switch off after a hard day’s work. Lavender is a traditional remedy for insomnia – this is why lavender pillows and lavender-scented linen were once so popular – the scent alone encourages a restful night’s sleep. An old lavender remedy for ‘they that may not sleep’ runs as follows: seep this herb in water and let him soak his feet to the ankles at bedtime and bind it on the temples, and he shall sleep well by the Grace of God.

For a quick (modern) home treatment, massage a few drops of neat lavender oil into the soles of the feet before retiring. This will quickly be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and act as a natural sedative.

To encourage relaxation or a restful night (also excellent during pregnancy and for children), use the vaporized oil in the bedroom, or put a few drops on the pillow or on pyjamas. Sheets scented with lavender oil also help induce sleep.

Put 8-10 drops of lavender in a warm bath before retiring for the night, and relax for at least 10 minutes in the aromatic vapours.

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A regular professional aromatherapy massage using soothing oils such as lavender is also very beneficial for reducing stress and inducing sleep – often before the session is finished!

Other measures: yoga and meditation; chamomile or lavender herbal tea. For more stubborn cases of insomnia, valarian oil can be used in place of lavender . but do not use it for more than 2 weeks at a stretch, due to its potency.

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