Friday, November 18, 2011

Finally Friday – Make Some Sleep Sachets

photo courtesy of off2riorob/wikimedia commons

Another week is done. What challenges and stresses did you face in the past five days? Are you looking forward to the next couple of days or are they as overscheduled as the week you just survived? Do you worry about getting to sleep tonight? Have you had problems sleeping before? If you are restless at bedtime or just can’t get the restorative sleep you need, consider making some sleep sachets.

If you grow lavender, you have a fresh, organic source for a natural sleep aid. If you don’t grow lavender, you can get it from growers like River Oak Lavender and  Local Harvest. The scent of lavender’s essential oil increases slow-wave sleep, the deep sleep that slows the heartbeat and muscles, helping the brain organize memory.

Research shows that lavender also relieves anxiety, depression and fatigue, and has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral properties. Freshly cut or chopped lavender flowers and leaves release the plant’s essential oils. Lavender essential oil contains camphor, eucalyptol (also known as cineole) and pinenes. It has sedative and antidepressant properties that act on the brain when inhaled, its molecules absorbed by nasal mucus and scent receptors and affecting the olfactory area of the brain and acting on the limbic and endocrine systems that control memory and emotion. 

With basic sewing skills, a few simple supplies and fresh lavender, you can make lavender sleep sachets to help you sleep better naturally, calm you down and help you think clearly.

Fresh lavender
Organic cotton, muslin or cheesecloth
Needle and thread
Silk ribbon
Dry rice or buckwheat hulls

Make sure the fresh lavender is not wet, damp or moldy before using it. Cut it into small one-inch pieces.

Cut the cloth into 15-inch by 5-inch sections. To make a sachet, fold a section of cloth in half on the long side, fold down 1 inch of each open edge, and sew the 6 ½ inch sides, leaving the open 5-inch side unsewn.  You will have a little cloth bag. Turn it inside out so the stitches are on the inside.

Fill the bag half way with lavender pieces and rice or buckwheat hulls.

Use a long length of ribbon to tie the bag closed.

Place the sleep sachet inside your pillowcase before you go to sleep.  

You can use sprigs of fresh lavender without making sachets. Slightly crush leaves and flowers before putting a sprig in your pillowcase before sleep.

Make a lavender spray to spritz sheets and pillowcases before sleep by adding chopped fresh lavender to boiling water and steeping it for 15 minutes. Strain the plant material and put the lavender water into a spray bottle.

Use lavender essential oil in a diffuser in your bedroom a few minutes before sleep to scent the area.

Did you know fresh lavender repels stinging insects and animals such as bees, ants and scorpions? A traditional use for lavender was as a strewing herb, strewn in corners and on windowsills, to rid homes of pests.

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