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Lifestyle Blog

This Scentsational

A Caregiver's Dream Team

Updated: May 29, 2023

Are you a caregiver looking for a solution that will actually help your loved one sleep well every night? Are you looking for something that will help with sleep that isn't filled with synthetic ingredients or some kind of pill? If you're navigating a special-needs individual who has a hard time swallowing vitamins and medications, I'm sure you're especially eager for solutions. After years of trial and error, I'm here to share with you what I found that has now worked so well for us - consistently - for over 7 years.



Our Sleep Story

Sleep can often be a difficult issue for children with Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the nervous system. We used to spend hours trying to help our son, Jake, stay still long enough to allow his body to fall asleep - we're not talking spooning, either - we're talking a leg draped over his legs and an arm across his torso to help hold his arms down so he wouldn't find ways to play instead of sleep...I wasn't the big spoon, I was a ladle, and it still wasn't really working. Spending an average of two hours each night to help him get to sleep wasn't working for our sleep. So, I started to look into different options other parents were using to help their kids sleep - sleeping pills, melatonin supplements, using antihistamines as sleep aides, aromatherapy, bedtime routines, bedroom set-ups...we needed a solution that would work really well, but I also didn't want to medicate if I could find something natural that was actually effective.


I went to the Orange County Fair and bought a vial of "lavender essential oil" from a booth advertising different aromatics, both natural and synthetic. I tried it over and over again. During the day when he was clearly sleepy...at night when it was already past his bedtime...it smelled nice, but it wasn't doing anything. I tried various oils from our local health-food market. I tried brand after brand from friends and family members. None of it was working and I didn't understand why.


Then, I happened to meet a new friend at a local mom event who started sharing some reference materials with me (I'm a facts kind of gal - the science speaks to me) about how essential oils work...and about the different grades of essential oils and that, even when they're labeled as "essential oils" or "100% pure," that doesn't mean they are. We were also looking for a solution to some other health stuff going on in our family, so I started digging into more and more research, comparing products, ingredients, farming, practices, brands, and companies. I didn't know what to do and we weren't in a financial spot to spend money on something that didn't actually work. Plus. it was really important to me that I used the best products on Jake and in our home so that I didn't inadvertently negatively impact our health.


I prayed about it (seriously, I didn't want to spend any more money on stuff that would end up in the trash than I already had). And I am not kidding when I say that I had an immediate answer, so I jumped in using the referral link my new friend shared and bought not just one or two oils to try, but a bundle of 11 oils and a diffuser because it was going to be more budget-friendly than getting each item on its own and it gave me more things to try for different purposes around the house and for our health. The diffuser made a lot of sense to use in Jake's room, too.


We started using this new Lavender oil to help Jake go to sleep. I noticed it wasn't taking so long for him to fall asleep; we didn't have to lay in bed with him so long. It seemed to be working, but I kind of brushed it off like it must just be something else or a combination of things. A couple of weeks went by and I wasn't giving it much thought when a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's brought back the over two hours of being in bed with Jake, thinking he was asleep enough to leave the room...only to have him wake up and need us in there again for another hour. We didn't have his Lavender with us! I was so frustrated that I couldn't help Jake and that we weren't getting the sleep we needed, either.


It was that night that I vowed to never be without his oils again.


Now, not only does our son fall asleep quickly every. single. night. but he also stays asleep ALL NIGHT LONG! If you're the parent or caregiver of a special needs child or adult, you know how HUGE a win that is. And we don't use any other sleep aides.



What We Use and Why We Use It

Essential oils can be such an effective and natural remedy to promote restful sleep in children with Angelman Syndrome, individuals with other disabilities, their caregivers and parents, and the whole family. I'm passionate about helping caregivers and typical family members get the support they need for their wellness, too! While we do use some other oils and blends for sleep support from time to time, Cedarwood and Lavender are Jake's favorites - the dynamic duo - that have worked effectively and consistently for Jake for over seven years now.


Cedarwood essential oil is known for its calming and soothing properties. It has a warm and woody aroma that promotes relaxation and peacefulness. Inhaling cedarwood oil can promote the release of serotonin which is a chemical that supports good mood, memory, and feelings of relaxation. Thus, this oil has a positive impact on sleep quality and can help children with Angelman Syndrome fall and stay asleep.


Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile oils and is often used for its calming and soothing properties. It has a sweet floral scent that helps to induce relaxation and reduce stress levels. Lavender oil is also known to have sleep-promoting properties, making it an excellent choice for promoting restful sleep in children with Angelman Syndrome.


While you can find lots of bottles labeled as essential oils all over (and some can even smell good), when looking for your essential oils to actually work it's important to look at quality - from the soil and seeds, through how they weed their crops, how and when they harvest, and the methods of extraction all the way to the sealed bottle you buy. If you're not sure where to start or how to best navigate all the noise out there about different companies, there are resources available that I found super helpful and I am happy to share it all with you so you can also confidently make well-informed decisions as to what's best for you and your family. Simply drop me a message and I'll send you over some helpful resources.


To use cedarwood and lavender essential oils as a sleep-promoting blend for individuals with Angelman Syndrome, use a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil or almond oil) to dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin. This can be a great part of your bedtime routine and the oils can be massaged onto the bottoms of the feet, on the chest, shoulders, or you can use one drop of each (undiluted) in the hair and gently massaged into the scalp.


Our favorite way to use our dreamy combo is in the diffuser: 3 drops each of Cedarwood and Lavender and we set our diffuser to run for several hours (until the water runs out) so that it really helps Jake settle into a deeper, more restful sleep.


Using essential oils for sleep support can be a safe, effective, and natural solution for caregivers to use with their loved ones - and themselves! Addressing the quality of sleep we get can improve our overall quality of life. If you're looking for solutions to your sleep needs, I'm happy to help you.


 

I am not a doctor and these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. I simply share my personal experiences, what I use, and what I love. Nothing I share is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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