With all the life changes and happenings around the homestead as of late, especially now that our lease is almost up, I’ve struggled for the first time, although mildly, with something new – insomnia.
Typically, on any given day, I’m one of those people who falls asleep as quickly as I can lay down. Sorry honey – no cuddling tonight. Just me. My pillow. And 8 1/2 uninterrupted hours of pure, sleepy bliss.
Thankfully, both the kiddos sleep through the night from 7 pm to 7 am, so acquiring this all-too-important sleep isn’t too hard.
But then life happens.
And the past few weeks, as I’ve laid down to bed, I find myself staring at the ceiling…
…elbowing a snoring husband…
And I didn’t know what to do! I hated that panic feeling I’d get bubbling in my stomach as I slowly glanced at the clock and counted down the hours I had left. And yet still, I couldn’t quiet the static in my head that kept me awake.
I began to research comforting herbs and essential oils that might contribute to an easier time falling asleep, and low-and-behold, I’ve conjured up a delicious and calming sleep tonic to do just that.
And no. There isn’t any alcohol in it. Hardy har har.
On a side note, for some reason, this tonic makes me get A LOT of milk. I mean, I’m a pretty hefty producer anyway (tmi?), but when I drink this tonic (which I have been doing every day for the past few weeks), I find I wake up with a plethora of milk. More than normal. For whatever that’s worth.
Before the recipe however, I want to share with you a few other things I’ve been conscience to do before bed, which has also been helping greatly:
1. Take a shower. Normally, I’m a morning shower person, opting to just rinse my face and hands at night. But since I have begun taking showers after the kids go to bed at night, I find that I sleep A TON better. Something about clean feet rubbing the sheets. I also use this delicious lavender-scented castile soap, which has calming properties. (And yes, I’m still NO-POOing for those interested).
2. Dab on a bit of lavender oil. I use lavender oil for everything. Known for it’s relaxing properties, I’ve found a bit of lavender oil rubbed onto my wrists and chest helps me to do just that.
3. Download a natural-light software for your computer, free – like this one. Because I do so much work on the blog and cookbook at night after the kids go down, I can tend to find myself a little wired after stepping away. This program switches from blue light to warm light at sunset (naturally timing it with your computer’s clock), and therefore, allows melatonin production to begin. I love it.
4. Read. I can tend to overdo the computer work at night because that’s quite honestly some of the only “free” time I have during the day, besides nap time. But because it is work, it also can keep me from relaxing in the way I need to before hitting the hay. Since I’ve been allowing myself time to read, I’ve noticed a significant difference in my state of mind before trying to fall asleep.
5. Pray. Taking time to leave my worries and cares at the feet of Jesus allows me to not only have sweet fellowship with Him, but also to not carry those worries and cares with me to bed.
6. Drink the sleep tonic. (I can hear you now, shouting “JUST GIVE ME THE DANGED RECIPE ALREADY!”). Fine. I will.
Cinnamon Sleep Tonic
Please note, I’ve included links to buy these herbs online from one of the premier super supplier of potent herbs and spices. Naturally, with the simple nature of this tonic, the freshness and quality of the spices really matters. Find the best you can.
You will need:
– 3 cinnamon sticks
– 1 tablespoon all-spice berries
– 1 tablespoon cloves
– 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns (optional)
– 15 bay leaves
– 2″ piece of fresh ginger, cut into large pieces
– 10 cups filtered water
Step One: Combine all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow them to steep for 2-3 hours.
Step Two: Drink. Either plain or with a dollop of fresh cream, coconut oil, butter, or honey.
As I drink from the pan, I add extra water back in, so as to use the same spices for 2-3 pots of water. They still have plenty of potency and I figure I might as well get the most use of them as I can!
This also works well in the crockpot (which is primarily how I make the tonic). It’s easy to leave on “Keep Warm” and just dip your cup in throughout the day.
I’ve been trying to drink 2-3 mugs full before bed. And luckily, since I’m not longer pregnant and my bladder is now more well-behaved than it was during that period, I can usually make it through the night without a bathroom-break.
Sorry. You probably didn’t need to know that.
I don’t know if it’s just the delicious, spiced tonic that helps me sleep…or if there is actually something in the spices themselves. But regardless, it has been very helpful.
It’s sort of a good feeling too – to be mindful of the night and of rest. Mentally and physically winding down after a full day is encouraging to the soul.
And let’s face it, I’m a much better wife, mother, and overall human being when I can acquire that oh-so-precious sleep.
I drink it for society’s sake.
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