Sometimes sleep just won’t come. Insomnia is a problem for one in three people in the US, according to the CDC, and five percent of people use prescription medication to combat this tossing and turning. You know those nights, we’ve all had them. Whether you’re laying awake thinking of the test you have the next day, a job interview or money problems...so many things weighing on your mind and no matter what you do you just cannot fall asleep. You toss, you turn, you count sheep, maybe pick up your phone to search the internet or turn on the TV just to zone out. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing that you can do to force yourself to sleep. No matter how tired you are, sleep will not come. Next thing you know the sun is streaming through your bedroom windows and you feel as though you haven’t even had an hour of sleep. Oh and to make the torture worse, the day must still go on. You still have to go to school or work...your daily routines don’t stop and to add to the misery you have to at least attempt to not look like you’re the walking dead.
There isn’t one cause for insomnia thus prevention is complex. The best recommendation is cognitive behavioral therapy which is a more long term, holistic approach to changing the beliefs and attitudes that trigger sleepless nights. Essential oils like lavender and Cannabis have long been recommended for aiding in a good night’s sleep. Research has suggested that the chemical composition in these complex oils stimulate different wave patterns, like theta brain waves, that can actually lead to deep sleep.
Just looking at fields of lavender gives me a relaxing feeling almost as much as the plant itself. Lavender is a common flower with relaxing properties, many suggest placing lavender in your pillow to help with sleepless nights. The major terpene associated with this plant and its essential oil is Linalool, which can make up to 50% of the oil’s composition. Other common terpenes associated with this oil are myrcene and caryophyllene. In Cannabis, Linalool is associated with a floral aroma and a relaxing, indica feeling. The strain Grand Daddy Purple and Jet Fuel Cannabis derived terpenes are well known for their high linalool content.
Linalool is a terpene alcohol with two enantiomers, meaning that the same chemical structure can be represented as mirror images, much like your left and right hands. Each structural form interacts differently with the human olfactory sense and can have more sweet, floral notes or a woody citrusy scent. As with wine, the nuances in flavors and aroma are complex and depend on the whole composition of chemicals within the plant and how they interact with the equally complex human genetics.
Now for a comedic break for those parents who could sleep if they didn’t have some crazy freakin kid keeping them up…Go The F@ck To Sleep read by Samuel L. Jackson.