23 April 2021

A natural and holistic way to relieve stress and improve sleep

Stress Awareness Month

Continuing with our exploration into stress this April, we asked one of our Complementary Healthcare degree students for her expert advice about the relationship between sleep and stress.

You may remember Joanne Wilkinson from last summer when she launched her own business to offer online support to people who were struggling during lockdown 1.

She’s kindly written a blog for us to give you some natural remedies to help you de-stress and get a better quality of sleep.

Jo says that one of the most serious issues that have come out of the pandemic is the extreme amount of people suffering from stress, mental health, and sleep issues.

During the first lockdown, it is thought that six million people were prescribed antidepressants, so it is imperative that people are doing all they can to support themselves during this difficult time.

One of the best ways to do that is naturally and holistically (meaning whole) by supporting the mind, body, and spirit. Complementary therapies are an amazing way to do this. There are many options to choose from, such as Reiki, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Massage, Qi Gong/Tai Chi, Nutrition Advisors, and Meditation, to name just a few.


Aromatherapy is one of the most easily accessible ways to relax and de-stress. Essential oils can be purchased online or in high street stores, but please check all safety guidelines before use and if you’re under medical supervision, check with your GP. Aromatherapy uses essential oils made from plants, trees or flowers. The oils can be diffused into the atmosphere, used in the bath in a carrier oil, used on the body blended with a carrier oil during a massage, or in a product such as an aromatherapy roller ball on pulse points.

Three of the best essential oils to help aid sleep and relaxation are Lavender, Chamomile and Vetiver. Lavender is a good all-rounder. It is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, fungicide, sedative and relieves pain. Lavender harmonises the nervous system, treats insomnia, migraines, headaches and relieves anxiety. If you use it on pulse points as part of a rollerball blend or pop a couple of drops on your pillow at bedtime, it will help you get a restful night’s sleep.


Massage is one of the best therapies available to ease stress and tension from the body and aid sleep. The best massages for relaxation are Swedish, Aromatherapy and Hot Stones.

The best thing about massage is that there is a therapist for everyone. Whether you need a mobile therapist, you want to visit a spa, clinic, or health centre, or even at your local college, where you can be a model and pay a minimal fee! Massage boosts immunity, improves flow of lymph, improves sleep and alertness, reduces inflammation, and alleviates anxiety, stress, and tension. Massage is used as a therapy to treat people who have gone through traumatic events, it lowers the stress hormone cortisol in the body, and its superpower is to create new connections in the brain that override traumatic memory in the body! The power of touch is so important, especially when people have been so isolated. Many people say that they sleep like a baby the night after a massage.


Reiki is an especially relaxing treatment. Reiki is Japanese for ‘universal life energy!’. Dr Mikao Usui founded the tradition of natural healing in the early 20th century. Reiki creates harmony in the mind, body and spirit. A Reiki treatment involves you laying on a couch or sitting in a chair fully clothed, and the practitioner will usually place hands on you in non-intrusive positions on your body. No massage or manipulation is used, and the whole person is treated rather than a specific area. Reiki can be used alongside other complementary and conventional treatments.

Everyone will have their own experience of Reiki. Some people will not feel anything during the treatment, and others will have sensations or other experiences. Reported benefits are deep relaxation and a very calm sense of well-being on all levels, pain relief and emotional balance. Reiki is good during stressful times, when pregnant, calming for children, and good for animals. There are no known contraindications to Reiki.

Healthy eating

The main way to support yourself to relieve stress, aid sleep, build your immune system and ensure your body is working to its best is through diet! Eating fresh, home-cooked food made from scratch is the best way to eat healthily. Try and cut out or lower the amount of processed food, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and fatty foods during times of stress. Our bodies are made up mainly of water, so it is important to stay hydrated. Being hydrated boosts mood, energy and supports all bodily functions.

The best foods to relieve stress and aid sleep are:

  • Almonds. A great source of the sleep boosting hormone Melatonin, which signals to the body it is time for sleep.
  • A Turkey dinner. Turkey is rich in the amino acid Tryptophan which increases Melatonin production.
  • Chamomile Tea. Chamomile helps to relieve anxiety, is very calming and aids sleep.
  • Drinking tart cherry juice has been scientifically proven to relieve insomnia and promote sleep due to its high melatonin levels.
  • A banana before bed. Bananas are high in Magnesium which is known to relieve stress and Tryptophan, which boosts Melatonin production.

Good sleep practice

Good sleep hygiene and a good bedtime routine are also beneficial. Come off screens at least an hour before bed, have a set time you go to bed each night, use essential oils on your pillow or yourself, have a warm Epsom salt bath before bed, eat dinner at least two hours before you go to bed, avoid alcohol, and read a book in dim light or do some meditation to help you relax.

I’m here to help!

To help support you and your family holistically, I am offering 15% off my aromatherapy rollerballs. I have blends to aid relaxation and sleep, boost concentration during studying or to give a boost of happiness during low periods.

Essential Oils Rollerball

You can contact me by email at joannewilkinson@happilyhealthilyholistic.com, on Facebook and Instagram for any questions or queries you have regarding holistic support that you may need.

Please quote “Happy-ESCG” when ordering to claim your 15% discount off rollerballs.