Stressed Out Insomniac

Chief concern

The client C.A. is seeking help for insomnia issues such as staying asleep. Due to not getting a good night’s sleep she reported feeling exhausted and has low energy.

History of present concern

C.A. said she noticed her sleep issues started about a week ago, after having a team meeting with co-workers that did not go so well. She said “stress makes it worse, diffusing lavender essential oil at night has made it better, but she still wakes up at night. I have tried to clear the air with co-workers but realized some of the issues are out of my control”.

Assessment and impressions

The client has bags under her eyes, yawns a lot and looks tired. She states she is not pregnant, no allergies that she knows of, and has epilepsy and narcolepsy (she currently is not taking any medications for these, natural or pharmaceutical). She states that she drinks espresso throughout the day to naturally help with narcolepsy. She is 33 years old, “normal” weight, skin looks healthy.

Support plan

We talked about not intaking caffeine after 1pm to help with the stimulation the caffeine has, which has potential to add to difficulty staying asleep.

I came up with a blend that she can diffuse 30 minutes before laying down for bed to help with relaxation. I recommended she add up to 5 drops in the diffuser. I also recommended she not use this blend for more than a month.

I chose to use the essential oils Chamomile Roman C. nobile (contains 85% esters which have sedative effects (Petersen, 2016, p.83)), Lavender L. angustifolia (contains about 42% esters which have sedative effects (P. 214)) and Rose R. damascena (made up of 69.7% terpene alcohols which are antiseptic, antiviral, antiseptic and bactericidal (p. 294)).

We talked about the cautions of the blend as follows, Rose R. damascena has GRAS status but should be avoided during pregnancy (p. 297), Lavender L. angustifolia has GRAS status (p. 218) and Chamomile Roman C. nobile has GRAS status and should be avoided during pregnancy (p. 86).

We talked about breathing techniques she can use when she becomes stress out at work. On her breaks, she can practice zazen which calms the mind and body and focuses on breaths.

I advised her to seek medical advice if sleep problems last for more than a month.

Outcome

I checked in with C.A. at the end of the week and she stated that she still wakes up during the night, but noticed the number of times is decreasing.

She also talked about using the breathing techniques and said “I am realizing there are things out of my control and when I engage in the breathing techniques you recommended I notice my body becomes more relaxed.”

She also talked about how she doesn’t have espresso after lunch and has noticed she is more tired throughout the rest of the day. We then talked about stimulating activities that could replace coffee breaks, like walks during breaks, eating an orange, chewing peppermint leaves, and stretches.

She still looks tired but she seems to be in happier spirits and less stressed out.

 

Reference:

Petersen, D. (2016, March). Aroma 101 Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland, Oregon: American College of Healthcare Sciences.