Dr. Lisa Rankin

A Mind of its own


“There are so many things I did not have time to finish over Thanksgiving break…” That was the closing line of my internal dialogue before I drifted off into what I anticipated would be an uneventful slumber. My subconcious had other plans and decided to ruminate on that thought to the point of waking me up just two hours later with my autonomic nervous system on full sympathetic overdrive. I am wide awake, my heart is racing, my senses are on alert and I am exquisitely aware of every sound and as I make my way into  the bathroom, which seeems overly bright, I can see that my pupils are very dilated.  This would be great if I had been aroused by the cries of a child or home invasion but completely incompatible with falling asleep. Be careful what you wish for or think about as you are drifting off to sleep.

The only hope of returning to sleep in a reasonable amount of time is to try and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the opposite of the Fight of Flight mode in which I awoke. I also need to balance out the high cortisol levels I now have as part of the sympathetic overdrive. In the middle of the night my melatonin should be elvated and my cortisol low but that is not where I am living at 12:30 am. The balance of cortisol to melatonin over our 24 day is key in determining energy levels during the day and ability to settle down and fall asleep and stay aleep during the night.

First thing I grab is my PARA-STIM essential oil blend and take a bath in it and inhale through my nose several times. The nasal mucosa is very thin and vascular and hence has very efficient absorption. I created this blend for my son and others who spend a lot of time in the Fight or Flight mode. This could include children on the spectrum, those going through a very stressful current event or those suffering from the effects of prior troubling events. Although my trigger is nothing more than a wayward thought my body is responding the same. This blend helps support the Parasympathetic nervous system as it balances out the sympathetic response. Next I  grab my SWEET DREAMS blend and do the same. This blend helps support healthy sleep and helps restore proper balance to that delicate system. For good measure I decide to take my sleep blend to bed with me an manage to position it so that I have ongoing aromatic influence.

Within 15 min I can feel my heart rate and sensory system calming down and my body feels relaxed and ready for  sleep. It takes longer for the sleep system to balance itself out but within 30 mins I am drifing off again with intentionally pleasant thoughts.


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