My love affair with plants started about 3 decades ago...
I was just beginning to use plants for my body care and I created this ultra cool formula in hopes of making my skin oh, so soft. It's important to understand I was in my twenties and very active and energetic. I think it's funny now because I already had young soft skin, nevertheless, I carefully covered my body in this new formula prior to a big event I was photographing... and off I went into the wide, wide world.
Shortly after arriving at my assignment, I started falling asleep and I mean I couldn't control it! Despite that it was the middle of the day and I took my job very seriously... I couldn't even bend down to pick up my camera bag. I couldn't move at all and my eyes unwillingly closed. I was left in the middle of that room, fast asleep in a chair for hours and I couldn't wake up! Thankfully my assistant handled the job and I brushed the event off as a rather odd, unexplained experience. But then, the following week I had another 8 hour assignment and I covered my body in this new 'soft skin' formula (later to be called Island Rain) and set off into the wide world only to fall asleep after shortly after arriving, in the middle of the day AGAIN! Now, this got my attention.
Nothing in my life had changed except for this new skin formula. Did it really make me get this tired? I was not even able to open my eyes, much less stand up! How is it possible for plants to put me to sleep? Regardless, there was no way I was putting that stuff on me again!
You see, I did not know the plants could pass through our skin. I didn't realize they were made of chemicals that would or even could interact with our bodies. Now, it seems so logical to me, and yet, it's so still difficult for most to comprehend. That is because we've been brainwashed through repetitive cultural messages that 'plant medicine' is a worthless and archaic thing of the past, only used by frauds and heathens.
One of the reasons I have so much patience with skeptics is because I started out as one. It took a while for my brain to come to terms with this new concept. So when you ask me if it really works, I understand where you are coming from! However, this was a turning point for me that changed my life and paved the way for the future of Alywillow.
It turns out we already know the power of plants. Most people learn to avoid poison ivy or they will get a rash. Many people are aware that you feel better when you eat healthy vegetables and of course everyone knows coffee is a stimulant. (Once, I added coffee essential oil to my bath water and that was a serious mistake. My heart was pounding so hard in my chest that you could see my body shaking from the pounding. I was having trouble breathing and started worrying about having a heart attack! Thank goodness I'm healthy, or that could have been a fatal mistake.)
If nature creates stimulants, why can't it create sedatives? We know plants are made of chemicals, clearly those chemicals affect our body and even enter our bodies through our skin.
Years after I "put myself to sleep", a friend was on a special assignment in a foreign country and due to the intense stress levels, he was having trouble sleeping. He reached out for help and I sent him a bottle with about 300 drops of this 'soft skin - put you to sleep' formula. At 10 drops a night, this would help prevent a month of sleepless nights. I was expecting him to get some much needed sleep and to feel better, but to my surprise when he called he was highly agitated and yelling,
"What the f*^% did you do to me?!?! I slept for three days! We're in the middle of a war zone! I'm not big, but I am a well-built man. They couldn't move me and they couldn't leave me. My entire unit was in danger!"
He was clearly not happy and I felt like a turtle, pulling my head back into my shell when I asked, "How many drops did you use?"
"Drops?" then, there was an uncomfortable silence, "I used the whole bottle!"
Well, if my eyes have ever bulged out of my head, they must have done so in that moment, because I never imagined anyone would use the entire bottle. Evidently, the directions were lost in the transit, but this is one of those experiences I will never forget and I remain grateful that his whole unit made it out alive.
One of the things I learned over time is that we need safety levels when using plants. This way, you get the benefits they offer without the potential damage of misusing them. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines in the US so years ago I adopted the European Safety Standards. Sometimes I think their standards are too lenient, so Alywillow's Safety Standards are even higher than those.
After I broke my back, I lived on a little island of the coast of NC and despite the hardships of that time, the rain always brought me so much peace and serenity. I finally named the formula, Island Rain and before releasing it to the public, I revised it into a spray mist that's easy to use but difficult to overuse. Now, instead of 10 drops, you use 10 sprays.
Some of my customers talk about how they only use 3 or 4 sprays and they still sleep like babies. Everyone is different. Personally, when I have a lot of mental activity and know sleep will be hard, I use about 8 sprays to sleep through the night.
We just updated the label for Island Rain so it looks better than ever! However, as great as Island Rain is, it has its limits. For instance, hyperactive people tend to calm down and relax better when they use stimulants, not sedative plants. Sometimes you may have severe health problems that prevent sleep and only a doctor can help you in those cases. Always ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Also, there are many harmful habits that sabotage your sleep cycle, but at least these are preventable. Check them out...
- Caffeine normally requires 12 or more hours to exit your body. Try Peppermint or Spearmint tea instead of coffee and sodas. We also offer an Energy Medicinal Inhaler and our Firefly Therapeutic cleansers and moisturizers are great energizers for morning or afternoon.
- Reduce your sweets as sugar creates numerous problems in the body and can disturb sleep cycles. Fruit is a much safer choice for dessert than any foods containing processed sugars.
- Alcohol might cause drowsiness, but this is low quality sleep and can wear off quickly.
- Afternoon napping and inconsistent sleep patterns confuse your body. Even sitting too much may leave you feeling restless at night. Keep moving in the day & be calm at night.
- SOME Medications can cause disturbances in your body leading to sleep problems. Speak to your doctor anytime you have questions.
These are some healthy habits that give you better chances at a good night of sleep.
- Exercise in the morning This gets your blood pumping and releases endorphins which quickly improve your mood. Exercise in the morning, unwind at night!
- Reduce Stress Reach out and talk to friends, listen to calming music, diffuse essential oils, start a gratitude journal, eat whole fresh foods, & use Alywillow’s Stress Relief Inhaler. We also offer products in these formulas designed to help you feel better - Sweet Magic, Butterfly, and Dragonfly.
- Laughing tricks your nervous system into releasing endorphins that improve your mood, so you feel more at ease.
- Mindfulness, meditation, yoga classes and tai chi offer physical and mental exercises that can help reduce stress.
- Keep moving Don’t be sedentary, your body has energy that you need to use up. Keep moving as much as possible all day.
Now, let's talk about a good bedtime routine.
If I had a baby or toddler in my home, I would develop a routine to help their body learn to sleep at the right time (such as take a bath, read a book, turn off the lights, & sing a song). As adults we sometimes forget that our body sometimes needs to be guided to go to sleep. The following ideas are things you can do to develop a Calming Bedtime Routine:
- Stop eating 2-3 hours before bed. Your body needs to rest instead of digesting food all night.
- Use low lights and reduce electronic devices for 1-3hrs before bed as those lights can stimulate your brain and activate the rods in your eyes.
- Your bedroom is a sanctuary to rest and recover, not to be bombarded with the world. Remove the TV and cell phones and make it an electrical-free zone.
- Settle your children or pets for the night away from your sleeping area.
- Use Island Rain 10-60 minutes before bedtime as our bodies respond differently.
- Drink a sleepy herbal tea (mullein or lemon verbena) or a warm glass of milk before bed (and don’t add sweeteners).
- Sensitive to electromagnetic fields? Turn off your WIFI
- Consider the energy flow of your bedroom and don’t allow windows, doorways and mirrors to intersect across your bed as these energy pathways are known to disturb sleep.
- Plan for tomorrow so you can sleep well tonight. If you're a list maker, write it down.
- Add a notebook and pen by your bed just in case you wake with an idea. Then you can write it down and go back to sleep.
- Add essential oils with sedative properties to your diffuser such as marjoram, lavender, frankincense, vetiver. If you snore, try eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary, clary sage or basil.
- Soak in a warm bath. Add a few sprays of your Alywillow moisturizers to your bathwater for extra soft skin.
- Massage helps relax your body. Try our massage moisturizers (Level 4) in Lavender Fields, Seawillow, Sweet Magic, or Dragonfly). If you are in pain, use the Minty Relief formula instead.
- Relax your muscles by tightening them, hold for a few seconds and then release. You can also use Sagerow, Lavender Fields and Minty Relief formulas to relax your muscles.
- Be consistent. It’s best to go to bed at the same time every night. This means you get into bed, close your eyes, and give yourself a chance to sleep.
- If you have a habit of waking in the middle of the night, develop a routine to help you go back to sleep.
- Read a book or try praying & meditating. Many people say these practices easily put them to sleep. ;-)
- Clean Sheets covered in Island Rain are sure to relax you.
Our goal is to help you!
Alywillow offers over 150 products that only contain plants, meaning EVERY ingredient including the colors, scents, and preservatives are plants. Many of these plants are medicinal, therapeutic, or considered superfoods, giving you bio-ready nutrient rich uploads with a myriad of benefits every time you wash, moisturize, or spritz. That gives you a healthier body and life.