God giveth his beloved sleep…Sleep is crucial for health, yet many of them, have a tough time drifting off to sleep, or stay asleep until the break of dawn. Thanks to the fast-paced lifestyle that deprive most people of peaceful, undisturbed slumber. Prolonged sleep deprivation, however, causes negative impact on the body. This often leads to a weakened immune system with an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions that affect overall well being. Nevertheless, one of the most effective natural remedies to resolve sleep deprivation is by way of inhaling essential oils that offers positive benefits for sleep.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are extracts of flowers, stems, bark, roots or leaves of a particular plant.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils offer several therapeutic effects for health and they are one of the best natural remedies for sleeplessness or insomnia. They possess high concentrations of volatile oils consisting of tiny chemical constituents such as esters, phenols, terpenes, alcohols, oxides, ketones and aldehydes. These components create a positive impact on the body’s support system and helps enjoy optimal health.
How Do Essential Oils Promote Sleep?
Several scientific studies state that inhaling the aroma of essential oils alleviate and overcome sleeplessness. This occurs primarily because the alcohols and esters combined with other active ingredients present in the oils produce drowsiness and help produce deep sleep. Therefore, these oils make excellent alternatives to prescription medicines for sleep, without suffering from any of the side effects caused by these medicines.
What Essential Oils are good for Sleep?
Some essential oils prove extremely beneficial to banish stress, alleviate insomnia and produce sleep.
1) Lavender Essential Oil
One of the most commonly used essential oils for sleep, lavender oil with its sleep inducing properties, has shown tremendous promise for sleep-related problems. Some of the studies confirmed that administering caffeine, produced hyperactivity in mice. However, with inhalation of lavender scents they reverted to normal activity. Moreover, other studies claimed that a lavender footbath helped relax the nerves enabling better blood circulation throughout the body, a condition that occurs with relaxation. This is because lavender essential oils for most part contain ethers and alcohols that facilitate sleep. Furthermore, although all kinds of lavender have a sedating effect, True Lavender is by far considered the best for this purpose.
2) Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
This is yet another favoured option for relieving sleep related problems. This is also popular with children due to the sweet pleasant scent. Although the exact cause of its sedating abilities is unknown, some claim that it is purely psychological. Nonetheless, Roman chamomile essential oil eliminates stress, anxiety, hysteria, nightmares and produces a soothing effect by relaxing the nerves. You can buy a good quality roman chamomile oil here.
3) Valerian Root Essential Oil
This essential oil has been widely used for centuries considering its sedating and calming effects, to treat insomnia and sleep latency. A relaxant, one of the active ingredients known as valerenic acid that exists in the oil, helps soothe the nerves thus improving sleep duration.
4) Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil
Apart from its culinary purpose, sweet marjoram oil has been used for ages to treat sleep apnea and insomnia. This improves breathing during sleep, therefore is beneficial for people suffering from asthma. In addition, it provides relief from chronic pain, one of the main factors responsible for disturbed or lack of sleep and insomnia. Due to its ability to soothe the nervous system and regulate blood pressure levels, sweet marjoram essential oil proves one of the best options, for sedation and sleep.
5) Clary Sage Essential Oil
This contains potent anti stress properties that help patients with depression and other mental disorders. Compared to lavender and roman chamomile as an anti stressor, clary sage essential proves far more intense and effectual. This produces the same sedative qualities as valerian root, as it exerts similar influences on the GABA receptors.
6) Sandalwood Essential Oil
One of the main constituents in sandalwood essential oil called santalol causes a tremendous impact on the central nervous system producing a drowsy effect and stimulating sleep. In addition, this essential oil moves past the blood barriers to the brain and help stimulate the pineal gland. This in turn helps the release of melatonin, the sleep hormones that helps stay asleep.
7) Orange Essential Oil
Orange is known for imparting and enhancing the feel good factor. This particular oil helps people who are unable to remain asleep through the night. This relaxing effect is due to the unique components, myrcene, limonene and citral that exist in the oil. Known for its anticonvulsant nature, orange essential oil is especially useful for people suffering from problems of depression and anxiety. Since some essential oils have a reputation of minimising the duration of sleep, it is advisable to test them before use.
8) Cedarwood Essential Oil
Inhalation of cedarwood essential oil helps people with sleeping disorders, restless legs syndrome or other similar conditions wherein there is movement of the limbs during the night while sleeping. However, inhaling this oil stimulates the pineal glands and helps release of melatonin, the sleep hormones that inhibit motor activity, soothes the muscles, calms the mind and increase the duration of sleep.
9) Bergamot Essential Oil
The flavonoids in Bergamot oil, acts as a mood booster, muscle/nerve relaxant, reducing nervous tension, stress and anxiety. Therefore, it makes an excellent alternative for over the counter sedatives and tranquilisers. Moreover, they active specific hormones in the body, which impart similar effects, like serotonin and dopamine. Therefore, besides offering a solution for insomnia and depression, bergamot oil also proves effective for problems like hypertension.
10) Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
The medicinal properties of ylang-ylang essential oil have been celebrated for centuries. It imparts a sense of calm and peace, alleviating chronic stress, anxiety, anger, nervous breakdown and depression especially following a personal trauma. Due to these qualities, this oil imparts sleep thus relieving insomnia.
How to Use Essential Oils to Indue Sleep
There are several ways to use essential oils for combating insomnia and help sleep. Here are a few suggestive tips …
Using essential oils in an electric / candle diffuser before retiring to bed helps overcome sleep disorders. Nevertheless, it is imperative not to leave the candle diffuser burning throughout the night.
Another way of using essential oils is by way of adding few drops to a warm bath. Another alternative is to add them in a either a bath oil or bubble bath.
Using a combination of essential oils with any carrier oil as massage oil prior to a bath every night helps drift to a peaceful night’s sleep.
Diluting essential oil with water and spraying some around the bedroom using a spritzer, especially on the bed linen and pillows will help relax after a hard day’s work and sleep.
Essential Oil Recipes to Promote Sleep
- Combine three drops of lavender oil, one drop of clary sage essential oil to a teaspoon of cream or milk. Use this mixture for a warm bath soak to help relax the body and sleep.
- Mix two drops of Roman Chamomile essential to one teaspoon of coconut oil. Use this for a gentle massage by rubbing the oil to the pulse points, back, neck, shoulders and arms. This imparts complete relaxation of the body and helps release the feel good hormones. The sweet fragrance in combination with the gentle relaxed body imparts sleep and increases sleep duration.
- Enjoying a twenty-minute soak by blending fifteen drops of lavender essential oil with a cup of epsom salt or baking soda to a warm bath soothes the muscles and facilitates sleep.
- Mixing two drops of roman chamomile essential oil along with three drops of valerian root, four drops of cedarwood eight drops of lavender and twelve drops of orange oils in a diffuser and inhaling the sweet fragrance sure helps people suffering from sleep disorders. As an alternative use, the same as a massage oil or include in warm bath water along with epsom salt to get rid of insomnia.
- Mix three drops each of clary sage and bergamot essential oils with eight drops roman chamomile essential oil and a couple of drops lavender oil (optional )in a diffuser and inhale the blend half an hour before bedtime to overcome insomnia. Another way to use this oil would be by spraying a couple of drops of this blend onto the pillowcases for a good night’s rest.
- Use essential oils with caution. Do a patch test on the inner arm and observe for twenty-four hours to check for any kind of irritation or sensitivities.
- Avoid ingesting essential oils as this might cause nauseating side effects.
- Nursing mothers, children and pregnant women should exercise caution before using essential oils.
Other Useful Tips for Sleep
- Avoiding caffeine after four in the evening sure helps sleep
- Following a regular sleeping pattern can avert insomnia and sleeplessness
- It is advisable to have an early dinner, especially those suffering from gastrointestinal problems
- Switching off gadgets an hour before retiring to bed proves useful as the blue light from monitors and mobile phones interfere with the production of melatonin, the sleep hormones
- Soaking up in warm water before bedtime too sure helps combat wakefulness