You are not an avid sleeper! Your night’s crawl in with innumerable sheep jumping off the fence with endless counting that makes you better in mathematics and not in sleep? If yes, then you are facing a situation that 60 million of the Americans suffer every year and that is difficulty in sleeping or insomnia.
One in every four American today finds it difficult to hit the bed on the right time and have a quiet sleep of a minimum duration of 8 hours. But what if we say that aromatherapy for sleep can induce blissful sleep to your nights?
Sounds unbelievable, right? But it is true as aromatherapy has become so popular due to its amazing effects for inducing sleep that it has become a 1.07 Billion USD industry in 2016 itself. It adequately defines the impact that aromatherapy can bring to your sleeping patterns.
If you want to know how does aromatherapy work for sleep then, scroll down as we list the benefits, ways, recipe and much more.
What is Aromatherapy and Can it Make you Sleep?
Humans have used aromatherapy for thousands of years. Aromatherapy is an entire healing treatment which uses essential oils and other natural plant extracts to promote sleep, health, and enhance the immune system. Generally, aromatherapy is known as essential oil therapy.
The therapy uses aromatic essential oils to improve the well-being of the mind, body and the spirit. The treatment strengthens both emotional and physical health — the aromatherapy for sleep helps to reduce depressive feelings and stress. The therapy stimulates specific areas of your limbic system that are a part of your brain.
The limbic system plays a significant role in controlling the behaviors, and cognitive abilities and sense of smell. It is this function of the aromatherapy that also promotes sleep by helping you feel relaxed.
Do Researches back the Aromatherapy Process?
Studies(1) have shown that aromatherapy might have some health benefits such as improved sleep, relief from depression and anxiety, and enhanced quality of life. The aromatherapy with lavender oil may help reduce pain for people with kidney stones, improve the quality of life of people with dementia, and reduce pain for people with osteoarthritis of the knee.
While research on the use of essential oils for aromatherapy is limited, the lavender essential oil is a natural sleeping aid. A 2005 study(2) analyzed how lavender essential oil affected 19 young, healthy sleepers. The study investigated normal sleep for a 20-day control period and inhalation aromatherapy with essential oils on towels around the pillows for a 20-day observation period.
The control and observation period got compared. The total sleep time was significantly longer in the observation period than in the control period. The outcomes indicated positive effects of inhalation of aromatherapy on sleeplessness in elderly individuals.
Aromatherapy Oils for Sleep
Below are listed the top 6 Essential oils for insomnia, sleep and snoring-
Citrus bergamot is a cross-breed fruit used to create bergamot essential oil. The studies claim(3) that bergamot can relieve anxiety and tension. Bergamot has large antibacterial properties. The clinical studies have found that bergamot essential oil aromatherapy reduces stress, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Recent studies also claim that bergamot can even change brain wave patterns on electroencephalography and can also reduce chronic pain(4).
2. Yuzu or lemon
Yuzu essential oil can be extracted from the citrus fruit. The scent of Yuzu has an uplifting and refreshing effect on the mind and body. It relieves the pressure and helps to reduce the pulse rate. It is widely used in baths to enhance relaxation and to promote sleep.
The lavender essential oil for sleeping is the most well-researched(5) essential oils in terms of its easing effects. Lavender can even help with better quality of sleep and also with mild insomnia. Lavender oil aromatherapy changes the brain waves to a more relaxed state and calms the nervous system.
Aromatherapy for sleep helps to relieve depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that lavender refreshes brain pathways including the limbic system which gets connected to our memories and responses.
[Read: Lavender Oil for Sleep]
Jasmine is a preferred relaxing fragrance with a sweet smell. Many studies(7) have proven that jasmine essential oil for aromatherapy for sleep has many more calming effects. Research suggests that the pleasant scent of jasmine tea can be calming and promotes deep sleep.
5. Clary sage
People suffering sleeplessness can find relief with Clary Sage essential oil, extracted from the clary sage herb. Aromatherapists often use Clary Sage as an effective essential oil in their treatment as it has extensive health benefits.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology investigated the stress-fighting and antidepressant effects of clary sage essential oil. Clary sage aromatherapy has potential properties including anti-inflammatory effects, antidepressant effects, provides stress relief, and promotes deep sleep for long hours.
6. Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang essential oil is a pleasant floral odor extracted from fresh flowers of the ylang-ylang tree, found in Southeast Asia. A study(9) claims that Ylang ylang is highly effective in reducing hypertension because of its sedative effects.
Not only it can alleviate anxiety and stress, but a little aromatherapy with this oil can also promote deep sleep and will help you fall asleep faster. A study quotes that ylang-ylang aroma soothes the nervous system, lowers pulse rate and hypertension.
[Read: 10 Essential Oils for Sleep]
Different Ways to use Essential Oils for Relaxation and Sleep
Having Aromatic Cotton Ball by the Bedside
Add a drop of lavender essential oil or clary sage essential oil to a cotton ball or tissue. Place the cotton ball near your pillow at night before sleep. Lavender oil is considered a natural sedative and soothes the nervous system. You can also use jasmine essential oil, ylang-ylang essential oil, and chamomile essential oil instead of lavender oil.
Generally, bathing is a marvelous way to relax for everyone around the world. Hot water can increase your blood circulation and can make it hard to fall asleep at nighttime. So, ensure that you avoid taking a bath immediately before bedtime.
Instead, you can take a bath an hour before bed. For more aromatic and moisturizing experience, you can follow this simple way by taking a bath with aromatic essential oils.
Massaging with essential oils significantly contributes to a deep sleep. You can gently massage your feet and legs with a calming massaging essential oil or massaging lotion. Similarly, in aromatherapy baths, massage stimulates your blood circulation and should generally be neglected immediately before bedtime.
[Read: Acupuncture for Insomnia]
DIY Aromatherapy Recipe for Inducing Sleep
Here is a DIY aromatherapy recipe.
How to do?
- Add an essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil
- It is far better to use a bath oil that includes a solubilizer
- Add the oils in a bathtub and mix well to ensure that the blend has mixed well in the bathtub
- Inhale the odor of the essential oils deeply and exhale it
- Be in the tub for 10-15 minutes and finish your aromatherapy bath with essential oil
Which Essential Oils should you avoid Before Sleeping?
There are some sleep-ruining essential oils that you should never use before your bedtime. These essential are used to relieve anxiety and fight fatigue. Essential oils like lemon and ginger have stimulating effects on your mind and body. These essential oils get considered as energizing essential oils that you must swap with alternatives for better sleep.
Here are 4 stimulating essential oils
- Lemon essential oil
- Ginger essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
Tips and Suggestions for Using Aromatherapy for Sleep
Here are some useful tips and suggestions that you should follow before using essential oils for sleep.
- Always ensure that you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the safety information applicable for an essential oil that you expect to use.
- Ensure that you use essential oil in a limit. Using too much essential oil can have a reverse effect on you and can be a more stimulating one.
- Ensure that the essential oil that you use is pressed/diluted from the right plant.
- Always ensure you mix the essential oil with carrier oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil. Direct contact of the essential oils with skin can cause allergy and make the condition even worse.
- Diffusing all night is not recommended, but running a diffuser for a few minutes before you get into bed can be helpful.
- Be aware of the essential oil before using it. Make sure you don’t use a stimulating or energizing essential oil before sleep.
Precautions to Follow while Undertaking Aromatherapy for Sleep
- Before applying, it is necessary to treat essential oils with caution.
- Always make sure that you do a patch test before applying to larger areas of your skin. Do this on the inside of your arm which is usually the right place to do a patch test.
- Essential oils are for external use, and you shouldn’t consume essential oils as they may cause side effects including nausea and stomach effects.
Getting good longer and deep sleep will be an easy one after you read this article. The essential oils discussed above will help you improve your sleeping patterns. Aromatherapy oils for sleep play a pivotal role in taking out all the anxiety and stress by promoting longer sleep duration.
It is easy to perform aromatherapy for sleep as mentioned above. Always keep in mind the tips and suggestions before you use the essential oils for sleep. Always remember to stay relaxed and calm as that is one of the best natural ways you can battle symptoms of sleeplessness and insomnia.