Are you tossing and turning at night? Do you have a hard time relaxing and calming yourself when it’s time for bed? Have you heard about or considered using aromatherapy for sleep?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using certain fragrances and essential oils that are reputed to have some type of therapeutic effect, and it has been used as both a primary treatment and a secondary auxiliary therapy.
One of the benefits of aromatherapy for sleep that has been extensively studied, is the effectiveness of this type of therapy in improving the quality and duration of one’s sleep, particularly in patients who suffer from hyper-anxiety disorders or insomnia.
It has been widely concluded, even by those who are sceptical of alternative treatments, that regardless of whether or not using aromatherapy for sleep proves effective, it certainly does no harm. Maybe the recorded benefits are due to a real chemical change in the body after using the products, or maybe it is just a placebo effect – either way it seems that aromatherapy can indeed help some people to sleep better.
Consider the following evidence concerning the use of aromatherapy for sleep:
A 2015 study in Turkey involved using lavender essential oil via inhalation on 60 intensive care patients. The study was prompted because the patients in the ICU were having really terrible sleep issues, and the researchers wanted to try whatever they could to alleviate the insomnia for these patients and ICU patients everywhere.
The clinical findings (based on the patients’ responses to two separate standardised tests that determined sleep quality) that the 2% lavender essential oil solution delivered via inhalation absolutely had a positive, measurable, and marked effect on these patients’ ability to rest adequately, and furthermore, many of these patients were experiencing simultaneous cardiac issues which the anxiolytic effect of the lavender oil seemed to lessen as well.
By relieving some of the anxiety and stress from which these patients were suffering, the lavender oil improved their ability to rest and their health conditions in general.
Although aromatherapy would not be recommended as the primary treatment for severe, chronic, medical sleep disorders, it most certainly should be considered as an adjunct or auxiliary treatment, and if no serious sleep disorder exists, then aromatherapy likely will be adequate in terms of alleviating mild cases of stress-induced insomnia.
There are a variety of ways via which essential oils can be delivered, and all are reputed to have similar results in terms of efficacy. Some of the ways through which the oil can be delivered to you overnight are:
- Soaking a cotton ball and placing it next to the pillow
- Placing 10-15 drops of essential oil in hot Epsom or sea salt water in a bowl by the bed
- Spraying an essential oil diluted solution on linens, pillows and blankets
- Electric (and other forms of) air diffusers
The Best Calming Essential Oils
The essential oils that are typically used for the improving the quality of sleep are
- Clary Sage
- Sweet Marjoram
- Roman Chamomile
- Ylang Ylang
The overall general consensus among health practitioners in both the disciplines of standard western medicine and homeopathic / naturopathic alike is that there does appear to be validated data concerning the effectiveness and benefits of aromatherapy on certain conditions, primarily those conditions which are closely related to stress such as cardiovascular disease and insomnia.
Either way, there does not appear to be any evidence that there are any contraindications or harm to using aromatherapy for sleep and so at the very least, you get a nice pleasant scent, and you may possibly get a more peaceful night’s sleep as well.
Take a look at my review of a lovely starter essential oil kit which includes lavender and many other household essentials.