Essential oils are plant-based substances that have been extracted for use in aromatherapy and other treatments. For ages, these oils have been utilized in medicine, cooking, perfumery, and cosmetics by people all over the world. Aromatherapy has recently seen a surge in popularity thanks to the therapeutic and relaxing properties of essential oils. There are millions of people who have trouble sleeping, and using essential oils may be a solution for you.
What the research says
Essential oils can offer a wide range of health advantages, from thwarting the spread of some viruses and bacteria to boosting the immune system and relieving anxiety. Relaxation and better sleep are some possible benefits of using essential oils.
Lavender essential oil is widely known as a natural sleep aid, despite the fact that research on the usage of essential oils is limited. Lavender essential oil was studied in 2005 on 31 healthy, young sleepers, for example.
A study indicated that people who drank lavender had more slow-wave and deep-wave sleep than those who drank lavender water. The next morning, all individuals reported feeling “more energized.”
DoTERRA’s Balance is the essential oil of choice for Leah Outten, a mother of five who uses oils in her household. Balance is a mixture of oils, such as:
- needle and leaf of spruce
- what’s up with that?
- resin from frankincense
- a blue tansy in full bloom
- flowering chamomile
Lavender essential oil is sometimes added to Outten’s Balance blend. Combined, she claims, they induce a sense of lethargy and help her fall asleep more quickly.
Adding clary sage essential oil to your bath may also help you relax. Women undergoing urodynamic examinations were found to be more relaxed when the oil was diffused, according to researchers in a 2013 studyTrusted Source.
Do Essential Oils Help You Sleep?
All indications lean to a resounding “yes!” It’s possible that essential oils can help you fall asleep. According to a 2014 analysis of 15 research where essential oils were used as a sleep aid, “A majority of the study data revealed a favorable effect of essential oils on sleep.” Indeed, the oils were found to help alleviate mild to moderate sleep problems by inducing a hypnotic effect on individuals.
According to another 2017 study, participants who used essential oils “enhanced the parasympathetic nervous system by increasing the release of serotonin and endorphins.” Endorphins have calming effects, and serotonin attaches to enzymes at night to produce melatonin, according to the authors of the study. (Melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep medication available in the form of gummies that you may be familiar with.)
How to use essential oils for sleep
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, including:
- Inhaling. Diffusers are the most frequent technique of employing essential oils for inhalation. You simply add a few drops of oil to the diffuser, which disperses the oil molecules into the air for you to breathe in.
- Use on the skin directly. The molecules can be absorbed by the body as they penetrate the skin when applied this way. Using this method, you will be able to inhale and sense the perfume of the oil, as part of it will evaporate. Essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as apricot or almond oil before usage due to their high concentration. You should first test the essential oil on a small area of your skin to see if it is compatible with your skin type.
- Ingesting. Essential oils can be added to food and beverages, but they should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. Inhalation and direct application are straightforward options, but the risks outweigh the benefits here.
Depending on the oil(s) you use, these sleep aid approaches function in two ways. Some are calming and conducive to sleep, while others clear your airway and make it easier to breathe, allowing you to go off to sleep.
How do essential oils work?
In the body, essential oils have an affect on your olfactory and limbic systems (the “emotional brain”) when they are absorbed.
It is through inhalation that essential oil molecules make their way to your brain. The limbic system’s amygdala, sometimes known as the brain’s emotional center, is influenced by their presence in the brain.
Aromatic oils can also influence the brain’s release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which have been shown to improve mood. In addition to helping you feel calm and relaxed, these neurotransmitters also have a role in the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel drowsy at night.
How we chose the best essential oils for sleep
Different components of plants are used to make essential oils. A wide variety of plants generate them, which might lead to overwhelming alternatives.
When researching aromatherapy, you may have come across the fact that some oils appear to have a variety of applications. Is there a way to tell which one is best for you?
Essential oils may have varying effects on various people, but for the sake of this post, we only looked at those that are well known to aid with relaxation and sleep. Here’s how we whittled down our list of potential choices:
- The kind of essential oil that it is. Essential oils that have been shown to help people relax and sleep have been added.
- Interviews with experts and other research. Essential oils can benefit from word of mouth, but we also looked at empirical evidence to see if these oils genuinely tended to help people sleep better. A massage therapist in Olympia, Washington, Jo Sahlin is also an expert in aromatherapy.
- Availability. Essential oils that can be purchased online from reputable vendors were included in this list.
- Transparency and quality are important. On their website or upon request, reputable brands that sell high-quality oils should include a certificate of analysis or safety data sheet. Brands that provide this documentation were included in our list of essential oils.
Best essential oils for sleep
A good night’s sleep is the only cure for insomnia, as anyone who has experienced it will tell you. Getting a good night’s rest might be difficult in today’s hectic world. Relaxation is difficult when the body senses that things aren’t right, whether that means your blood pressure is high or there are troubles at work or even at home.
Fortunately, many natural approaches can assist in enhancing one’s ability to go asleep and stay asleep. Using specific essential oils in the appropriate way and amounts can help you go off to sleep soundly.
As a rule of thumb, a few drops is all that’s needed, and the most common methods of ingestion are air diffusers, steam from boiling water and direct application to the skin. Find out which essential oils will help you get more than just your recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night by reading on!
1. Lavender Oil
Known for its wide range of health advantages, lavender oil is an excellent sleep aid as well. Inhaling lavender oil has been shown in numerous trials to be an effective treatment for insomnia. Lavender oil’s other benefits include lowering heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure, all of which, coincidentally, mimic the stages the body goes through as it eases into sleep. This is in great part due to this. Relaxing at the end of a stressful day is made easier by the anti-anxiety properties of lavender oil.
2. Ylang Ylang Oil
Although ylang ylang oil isn’t quite as effective as lavender oil as a sleep aid, it’s not far behind. Ylang ylang, a tropical tree extract from Asia, has a calming effect on the heart and blood pressure and naturally prepares the body for sleep. When inhaled, the oil emits a fruity aroma that is both peaceful and invigorating.
3. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil’s calming effects and sleep-inducing properties are more general than specific. While the direct effects of this oil on the body’s rhythms and temperature are negligible, the delicate floral perfume has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind when diffused in the atmosphere. With its pleasant apple-tinged scent, Roman chamomile is the perfect anti-anxiety herb.
4. Peppermint Oil
You can use peppermint oil to help you fall asleep even if it’s not considered a standard sleep aid. When it comes to relieving seasonal allergies or dust sensitivity, nothing beats diffusing peppermint oil in your bedroom. It’s a pleasant surprise when you finally get some relief from your swollen nasal passages and fall asleep.
5. Bergamot Oil
The benefits of bergamot oil extend to those who struggle with sleep deprivation, too. Bergamot oil, like lavender oil and ylang ylang oil, is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. It also lowers blood pressure and pulse rate and gets the body ready for sleep. To make things even better, studies have found that the anti-anxiety effects of oil of bergamot have been demonstrated. Inhale deeply after inhaling a few drops into a boiling kettle of water, and you’ll soon be drifting off to sleep!
6. Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood oil is both fragrant and expensive, but you get what you pay for, as is often the case with high-end goods. Sandalwood is one of the best oils for inducing deep sleep because of its mood-balancing qualities. In contrast to other oils, sandalwood oil has a calming effect on the mind and body that can help alleviate stress. When you need to relax and unwind, keep some on hand, and if you make sleep mixes, be sure to include some sandalwood.
7. Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood essential oil has a similar woodsy aroma to sandalwood essential oil, however it is less expensive and less effective. Blending lavender with chamomile and diffusing it in the air of your bedroom is the greatest way to get the best results.
8. Marjoram Oil
Marjoram oil, on the other hand, will keep you asleep once you’ve fallen asleep with the help of other essential oils. When you’re in need of a good night’s sleep, you can rely on the pleasant aroma to help you relax both physically and psychologically. The sweeter the marjoram, the more effective it is as a sleep aid.
9. Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage oil is a must-have for anyone suffering from depression. You can use clary sage oil instead of normal sage to help you get a good night’s sleep, as it is better at battling the kind of gloomy thoughts that plague many people as the day ends and the night begins.
10. Vetiver Oil
Vetiver oil isn’t so much about savoring the aromas as it is about getting the job done. Vetiver oil isn’t for everyone because of its strong, earthy scent, but the benefits are undeniable. You may want to try vetiver oil if you can’t stop thinking about the day’s events and find yourself unable to relax. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your worries dissipate when you inhale the scent of lavender before you go to sleep.
11. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil, like peppermint oil, has a calming scent as well as sinus-clearing qualities. Eucalyptus oil has the dual effect of relaxing you and alleviating your congestion so that you can have a good night’s sleep.
12. Valerian Oil
Another well-known oil for relieving stress is valerian, which has long been used in aromatherapy for its relaxing properties. For this very reason, valerian is a common addition in midnight tea blends. As with marjoram oil, valerian oil will help you get a good night’s sleep.
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