A Guide to Essential Oils for Sleep
Insomnia, other sleep disorders, and, in some cases, just the stresses of life mean that many people struggle to get enough sleep on a regular basis. The good news is that, no matter whether you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, essential oils can help. There are a few essential oils in particular to try, each of which has different qualities.
Two of the chemical compounds in lavender (linalool and linalyl acetate) calm the nervous system and help improve sleep quality. Research has found that lavender is especially effective for certain groups of people. For instance, those with mild insomnia, especially women and young people, often find that their sleep quality improves when they use lavender essential oil. A diffuser that fills your bedroom with steam from the oil while you sleep is ideal.
Studies have also found that women without insomnia can see good results with lavender essential oil, particularly those aged 45 to 55 and postpartum mothers.
Another group that can benefit from lavender is heart disease patients. One study found that those with ischemic heart disease slept better in intensive care units when they first received a few hours of aromatherapy using lavender essential oil. A second study showed that patients with coronary artery disease had both high-quality sleep and less anxiety when sleeping in the hospital after receiving a treatment that involved inhaling lavender essential oil.
Finally, students report feeling less sleepy the following day when they sleep in a bedroom with lavender scent. There are several ways to bring the aroma to a bedroom. These include adding lavender oil to your pillow, having a massage with diluted oil, using a diffuser, and soaking cotton balls in the oil.
In addition to being able to lower blood pressure, bergamot herb can benefit mental health. These qualities combined mean the essential oil can calm the mind and make it easier to sleep.
Most studies have looked at bergamot in a blend with other essential oils, such as lavender, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood. It has been found to be effective with participants ranging from healthy women to patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation.
The great thing about marjoram essential oil is that it will help you stay asleep. It has properties that will soothe your body and your mind, keeping you in a deep sleep throughout the night. You can either apply diluted oil to the nape of your neck or soles of your feet or diffuse the scent throughout your room before you go to sleep. It’s also useful for helping small children relax before nap time. When choosing a scent, search for a sweet-smelling oil, as this will give you the best results.
Another essential oil derived from an herb is clary sage. It’s important to note that this is different from regular sage, which has its own associated essential oil with its own profile of health benefits.
Clary sage can help you fall asleep by acting as an antidepressant and by reducing anxiety. It also lowers levels of cortisol in the body, which may help restore natural circadian rhythms. Finally, when inhaled, clary sage has been shown to reduce blood pressure and slow the breath. For these reasons, it’s a top option for sleep problems linked to anxiety.
The cedrol in cedarwood activates the parasympathetic nervous system and has a sedative effect on the body. Studies have found that cedrol is effective in several types of animals, as well as humans. It can enhance the quality of sleep in a variety of people — from the young and healthy to older adults with dementia. In fact, a study of women between the ages of 20 and 49 based in three different countries found that cedarwood oil was an effective sedative no matter how many hours the participants typically slept, nor their baseline levels of anxiety.
For the best results, you should use cedarwood essential oil for at least 20 minutes. Adding a sufficient amount to a diffuser is a good way to ensure the scent remains circulating in the air as you fall asleep. This essential oil is an ideal choice if you find it difficult to fall asleep, especially if you like woodsy or forest smells. Plus, it has the added benefits of boosting your immune system, helping you fight off common colds faster.
Chamomile tea is known for being an excellent sleep aid, at least in part because it makes you less irritable, agitated, and prone to anger. You can receive similar benefits by using chamomile essential oil. The effects may be even more pronounced if you use chamomile oil along with soothing music or as a blend with lavender and neroli oils.
There are two types of chamomile that, although they are quite similar, do have distinctions that are important for aromatherapy purposes. These are Roman chamomile and German chamomile. You may find that one leads to better results for you than the other, depending on the reason for your poor-quality sleep. Roman chamomile helps reduce any anxiety that could be making it difficult for you to sleep (studies on both nurses and pregnant women found this effect). German chamomile, on the other hand, can ease any pain that is keeping you awake.
As neroli is one of the most expensive essential oils, you may prefer to use it only when you’re having severe difficulties sleeping, such as if you have persistent insomnia or you’re unable to sleep due to feelings of despair or grief. The essential oil works by reducing your blood pressure, by helping you to feel calm when you’re suffering from agitation, and by improving your wellbeing in general. It is also useful for sleeplessness due to menstrual cramps — you can alleviate the pain by massaging your abdomen with diluted oil.
Find the above essential oils as singles and blends along with many essential oils to boost immune system function from LaCura. Check out our full range — including LaCura S (for Sleep) — to find the essential oils you need to start sleeping well every night.