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Essential Oils for Sleep

Essential Oils for Sleep
Photo by sk8geek

Essential oils for sleep can help you get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and invigorated. Sleep disorders are widespread, especially in today’s 24/7 nonstop, always on the go culture. Some estimate that up to 65% of people in Western nations have difficulties getting a good night’s sleep. They wake up tired and have periods weariness and fatigue throughout the day. And, at least 10% of the population has such a severe level of sleep dysfunction that they require therapeutic treatment. And, many have resorted to prescription drugs.

It’s no wonder that nearly 40% of people with insomnia turn to over-the-counter medications or alcohol to help fall asleep faster and stay asleep. But, most of these medications have side effects. So, many people are investigating natural botanicals that have calming, relaxing and soothing properties.

Among the botanicals people use are a number of essential oils. Many essential oils have calming effects.

Scientific Evidence on Essential Oils for Sleep

A number of clinical trials have been conducted to investigate essential oils for sleep disturbances. One paper reviewed the human studies, many of which were randomized controlled trials, that had been published between 1990 to 2012.

This review indicated that the oils that produced statistically significant results in improving sleep quality included lavender, peppermint and jasmine oil. It indicated that some studies found positive results, though not statistically significant, for lavender oil and lavender and valerian blends.

The effect of essential oil aromatherapy for improving sleep is much easier to conduct on animals. A study on rats (which are like humans in many ways) showed that oil vapors that significantly altered sleep time included lemon, rose and valerian. Lemon significantly shortened sleep time while rose and valerian significantly lengthened sleep time. Lavender lengthened sleep time, but not significantly.

Many recent studies have examined single oils or an essential oil blend on sleep disturbances. Here are just a few recent studies.

Lavender Essential Oil

One hospital study demonstrated that lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli with a 6 : 2 : 0.5 ratio were found to significantly lower anxiety and improve sleep quality in cardiac patients.

Another study of cardiac patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) used lavender essential oil. Those patients using lavender aromatherapy showed significant decreases in anxiety and significant improvement in sleep quality.

A study of healthy college students demonstrated that aromatherapy using lavender essential oil significantly increased deep or slow-wave sleep (in the first half of the night), percent of time spent asleep, and increased vigor the morning.

Another study of college students with sleep issues tested the use of lavender essential oil and recommendations for good sleep against only recommendations for good sleep. The lavender group showed significantly improved sleep quality and less daytime fatigue compared to the non-lavender group and these advantages remained for at least 2 weeks after the test.

Valerian

A review of 16 randomized, placebo-controlled trials of valerian for improving sleep quality showed that 6 studies showed positive effects. Most of the larger studies showed a inconclusive, dichotomous outcome of sleep quality (sleep improved or not improved).

A study tested a combination of valerian, hop, and jujube in capsule form with 120 generally healthy patients with sleep problems (60 using the combination and 60 not). After 10 days patients taking the combination showed significant improvements (p < 0.024) over the placebo group in time to get to sleep, nighttime awakenings, and total sleep time. After 20 days the improvements were highly significant (p < 0.001)

Rose Oil

A study of rose oil showed that it significantly decreased breathing rate, blood pressure, and perceived alertness with an increase in relaxation and calmness.

Recipes Using Essential Oils for Sleep

Nearly all blends will contain at least lavender, rose, valerian, roman chamomile, neroli, or jasmine oil.

For example, here is a blend From the Selected Works of Mona Shattell

Bergamot: 2 drops
Lavender: 10 drops
Roman Chamomile: 5 drops

Add to carrier oil: 2 oz unscented lotion or jojoba oil

Apply freely to chest and neck prior to bed

Which Essential Oils to Use For Sleep?

Commercially available blends also contain one or more of the oils proven to help you get a good night’s sleep.

  • Natural Riches™ Sleep essential oil blend contains Lavender, Clary Sage, Copaiba Balsam, Marjoram, and Chamomile.
  • Nexon Botanics™ Zen Sleep Essential Oil Blend consists of Geranium, Lavender and Cedarwood oils.
  • Pure Therapeutic Grade™ Good Sleep Blend contains Clary Sage, Copaiba and Lavender
  • Edens Garden™ Good Night blend contains Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Chamomile, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Key Lime, Lime, and Vanilla
  • Artizen™ Good Sleep Blend contains Clary Sage, Copaiba, and Lavender
  • Plant Guru™ Sleeo Tight Synergy Blend contains Bulgarian Lavender, Spanish Marjoram, Ylang Ylang, Copaiba, Roman Chamomile, Rue, and Sandalwood
  • Prime Natural™ SLEEP & RELAXATION blend contains Lavender Bulgaria, Clary Sage, Copaiba Balsam, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile

As you can see, each brand has its own unique blend of essential oils. Investigate these and other oils to see what effect they have on your sleep. Choose a blend that you like and use it.

Essential Oils for Sleep References

Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil

Benefits of lavender essential oil include a soothing, calming effect that can improve sleep, relieve nausea, reduce bloating, and its antimicrobial properties can help protect cuts and aid healing. It’s antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties help control conditions such as acne, eczema and dandruff.

Lavender is a perennial herb that is native to northern Africa and the Mediterranean mountains. The plants are evergreens, growing about 6 feet tall when allowed to grow freely. They are often used as ornamental shrubs because of their colorful flowers and fragrant aroma. They can survive with limited water supplies. The oil is extracted by steam distillation from the flowers of the lavender shrub.

Lavender Species

Lavender essential oils primarily come from the raw flowering tips of these plant species:

  • Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)
  • Lavandula hybridia (lavandin)
  • Lavandula latifolia (spike lavender)

Lavandula angustifolia is the species primarily used in aromatherapy. Lavandula hybridia, or lavandin is used primarily for perfumes and fragrances.

What Produces the Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil?

The beneficial properties of lavender essential oil come from the chemical components present in lavender oil. The “Journal of Chromatography A” reports on a study of lavender oil in the article Characterisation of lavender essential oils by using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry with correlation of linear retention indices and comparison with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography.

The article indicates that lavender essential oil has more than 100 individual chemical components. This study reported on the analysis of nine samples of lavender essential oil obtained from a single supplier. The samples were analysed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. The following are the major chemical components of the samples with their % abundance range.

  • Linalool (23.03 – 57.48%)
  • linalyl acetate (4.1 – 35.39%)
  • 1,8-cineole (0.1 – 20.28%)
  • Borneol (0.30 – 14.04%)
  • terpinen-4-ol (0.11 – 8.07%)
  • Camphor (0.34 – 7.10%)
  • Limonene (0.18 – 3.92%)
  • (Z)-β-ocimene (0.95 – 4.77%)
  • Octen-3-yl acetate (0.19 – 4.16%)
  • Lavandulol (0.05 – 3.27%)
  • Neoisomenthol ( 0.12- 4.25%)
  • α-Terpineol (0.12 – 6.02%)
  • Hexyl butyrate (0.12 – 1.72%)
  • lavandulyl acetate (0.65 – 6.16%)
  • Neryl acetate (0.21 – 1.23%)
  • Geranyl acetate (0.19 – 2.37%)
  • E-caryophyllene (0.45 – 2.83%)
  • (E)-b-farnesene ( 0.17 – 1.69%)
  • lavandulol (0.05 – 3.27%)
  • terpinen-4-ol (0.11 – 8.07%)
  • (E)-b-ocimene ( 0.92 – 2.36%)
  • cis-linalool oxide (0.34 – 1.09%)

It’s obvious that the environment in which the lavender is grown has a significant effect on the relative percentages of the chemical components making up the essential oil. Even from a single source, batches may vary in the concentrations of their chemical components.

Cautions

People with estrogen-dependent cancer should not use lavender oil. Because of its relaxing effect, lavender essential oil should not be used by those operating machinery or driving a car.

Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil continues to be one of the worlds most used and loved oils. It is extremely versatile in its uses, which makes it ideal for a number of different health reasons. No longer just used for its pleasant smell as a perfume or scenting the air, it is now used for a number of benefits for our bodies and mind. Lets discuss some of these health benefits of lavender oil and how far-reaching its health properties can be.

Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil – Restfulness and Sleep

1. Lavender essential oil is widely used today for its ability to help induce sleep. It is regularly recommended as an alternative treatment for those individuals who are suffering from insomnia. Lavender oil can not only help treat insomnia, but it can also improve the overall quality of sleep, including length of sleep, restfulness and the time it took to fall asleep. Try diffusing lavender before or during sleep, or rubbing some of the oil on your neck and temples. You can also try placing some of the oil directly on your pillow.

Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil – Antimicrobial Properties and Blood Circulation

2. Due to lavender oil’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, it can have great benefits for the overall health of your skin. It also has antiseptic and anti fungal properties as well. This makes the oil helpful in treating a wide variety of skin conditions, such as psoriasis, acne, wrinkles and sunburns. By adding lavender oil to chamomile, it can also be helpful in treating eczema. It can even help to make the skin look younger and reduce age spots.

3. Lavender essential oil can also help to improve blood circulation in the blood. Although this may not seem important at first, by improving blood circulation, this can have beneficial effects on blood pressure, hypertension and coronary circulation. As well, oxygenation and muscle health is promoted, brain activity can increase and the brightness and color of the skin is enhanced.

Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil – Digestion

4. If you are having issues with digestion, then lavender oil could help in this regard. It has been found that this essential oil is useful for digestion by increasing the movement of food within the intestines. As well, the oil stimulated the production of gastric juices and bile. This is helpful in treating stomach conditions such as indigestion, stomach pain and diarrhea. Lavender oil’s anti-inflammatory and healing properties can also help in this regard.

Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil – Uplifting Mood

5. If you are looking to improve your mood, lavender oil may also help. This oil can help to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. It also has a calming effect which makes it helpful for calming nerves or relieving emotional stress. This can be attributed to its refreshing and pleasant scent and its ability to beneficially impact the autonomic nervous system. Always be sure to work with your medical practitioner as well in regards to these treatments.

Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil – Hair Health

6. Lastly, lavender oil can greatly impact the overall health of your hair. It has been shown to have positive effects when working as a treatment for hair loss, specifically for those individuals suffering from alopecia. It may also help to stimulate hair growth when applied topically to the skin, such as the scalp since it is a regenerative. Also, lavender oil can help to get rid of dandruff and itchy scalp, help in the treatment of head lice, and also work well as a conditioner for your hair.

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