Make Sleep Smell Good: Aromatherapy for Insomnia
Not Able to Catch Your Z’s?
Do you have trouble falling asleep at night despite fruitless attempts to find the right medication or spotify playlist with calming music and white noise? Insomnia, a condition characterized by chronic difficulties falling or staying asleep, is a prevalent problem for many individuals in our fast-paced society. Fortunately, various alternative treatments exist that can provide hope for those who believe they have tried it all. Aromatherapy is one such treatment for promoting an undisturbed night’s sleep that is non-invasive and does not rely on medications or inconvenient and unnatural means.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy allows for the body to return to a more restful state by harnessing the benefits of essential oils. Many of these oils enhance the calming and soothing sensations within the body to ultimately alleviate stress, quiet the mind, and prepare the body for sleep. There are several advantages to using aromatherapy compared to common Western sleep-aids, such as melatonin pills and technological aids. Notably, the low cost, ease of access, and quick-acting effects of aromatherapy make it an appealing option. Although essential oils have the general purpose of general relaxation, the direct ties this has to sleep makes a more restful night much more likely when essential oils are integrated into one’s nightly routine.
How Best Can You Achieve the Benefits of Aromatherapy?
Inhalation is one of the quickest ways that a substance can enter the body, with ingestion and skin absorption as close runner-ups.
- By inhaling essential oils, your body is more immediately triggered to relax as the olfactory nerves in your nose are stimulated by the volatile, airborne molecules. This results in signals being sent to the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is responsible for one’s emotional state, stress response, and sleep-wake regulation. The downstream emotional and physiological responses can help to moderate the impact of any stressors being experienced.
- Essential oils for sleep can also be absorbed through one’s skin or digestive membranes and travel into the bloodstream. Ultimately, this should produce the same intended effects––albeit with a slightly longer delay than inhalation. The small nature of these organic molecules allows for them to easily pass through tissue membranes and begin enacting their effects.
Tips for Application of Essential Oils
Essential oils’ volatility makes them quite versatile. In other words, their easy ability to vaporize means they can be incorporated into your day in a number of easy and cost-effective ways. Many prefer to add a few drops of oil into their air diffusers, baths, or massage oils. In some cases of topical application, essential oils carrying the main scent must be mixed with a bulkier carrier oil, such as coconut, olive, or almond oil. Studies have shown greater improvements to sleep quality when a blend of essential oils is used, rather than just one type of essential oil. Adding variety to the scents experienced means the benefits experienced are also diversified. There should be no danger when combining two different and common essences.
Which Essential Oils Should You Try for Sleep?
Lavender Oil is the most commonly used essential oil for sleep. It’s scent is known to calm the nervous system, relieve stress and anxiety, and relax muscles. A study on women aged 45 to 55 found particularly improved sleep quality following the implementation of lavender aromatherapy into daily routines.
Clary Sage Oil is a natural antidepressant made for relaxation that can promote a more restful sleep. The scent helps to calms the body down and balances reduce cortisol levels normally tied to alertness and one’s circadian rhythm. This oil also reduces anxiety and stress, with studies showing additional support for its ability to lower blood pressure and respiratory rate.
Bergamot Oil produces an earthy scent that eases tension, anxiety, and reduces blood pressure and heart rate.
Aromatherapy presents numerous benefits at no risk to the user, as most essential oils are derived from all-natural sources. When purchasing essential oils, be sure to check the ingredients list and ensure you are getting the best quality of ingredients, and therefore the best quality of sleep!
Written By: Aaliyah Sherfuddin
Edited By: Camden Rowe