Essential oils promise to deliver a solution for almost everything. Too stressed to relax? Reach for jasmine oil. Tired of tossing and turning at night? Try one of the many essential oils for sleep, such as lavender or valerian. Got a nasty case of adult acne? Tea tree oil might be your secret weapon.
There’s a sweet-smelling oil out there for nearly every problem, from essential oils for sleep to muscle pain. They even have Gwyneth Paltrow’s seal of approval, and if that’s not enough, ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Germans used essential oils to treat ailments for centuries.
Many people swear by aromatherapy, the alternative practice of using essential oils for sleep and overall well-being. It’s so popular that the global essential oil market is projected to reach $11.7 billion by 2022.
But the question remains: Has science hopped on the bandwagon?
While some studies have demonstrated the positive effects of essential oils, others remain inconclusive. But before we break down what science has to say about essential oils, let’s understand how they work and what essential oils are good for sleep.
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant oils used to reduce symptoms of a variety of problems. Depression, anxiety, stress, migraines, toothaches, insomnia — you name it, there’s supposedly an essential oil for it. The best part is they’re considered a natural way to address these concerns, which lends to its popularity.
Essential oils are most commonly inhaled with the help of an aroma diffuser. Another popular way to use them is by adding a few drops of oil into the bath. Since the oils aren’t water-soluble, the key to using them safely is mixing them with vegetable oil to avoid irritation.
They can also be massaged directly onto the skin after dilution, but this is less advisable because the plant chemicals may adversely interact with your body, causing allergic reactions, inflammations, and dermatitis.
In their natural form, essential oils are potent, so it’s recommended to use them in small doses or after consulting a medical professional.
When sleepless nights plague you regularly, you might consider turning to some natural aids for help. Essential oils for sleep are a popular choice. Not only are they available for purchase without a prescription, but preliminary research has yielded some positive results.
A 2020 study conducted on 105 cardiac patients suffering from a sleep disorder found that participants who inhaled lavender and peppermint oil experienced better sleep quality than those who only inhaled scented distilled water.
Some of the most popular essential oil blends for sleep include:
Lavender: Call lavender the king of essential oils if you will because no list is complete without it. Lavender oil for sleep may alleviate symptoms associated with insomnia and has even been shown to promote slow-wave sleep, which is essential for feeling refreshed when you wake up in the morning.
Clary Sage: If anxious thoughts keep you up at night, try a whiff of clary sage. Clary sage is believed to calm the mind and reduce anxiety by lowering cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone. In a similar vein, clary sage may also double as a natural antidepressant because of its stress-reducing properties.
Valerian: Valerian root has been dubbed nature’s alternative to valium and is known for its sedative properties. As a result, valerian essential oils could be an effective treatment for insomnia because it might help you fall asleep faster.
Chamomile: Chamomile is one of the most popular teas to help you sleep, so it would only stand to reason that inhaling its scent might provide the same benefits. Chamomile essential oil may fight sleep deprivation and relieve headaches or other minor pains.
Vanilla: The scent of vanilla is powerful and familiar enough to conjure up many pleasant memories. Vanilla is one of the popular essential oils for sleep because it may reduce stress and lower blood pressure to promote a restful night’s sleep.
Though studies have shown that essential oils for sleep can promote better quality rest, the research is inconclusive. These studies haven’t extended to clinical trials, which means the results aren’t evidence-backed.
In other words, essential oils for sleep may reduce some symptoms, but there’s no proof that aromatherapy can provide a complete cure for insomnia or other sleep disorders.
Essential oils are also not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While they’re generally safe for use, essential oils could still cause side effects in some people. For your safety, consult a health care professional before you try them.
Essential oils are practically synonymous with wellness and self-care these days, so it makes sense that you would want to try them. The good news is you can still experiment with essential oils safely without inhaling or massaging them on your body.
Enjoy the fragrance and possibly reap some benefits by sprinkling a few drops of your favorite essential oil on your bedroom rugs or pillows. Area rugs might be your safest bet simply because you can enjoy the aroma without coming in close contact with the oil.
Even though science hasn’t backed up the claim that aromatherapy is the best solution for insomnia, there are still other things that can help you sleep better.
No one can deny the power of a cozy bed, so make sure you invest in the most comfortable mattress. A good night’s rest is going to be far out of reach if you’re not sleeping on a bed that provides support and comfort. When all the right essentials are in place, you’ll find you’re able to fall asleep without much difficulty, and you might not even need any essential oils for sleep.
At the end of the day, essential oils might not provide the solution you’re seeking. But they can help you prioritize wellness and take care of yourself in a holistic manner. The key is to be cautious about how you use them.
Does essential oils help you sleep better? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.