Benefits of Using Essential Oils for Sleep
Most of us won’t argue that a good night’s sleep is essential to getting our days started off on the right track. But did you know that a lack of sleep can also be directly linked to severe conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity? It’s true. A lack of sleep over an extended period of time causes hormone imbalance, decreases metabolism, and affects blood pressure. These symptoms of sleeplessness can lead to serious health problems. Adults who suffer from frequent insomnia often seek medical help Insomnia has become somewhat of an epidemic with 1 out of every 10 of us taking prescription sleep aids. The problem with prescription solutions to sleep issues is that they can become addicting or your body can become resistant to them. These drugs were never designed to be a permanent solution, but were meant to assist with temporary issues that cause you to toss and turn all night. Aside from the issues many adults face with sleep, many children are also suffering from lack of sleep due to disorders such as hyperactivity. Because prescription sleep aids are not intended for children, parents are constantly looking for safe, but effective alternatives to help their little ones get some z’s. More natural solutions do exist, and among the most effective is the use of essential oils. Using essential oils correctly can effectively help to create a more balanced atmosphere in your body. Lavender, for example has been used for centuries for its calming properties. John Parkinson, a London apothecary in the 1600s was quoted as saying, that lavender is “especially good for all griefs and pains of the head and brain.” Diffusing Lavender Essential Oil during sleep has been shown to improve sleep patterns for a deeper sleep. According to Prevention Magazine, Wesleyan University conducted a study on lavender, having 31 people use lavender for aroma therapy before bed one night and then sniff distilled water the next night. Monitoring the subjects’ sleep cycles revealed that on the nights lavender was used, slow-wave sleep was increased, slowing heart rate and relaxing the muscles. In addition to diffusing Lavender Essential Oil, you can put a few drops in the wash with your bed linens or sprinkle a few drops on your pillow for a deep, calming slumber. Bergamot Essential Oil, whilst known for its uplifting and rejuvenating properties, also helps to with calming emotions and a euphoric state of mind. It has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels, aiding in stress-reduction. Diffusing Bergamot Essential Oil or dropping a few drops into a hot bath will help calm a racing mind and ease you into a good night’s sleep. Clary Sage Essential Oil is quite possibly the most powerful anti-stressor of all the oils. Using this oil has been shown to increase the performance of the GABA receptors in the brain, which affect the “feel-good” hormones released into our bodies. Clary Sage is a natural sedative, so when insomnia results from stress, it can be used to promote the sense of peace and calming needed to calm the mind and body. Ylang Ylang is another essential oil often used to control emotions and improve mood. It works for relaxation because it is thought to interact with the limbic system of the brain. Using this oil in aroma therapy has been shown to reduce stress and lower the heart rate, calming the body and easing it into slumber. Frankincense Essential Oil is often used for its healing and calming properties. It was a gift fit for a king for good reason. With its warm, woodsy aroma, diffusing this oil will put you in a state of peace and mental clarity. Frankincense has also been shown to regulate body temperature, alleviate nerve pain and inflammation, and open up the airways. These properties make it great for people with sleep apnea, seasonal allergies and diabetic nerve pain. Diffuse Frankincense Essential Oil while you sleep or rub a few drops onto the bottoms of your feet for a restful, pain-free sleep. Diffusing or applying any of these oils alone can be beneficial to helping with your sleep problems, but combining them can elevate your sleeping experience to a whole new level. For lack of sleep because of nerve pain due to issues such as diabetes or neuropathy, try combining a few drops of Frankincense and Lavender Essential Oils with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Rub the concoction well into the bottom of your feet before bedtime. Slip on a pair of socks to keep the oil from rubbing off onto your bedding. Also diffuse the two oils by your bed while you sleep. Because both of these oils help reduce inflammation, they make the perfect cocktail for pain-free sleep. If stress and restlessness are the cause of your lack of slumber, try a mixture of Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang and Lavender Essential Oils to keep your mind from racing. Whilst Lavender has its own calming properties, Ylang Ylang and Clary Sage offer a deeper sedating property. Combine these three essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and rub onto the bottom of the feet. In addition, dropping two drops of each into a hot bath before bedtime will ease the tension in your body by lowering your heart rate, calming your mind and relaxing your muscles. For depression-related anxiety, it’s important to stabilise your emotions as much as possible before falling asleep. Our subconscious minds are active long after our conscious mind has shut down for the night. Bergamot and Ylang Ylang Essential oils are great emotion stabilisers and natural happiness boosters. Combining these oils in your diffuser while you sleep can help to keep your mind at peace. Throw in a couple of drops of Lavender Essential Oil as well and you’re almost guaranteed a night of blissful slumber. Don’t let insomnia affect your mood and your health. Use any of these suggested combinations or experiment with your own to make sure your body gets the rest it needs.