Lack of sleep is regarded as both a result and a cause of stress. Many people try to sleep less and do more, taking herbal supplements, prescription medication or caffeine in an effort to stay awake. Whether they have insomnia or are deliberately depriving themselves of sleep, the results are the same. A short term lack of sleep can make person groggy, unable to concentrate, depressed and irritable. Long term insomnia can have serious health implication. According to Dr. Kavey, director of the Sleep disorders Center at Columbian Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, sleep affects performance, blood pressure, heart rate, insulin levels and various hormone secretions.
Evidence shows that using aromatherapy to counteract insomnia works as well as, or possibly better than, conventional sedative drugs. In one study on elderly patients, diffusing lavender ensured the same amount of sleep as medications such as temazepam and clomethiazole. Patients were also reported to be less restless when using the lavender. In another study on elderly patients using lavender, nocturnal sleep increased only slightly, but daytime wakefulness and alertness improved significantly; indicating an increase in the quality of sleep.
Many essential oils have been shown to have sedative or calming effects, promoting natural, restful sleep. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has been the most extensively researched and is a good general sleep enhancer, which appears to help with sleeplessness no matter what the cause.
Essential oils to aid in sleep:
Lavender French and or Lavender Eastern European, Chamomile Roman, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Lemon, Frankincense, Valerian, Nutmeg (in low doses), Benzoin, Vetiver, Orange, Petitgrain, Rose, Marjoram True Sweet, Neroli, Mandarin, Ylang Ylang, Coriander, Cypress
Essential oils specific to different types of insomnia:
Insomnia (with worry and anxiety): Mandarin or Neroli
Insomnia (with emotional upset): Rose
Insomnia (general): Lavender or Bergamot
Insomnia (with mental agitation, symptoms may include the individual laying awake for hours with their mind racing): Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Coriander, Cypress
Insomnia (with nervous exhaustion, seemingly too tired to sleep, tense yet exhausted): Marjoram True Sweet
Methods of application:
1. In a bath (water temperature relaxing warm, not stimulating too warm or cool)
Never put essential oils directly in the bath water…blend essential oils with a carrier such as: Epsom salts, whole milk, whipped cream, or liquid soap.
2. In a diffuser/nebulizer
3. A spritzer used on the bed linens or around the bed
4. A couple of drops placed on a tissue or cotton ball tucked under the pillow or in the pillow case.
***REMEMBER LESS IS MORE
5. Essential oils blended in a lotion or carrier oil and then rubbed on feet, neck, arms, chest, etc. before getting into bed and or bath.