Sleep disturbance affects physical, mental and emotional health and well being. It is seen as a serious problem just like any other health issue. Instead of ingesting pharmaceutical interventions for mild to moderate sleep disturbances the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine suggest the inhalation of essential oils as a safer alternative.
After investigating into the literature of 15 quantitative studies, 11 of which were randomized controlled trials, that focused on the effects of inhaling essential oils the researchers were able to find that most of them were in favour of it.
The most common and essential oil to use was that of lavender oil. The scent eases anxiety and insomnia. For example a study conducted in Britain at the University of Southampton tracked sleep patterns of 10 adults. For a week they slept in a room where lavender oil was diffused into the air throughout the night whilst other participants slept in a room with a placebo of sweet almond oil. After week they switched rooms at the end quality of sleep was ranked 20% better when participants were in the lavender room.
Another study at Wesleyan University asked 31 men and women to sniff lavender essential oil on one night and distilled water the next for two minutes right before bed. Their sleep cycles was monitored by researches through brain scans. On lavender smelling nights they slept more soundly and were more energetic the next day compared to not sniffing it.
Lavender was found to increase slow-wave sleep – very deep slumber where heartbeats slow and muscles relax.
Sniffing essential oils, especially lavender, has found to have a modest positive effect on mild sleep disorders. You can sprinkle a few drops of essential oils on a piece of tissue and tuck it under your pillow or use an aromatherapy diffuser.
Check out Faithful to Nature for essential oil purchases.