Not everyone gets at least eight hours of sleep in a day. For insomniacs or people who toss and turn in bed at night, essential oils may be the answer. So, among all the available oils, what are the best essential oils for sleep?
What are Essential Oils?
Before that, what exactly are essential oils? These are compounds that have been taken from plants. The oils capture the “essence” of a plant, which is its flavor and scent. When it comes to extracting the essence of the plant, cold pressing or distillation are methods by which the oils are extracted. Essential oils are then used for aromatherapy. It can be applied on the skin or inhaled via a diffuser.
Despite its popularity as an alternative to over-the-counter medications, additional research is needed to verify the benefits of essential oils to one’s health and well-being. Some of its benefits include the following.
Relieves Anxiety and Stress
Initial research claims that essential oils used in aromatherapy work in treating stress and anxiety. Some users also claim that the essential oils used in a massage may help in relieving stress.
Relieves Migraines and Headaches
Studies state that ethanol combined with peppermint oil helps relieve headaches when applied on the temple and forehead. Other studies claim that lavender oil and peppermint works against headaches as well. In Persia, a traditional remedy for headaches and migraines uses a combination of sesame oil and chamomile.
Test tube studies claim that some essential oils contain anti-inflammatory compounds. These oils can help fight inflammation. However, safety and effectiveness need to be studied further.
Increases Sleep Quality
In a review done on essential oils and its effect on sleep, it has shown that lavender positively affects one’s quality of sleep. The test was done on individuals with heart disease and women who have just given birth.
Best Essential Oils for Sleep
For those in need of a boost in their quality of sleep, these essential oils can help. Apart from the sedative effect, some users claim that these essential oils can also relieve stress and anxiety as well as lower one’s blood pressure.
Before bedtime, add this essential oil to a diffuser. The scent can help one drift off to sleep. Users claim that this is effective as a sedative and can also decrease one’s blood pressure and heart rate. Lavender
It is one of the most lauded essential oils when it comes to boosting sleep quality. Before bedtime, apply a small amount on the pulse points or rub it between the palms and inhale deeply.
In one study, it claims that neroli produces a calming effect, especially when combined with chamomile and lavender oil. Moreover, the study states that it is useful in lowering blood pressure levels and relieving stress in women.
Another natural sedative widely used is Roman chamomile. Research shows that chamomile is effective in relieving anxiety and stress. Add one to two drops into a diffuser before bedtime.
This oil was reportedly used since the 17th century for easing insomnia. Apart from acting as a sedative, users claim it can improve one’s sleep quality.
A plant that is native to Indonesia, ylang-ylang is said to be useful as a sedative. Moreover, users claim that it reduces hypertension, alleviates anxiety and stress, and freshens the air.
Tips on Purchasing Essential Oils
With the market thriving with essential oils, it can be challenging to find one that is of high quality. Here are just a few tips one should take note of when buying oils.
- Avoid oils that have been combined with vegetable oil. How would one know if vegetable oil was used? On a piece of paper, put a few drops of the oil and assess the oil drop. If it leaves a ring, then it most likely used vegetable oil as base oil.
- Purchase oils from companies that place the Latin and common name of the plant on the label. The country of origin should also be included.
- Bottles of the oils should be blue or dark amber. This is because unfiltered lights cause spoilage. If the bottle is clear, then skip that product and look for another option.
- Buy oils that are placed in glass bottles. Over time, the oil may dissolve the plastic bottle and may cause contamination.
- Buy only what one needs. One bottle that contains 10 milliliters lasts months. Also, use oils within a year.
How to Use Essential Oils
The way an essential oil is applied affects its potency and desired result. Here are some tips for applying essential oils.
- For wound care, essential oils should be applied. Make sure to do a spot-test before trying it out on wounds. Some essential oils require base oil before being applied to the skin.
- For boosting mood or alleviating stress, inhaling the essential oil should work. A few drops into a diffuser may help. For immediate relief, rubbing a small amount in between the palms and inhaling it right after also works.
- For both topical absorption and inhalation, essential oils can be added to the bath.
Despite coming from plants, herbal products contain bioactive compounds that can be dangerous to one’s health. Essential oils are the same. While most oils are deemed safe for use on the skin, there are adverse reactions that may occur. Some of these include the following.
- Asthma Attack
- Allergic Reaction
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using essential oils. Further research is needed to assess the safety of use for women in this classification.
Using the Oil
When using essential oils, take note of the following reminders.
- Use a carrier oil, especially when using the essential oil as a topical agent. Jojoba and coconut oil are examples of carrier oils.
- Do a patch test. This ensures that one is not allergic to the oil.
- Do not take the oil by mouth. Some oils are deemed toxic and can cause further health complications.
- Skip perfume oils and go for essential oils that are “pure.”