Between job stress, anxiety, raising children and hormonal changes, many people struggle to get a good night’s sleep.
Lying in bed counting sheep, or ruminating over your problems, and staying awake for hours can impact your health, well-being and general quality of life. When you’re tired, you’re more apt to be irritable, have trouble concentrating and reach for sugary snacks to boost mood and energy.
Quality sleep means you’re getting at least seven or eight continuous hours of restful shut eye every night. A good night’s sleep helps regulate hormones, weight and your body’s ability to heal and rejuvenate.
What are some of the most common causes of insomnia? Hectic lifestyles, young children, chronic stress, depression, physical illness, hormonal imbalances and working unusual shifts or at a high-stress job.
The frustration of not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep can make the situation worse. This might be amplified by what you eat and drink, say caffeine late at night; what you do before bed, such as exercise; and bright lights from alarm clocks, computers and TVs in your bedroom.
There are several essential oils that may promote better sleep. Essential oils can be used to help you relax and unwind before you go to bed and may help occasional sleeplessness. You can apply the oil to a cotton ball and keep it near your bedside, use a diffuser to diffuse the oil fragrance throughout the room, create a calming bed linen spray and spray your sheets, or add a few drops of a calming essential oil to a bath before bed.
Lavender essential oil has been studied extensively and its effectiveness substantiated by research. The oil’s calming and sedative properties make it a safe, popular oil to help relax, fight stress and promote sleep. Its balancing properties also can boost stamina, energy and calm the body and mind. It’s a documented adaptogen and can assist the body when adapting to stress or imbalances. Researchers at University of Miami found that inhalation of lavender oil increased beta waves in the brain, suggesting heightened relaxation.
Marjoram is also good for creating peaceful sleep because its properties are known to relax tense muscles and support the nervous and cardiovascular systems. It has a spicy, woody scent, which is mentally relaxing and calms the nervous tension.
Roman Chamomile essential oil is considered a natural sedative, known for is calming, soothing, and relaxing properties. The oil’s light, floral scent helps create a peaceful atmosphere in your bedroom and sense of inner peace.
Valerian root has been used for centuries and clinically investigated for its relaxing properties. Researchers have pinpointed the sesquiterpenes, valerenic acid, and valerone as the active constituents that exert a calming and restorative effect on the central nervous system. The oil’s fragrance is very balancing and grounding to the body and mind, but it has a musty and woody aroma that people either like or don’t like. It’s good for restlessness, occasional sleeplessness and any trauma or to ease anxiety. Valerian root’s use as a medicinal herb goes back to ancient Greece and Rome. Galen, a Roman physician and philosopher of Greek origin, prescribed it for insomnia. Germany’s Commission E has named Valerian as an effective treatment for restlessness and sleep disturbances resulting from insomnia, migraine and tension.
Vetiver essential oil is distilled from the roots of the plant and has a rich, earthy fragrance to help with relaxation and help the brain “shut-off” for the night. It is very grounding and calming and promotes balance of the central nervous system.
Using essential oils cannot cure or treat insomnia or its root cause and are not approved by the FDA to use as medicine. Rather, using essential oils known to have calming and relaxing properties before a nap or bedtime may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.
by Marla R. Miller