Looking for a natural sleep aid to rid yourself of those restless evenings of insomnia (or maybe just some mild sleeping troubles)?
Believe it or not, aromatherapy essential oils like lavender are highly effective in helping people get a good night’s rest. And we’re not just talking about getting to sleep, but also staying asleep throughout the night.
If you suffer from insomnia, or at least some form of sleep deprivation, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation:
- 48 percent of Americans claim to suffer from occasional insomnia.
- 22 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia every or nearly every single night of the week.
Sleep troubles can come from a variety of sources – anxiety, depression, stress, pain, medications, Restless Leg Syndrome and the list goes on. Maybe you just have trouble turning your mind off at night. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can only intensify these symptoms, not to mention it can be damaging to your overall health.
Using aromatherapy lavender oils
There are plenty of medications out there to improve your sleep. Maybe you’ve tried them, and maybe they’ve worked. But if you’re looking to pursue a healthier, 100% natural solution, you might consider aromatherapy.
While there are a number of essential oils for insomnia, we rank lavender at the top of the list. And don’t just take our word for it. There have been a number of studies that have shown positive results in using lavender aromatherapy as a sleep aid. One study in particular was conducted at Britain’s University of Southampton, where scientists studied the sleep patterns of ten adults:
- For seven days, 50% of the participants slept in a room where lavender essential oils were run through a diffuser.
- The other 50% of participants slept in a room where an almond oil (the placebo) was diffused.
- The two groups switched rooms after a week, and by the end of the study, the participants claimed their sleep quality was 20% better in the room where lavender was diffused.
Indeed, while lavender may seem “innocent,” it actually packs a notable scientific punch when dealing with insomnia and even general health issues.
As University of Miami School of Medicine scientist Tiffany Field noted, the aroma in lavender has been known in human studies “to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state.”
Other oils for fighting those restless nights
While we find lavender to be one of the more effective natural remedies for sleep, consider these options as well:
There’s two great ways to apply essential oils, topically or aromatically:
- Topical use: Apply directly to the skin (if you’d like, you could use a carrier oil to dilute), like rubbing the oil on your wrists, back of your neck, or the bottom of your feet.
- Aromatic use: Add a few drops to a diffuser (you can place next to your bed or anywhere in the room) and then drift off to dreamland.
Essential oils for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
According to the American Medical Association, Restless Leg Syndrome is classified as a sleep disorder. And about 12 million Americans suffer from it. If it’s something you suffer from night after night (or just occasionally) you know how frustrating it can be.
Medications for treating RLS can be quite expensive – not to mention, most are derived from chemicals. Natural solutions like lavender have proven quite effective in dealing with Restless Leg Syndrome. How, exactly?
Quality, therapeutic grade lavender oils, which are derived from volatile plant compounds, have sedative properties. The benefits include calming both the body and mind, which helps RLS-sufferers fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the night.
In addition to lavender, other effective oils are frankincense, marjoram, and calming blends of multiple oils.
Remember, before you dig too deep into comprehensive sleep solutions, be sure to first identify any triggers, and then consider a healthy alternative, such as essential oils. To supplement your “natural” efforts, here are some additional tips to take note of:
- What you eat and drink. Evening caffeine and late-night snacks can keep you up at night.
- Lighting or electronic devices in your bedroom. A bright alarm clock or other electronic lights can disrupt your sleep.
- What sort of activities you take part in before bed. Exercising right before bed can keep you up.
- High stress level. Relaxing your mind and body is important for a good night’s rest, in terms of both getting asleep and staying asleep.
Some of these things you can certainly fix on your own – regulating your diet, environment, etc. – without pills or even an organic remedy. But if you’re looking for something to relax you in the evening (or even during the day) consider lavender as your first step to getting a good night’s sleep.