Scents strongly influence how we feel — case and point, the tickling aroma of freshly baked cookies, and how they warm us from the inside.
When we smell something nice, our olfactory nerve sends signals directly to the amygdala and limbic system, the brain sections responsible for mood and memory. That’s the reason why certain scents can immediately uplift your spirits or recall some of your favorite memories.
Aromatherapy is recognized as a form of alternative medicine that relies on the sense of smell. Practitioners of this form of treatment use essential oils extracted from plants to heal your mind, body, and soul.
Essential oils can be used to relieve several ailments such as migraines, boosting your moods, or helping with insomnia which is what we’ll be discussing at length below.
How Essential Oils Work
When essential oils get into your body, they interact with your olfactory system (the “smell system”) and the limbic system which is your “emotional brain.” The essential oil molecules dispersed in the air make their way into your brain once you inhale.
Essential oils also cause the brain to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, responsible for mood. Not only do these neurotransmitters make you calm, but serotonin is required to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps you feel sleepy during bedtime.
How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep
There are three ways to help you get the most out of your essential oils:
- Inhalation: This is the most common method of using essential oils. You have to use a diffuser.
- Application to the skin: Similar to how CBD tincture for sleep works, the oil molecules get in your body through the skin when applied to the skin. Because essential oils are volatile, applying them to your skin will also allow you to inhale them because a little bit of them will evaporate.
Before applying essential oils to the skin, you should dilute them first because they’re very concentrated. You should apply a small amount in an area of your skin to ensure compatibility first.
- Ingestion: You can add essential oils to food and drinks, but this isn’t recommended if you don’t have the proper medical guidance. The risks far outweigh the benefits, and there are far much better ways to take them.
Using any of the above methods will help you get some shut-eye. Essential oils for sleep can be categorized in two — some give you a soothing effect to help you sleep, while others help clear your airways for easier breathing, allowing you to fall asleep much faster.
How to Pick Essential Oils for Sleep
It’s a good thing that certain essential oils are a natural sleep remedy. When used in the right manner and proper proportions, you’ll find yourself in dreamland in no time. Here are some of the best essential oils for sleep.
Lavender oil is well known for its versatile benefits, but its contribution to helping you sleep is one of the main ones. Numerous studies have shown that inhaling lavender oil is an effective remedy for keeping insomnia at bay.
It’s effective for sleep because of its other benefits, including lowering the temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Incidentally, all these processes help shut down the body while it eases into sleep. Lavender oil is also great as an anti-anxiety, which is vital to help you relax at the end of the day.
Similar to peppermint oil, Eucalyptus oil has a naturally relaxing aroma and a very potent sinus-clearing remedy. If you suffer from excessive phlegm production when you’re close to sleeping, eucalyptus oil will help clear out your airways. The dual benefit of this essential oil makes it a great option to give you a good night’s sleep.
Peppermint isn’t a traditional sleep aid, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great for promoting restful sleep. It helps by clearing your mind both literally and figuratively. Peppermint has a relaxing and pleasant aroma, but one of the main reasons it’s on this list is that it’s effective against dust or any seasonal allergies. It will help ease your symptoms quickly and much better.
And once you relieve your sore nasal airways, relaxation comes easily, and you’ll be fast asleep in no time.
Chamomile oil is often associated with soothing and relaxing effects. It has been used as a relaxant for a long time because of its sedative effects. It has apigenin which binds to your benzodiazepine receptors.
Besides applying to the skin, Chamomile oil can be brewed into a tea and enjoyed to bring a relaxing sensation. The soothing sensations it offers are a gateway to deep sleep.
As you use essential oils, please pay attention to how you feel and react with your body. Essential oils are not in any way a treatment for any sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. You can, however, use it for mild snoring, which isn’t related to sleep apnea.
Use essential oils in combination with the therapy prescribed by your doctor. If you suffer from any sleep disorder, it’s best to contact your physician first before deciding to take any essential oil for insomnia.