Insomnia And Essential Oils
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where people have difficulty falling asleep or having a good night rest. In America, millions of people suffer from insomnia—unable to rest adequately after an exhausting day. Often we find ourselves turning uncomfortably in the bed, unable to shut off our minds, unable to push out the myriad of thoughts clouding our heads.
Sleep is an essential part of life that we often do not get enough of and is just as important as food and water is to our health and survival. Medically, it is easier for one to stay alive for days without food than without sleep. According to National Sleep Foundation, adults within the age range of 26-64 require seven to nine sleeping hours daily, while those above 65 require seven to eight hours. Usually, insomnia is an independent occurrence, but can be a result of another health condition or using drugs like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
Types of Insomnia
There are three categories – transient, acute and chronic insomnia.
Transient insomnia: This often lasts less than a week and is caused by disorders like a change in environment, depression, or stress.
Acute insomnia: This is a disruption in sleeping pattern for less than a month. It is often a result of daytime schedules and is sometimes called stress-related insomnia or short-term insomnia.
Chronic insomnia: This lasts for more than a month and is often accompanied by other conditions like muscular weariness, hallucinations, mental fatigue and double vision.
What Causes Insomnia?
Stress is the leading cause of insomnia in the world. Other factors that contribute to insomnia are:
- Hormonal imbalances (during menstruation or menopause)
- Neurological disorders
- Pain, resulting from injury
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Use of psychoactive drugs (such as stimulants)
- Use or withdrawal from pain relievers
- Emotional stress
- Working late night shifts
Our List of The Best Essential Oils for Insomnia
Without using sleeping pills or sedatives to induce sleep (they have long-term effects), there are essential oils that can help you reduce sleepless nights. These essential oils have proven sedative properties that will contribute to calming a disturbed mind and promote good night rest. The following are the most popular oils for insomnia.
Unarguably the most popular of all essential oils, Lavender oil is extracted from a plant in the mint family. The delicious and pleasant aroma of Lavender oil makes it a preferred essential oil for insomnia. It predominantly contains alcohols and esters and has many therapeutic properties. Scientific research has shown that Lavender oil has sleep-inducing effects; helps calm the mind and soothe the body. Lavender oil will help you relieve stress and get a good night rest. You can use Lavender essential oil for insomnia as a massage oil, a bath oil, or with a diffuser.
Sweet Marjoram Oil
Many have reported they fell in love with marjoram oil at first smell. It has a sweet smelling fragrance that can trigger happy feelings in a depressed spirit, help you relax and get a good night rest. Marjoram has sedative and analgesic properties that work both as a stress reliever and to lower blood pressure. It is also an excellent essential oil for sleep apnea and snoring. You can use Marjoram alone, or blend with Roman Chamomile and Lavender oil. Either way, you will get a good night rest.
Studies have shown that the smoke from burning Frankincense oil can ease anxiety and depression. Frankincense oil has Incensole acetate as one of its compounds, and it is primarily responsible for its sedative effects. Using this oil before going to bed can help you sleep soundly. You can combine this oil with Lavender oil to enhance its sedative effects.
Roman Chamomile Oil
This oil has a floral aroma and has been used for centuries as a relaxing oil. Chamomile is an essential oil to help babies sleep – and adults too. It soothes the nervous system and can help relieve stress. You can mix Roman Chamomile with Lavender oil to get an even powerful blend.
To enjoy the therapeutic benefits of this oil, use it with your diffuser. Alternatively, dilute with a carrier oil and massage to the bottom of your feet before going to bed. You can also mix with your body lotion or shampoo.
Valerian oil has valeric acid, a component largely responsible for its sedative properties. It modulates the GABA receptor and represses the breakdown of GABA to cause sedation. It is one of the best essential oils for insomnia. It is one of the best essential oils for deep sleep. You can use this oil topically by applying to the bottom of your feet or around your wrist.
Clary Sage Oil
Through its effects on GABA receptors, Clary Sage Oil works similarly to Valerian oil. In a study done to assess the power of Clary Sage Oil as a stress reliever compared with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile oil, Clary Sage was discovered to outperform all the other oils. Aside from being an excellent anti-stressor, it can also help people with depression.
Orange Oil has a citrusy aroma and is excellent for insomnia caused by stress. Like other citrus-based oil, it can uplift your spirit, soothe your body and relieve depression. Due to the photosensitivity of citrus oils, do not expose your skin to sunlight within 12 hours of use. Preferably, I would suggest you use in the night before going to bed. You can use orange oil with your diffuser, or rub the diluted oil on your abdomen.
Cedarwood oil has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic, and antidepressant properties, making it excellent for inducing relaxation and sleep. It has a warming and comforting aroma that helps relieve depression, loneliness, and trigger a happy feeling. Cedarwood oil works by stimulating the pineal gland, releasing melatonin –important for sleep regulation. Use Cedarwood with a diffuser, or rub the diluted oil on your forehead, wrist, and the back of your neck.
Sandalwood is another essential oil that can help calm your mind and get a good night rest. You can use alone or blend with other essential oils. Other essential oils to try are Spikenard oil, Lemon oil, Mandarin oil, Bergamot oil, and Ylang-Ylang oil.
How to use Essential Oils for insomnia
The following are suggestions on how to use essential oils effectively for insomnia:
Diffusing: Using aromatherapy for insomnia is a proven way to get sound sleep. Both electric and candle diffusers can be used. You can diffuse the essential oil for 45 minutes before going to bed. For economic purposes, set a timer for the diffuser, so it doesn’t run throughout the night.
Warm Bath: Add 6-8 drops of essential oils or blends to your warm bath water to get a refreshed spirit and relieve insomnia. If you already use a bath oil, you can mix it with essential oils.
Massage Oil: Having your body massaged with essential oil blend can help you relax and wind out after a long day.
Spritzer: You can mix essential oils with distilled water and use in a water spritzer. Spray around the house and on your pillow.
Steaming: Add a few drops of essential oils to a bowl containing hot water. Face the bowl and inhale the steam escaping. Preferably, cover your head with a towel.
Essential Oil Blend for Insomnia
Recipe 1 – Good sleep blend
- 75 drops lavender oil
- 45 drops sweet marjoram oil
- 30 drops roman chamomile oil
- 30 drops bergamot oil
- 6 drops ylang-ylang oil
- 6 drops valerian oil
Mix the ingredients and store in a 15ml dark glass bottle. Shake well and store in a cool dark place.
Other Natural Treatments for Insomnia
Diet: Adjusting your diet is the first step to ensuring a good night sleep. When foods don’t digest well, it can disturb your intestines, cause heartburns, or gas. Also, consuming too much sugar and carbs can prevent you from having a comfortable sleep. Drop the excess carbohydrate and incorporate more of green vegetables, healthy fats, magnesium and potassium into your diet.
Exercise regularly: It doesn’t have to be a hard workout session. You can go swimming, do yoga, take walks or go hiking with your family.
Listen to music: Sometimes, listening to quiet music at bedtime can lure you to sleep.
Relieve Stress: The inability to shut the brain off for the night is common with insomnia patients. For starters, avoid taking phones or other electronic gadgets to bed. Studies have shown that they disrupt melatonin and activate arousal neurons.
Avoid Caffeine: Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks after 4 pm so your sleep doesn’t get disturbed.