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Aromatherapy & Sleep Issues

Using Essential Oils to Promote Good Sleep

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Aromatherapy essential oils can be used to relax, reduce stress and alleviate snoring, increasing the likelihood of a good night”s sleep.

Shakespeare said, “To sleep perchance to dream.” Sleep is a crucial component of human life, indeed all mammal, reptile and bird life, so much so that whole rooms are dedicated to it, research is done on it and the lack of it is discussed ad nauseum around water coolers and kitchen tables everywhere. Sleep helps to refresh, restore and heal the body and the brain.

How Much Sleep Does an Adult Need?

According to webmd.com, a typical adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep per night, although some people only need five hours and others need 10. When a person runs a “sleep deficit,” meaning they have not had enough sleep in previous nights, then they will require more sleep in subsequent nights.

Sleep Quality

Although the quantity of sleep is important, quality of sleep is also significant. According to the Better Sleep Council of Canada, six hours of uninterrupted sleep is better than eight hours of disturbed sleep. Disturbed sleep usually includes periods of wakefulness and/or periods of tossing and turning. It can also include difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty waking.

What Causes Sleep Problems?

There are many causes of sleep problems including:

  • Pain. Pain can cause difficulty in getting to sleep and staying asleep. Pain medications may help alleviate this but some have added side effects.
  • Poor Diet. Caffeine, alcohol and a large snack before bed can all cause sleep disturbances. Drinking any fluids before bedtime can make some people prone to wake to go to the bathroom.
  • Bedroom Temperature. A bedroom which is too warm or too cold can affect sleep. The ideal bedroom temperature is about 60º
  • Bed. Uncomfortable beds can cause back pain as well as make people need to toss and turn more than usual. Ensure the bed is no more than 10 years old and is appropriately designed and manufactured.
  • Noise and Light. People sleep best when their environment is quiet and dark. Remove any sources of noise or light.
  • Snoring. Either partner”s snoring can cause sleep disturbance.
  • Anxiety. Emotional turmoil, anxiety and stress can all cause a person to lie awake worrying or wake up suddenly and be unable to return to sleep while the mind is racing.

How Essential Oils Can Help with Sleep Problems

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways to help alleviate sleep problems. Some of the best essential oils to aid a good nights rest are Benzoin essential oil, Chamomile (R) essential oil, Lavender essential oil, Marjoram essential oiland Vetivert essential oil. If snoring is causing sleeplessness, try a combination of geranium and marjoram essential oil added to a cotton ball and placed inside the pillowcase. If worries, emotional problems and anxiety are causing sleep disturbance, add five drops of lavender essential oil to a warm bath before you go to bed. Alternatively add one drop each of lavender, marjoram and chamomile to a footbath or an aromatherapy diffuser. Massage, with two drops of essential oil to five milliliters of vegetable oil and gently massaged into neck chest and shoulders, can relieve tension and anxiety.

For general relaxation, try the above essential oils singly or in combination to create a unique, custom blend.

Using essential oils to relax, reduce stress and alleviate snoring can help to increase the likelihood of a good night sleep.

Sources:

Better Sleep Council of Canada. www.bettersleep.ca. Website viewed March 24, 2010.

Webmd.com. Sleep Disorders Health Clinic. Website viewed March 24, 2010.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. 1990. “The Fragrant Pharmacy”


This article was first published at Suite 101 on March 24, 2010 and is republished here as per the terms of our agreement with Suite 101. Visit Suite 101 to read all of our articles.

*This is educational information and any opinions expressed here-in do not replace professional medical advice. If you are ill, see a suitably qualified medical practitioner.*

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