Fatigue vs. Tiredness
Almost everyone has experienced the symptoms of tiredness. In fact, it’s quite common to want to sleep in a bit later on a Monday morning or hit a slump in the middle of the afternoon. Fatigue, however, can be more than just general tiredness. Rather, the lack of mental and physical energy or motivation makes working or socializing seem difficult. 1
Exhaustion can have multiple explanations. Fatigue can occur because of too much or too little physical activity, lack of sleep, an unhealthy diet, excessive exercise, or a range of other physical and mental illnesses. 2 It can often be remedied by identifying its underlying cause and changing habits accordingly.
Another way to help relieve or prevent fatigue, however, is by using essential oils. Different oils bring different benefits. For instance they can calm the mind or create a relaxing environment for a peaceful night of rest. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, essential oils can help you feel more energized to take on the day.
Top Essential Oils for Relieving Fatigue
Each type of essential oil has a unique chemical makeup that provides it with a range of health benefits.
Some essential oils can even affect the mind to help users feel more awake or more relaxed. The following are a few ways essential oils can fight fatigue. Do note, however, that essential oils are not appropriate for treating insomnia, but rather for assisting with that occasional restless night's sleep.
If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed or feel tired before lunchtime, you might be looking for a quick way to relieve that fatigue. Instead of going through the day irritable and unmotivated, try aromatherapy with some of the oils highlighted below to naturally get yourself started.
Grapefruit, Lemon, and Sweet Orange
Citrus oils such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit offer a powerfully uplifting aroma shown to positively alter mood. In fact, the use of citrus essential oils like sweet orange can help individuals deal with stress by stimulating the mind and the senses. 3
Grapefruit and other citrus essential oils can even benefit the immune system, making individuals feel healthy and ready to take on the day. Lemon essential oil is particularly adept at energizing, while its antioxidant properties help detoxify the body.
For a natural charge in the morning or afternoon, use citrus oils separately or blended together. Try putting a few drops of high-quality, pure grade lemon oil in a glass of water first thing in the morning, or mix some citrus scents together in a diffuser for an energizing aromatherapy session. Whenever you need a pick-me-up, dilute the oil and apply topically throughout the day.
Peppermint and Eucalyptus
Mint oils, like peppermint and eucalyptus, provide a powerful breath of fresh air to pull you out of drowsiness and motivate you to get things done. Peppermint oil has been shown to improve performance when exercising as it fights fatigue of the mind and body, while eucalyptus offers a range of healing properties that help keep the entire body energized. 4
Mint essential oils are superstars at fighting fatigue due to illness. Try a peppermint and eucalyptus combination in the shower to relieve symptoms of colds. Alternatively, massage onto sore and stiff muscles for relief.
Black Pepper, Ginger, and Basil
Seasonings aren’t just for the kitchen! Essential oils derived from certain herbs and spices provide many health benefits, including fighting fatigue.
Basil essential oil energizes naturally to reduce sluggishness and clear mental fog. Black pepper essential oil can maintain health and some even use it as part of a pre-workout routine. Ginger oil keeps energy levels steady, even if you missed out on sleep.
Use these oils aromatically to increase energy. Alternatively, a few drops of black pepper or ginger essential oils can be diluted and rubbed onto the bottoms of the feet for quick absorption that warms the body.
Stop hitting the snooze button and put down the coffee—there are many ways to increase energy naturally . Using essential oils in the morning is a great way to jumpstart the day and improve productivity. Try blending energizing oils like citrus, rosemary, black pepper, or peppermint in a diffuser while you get ready.
Promote Deep Sleep at Night
Perhaps you find yourself fatigued after a restless night. While most of us have experienced tossing and turning, a consistent inability to sleep can lead to chronic fatigue. Creating a relaxing environment before bed can help improve sleep quality and prevent fatigue.
In addition to the use of essential oils, sticking to a schedule, exercising, investing in a cool mattress, and keeping the room cool can help you fall and stay asleep. Note, of course, that if you have insomnia, you should consult a physician, as essential oils are not treatment for insomnia.
It’s no surprise that lavender essential oil tops the list of essential oils that promote sleep, but its benefits are more than just folklore. Study after scientific study has found that lavender essential oil effectively improves sleep quality. 5 Additionally, the oil has been shown to calm you. 6
Lavender is inexpensive and easy to find and use. Try putting a few drops of the essential oil in a diffuser or spraying a lavender oil and water mixture on your pillow before bed. Alternatively, apply it topically to the wrists and behind the ears. There are also many lavender-based products such as lotions, makeup removers, and even stuffed animals.
Just like having a warm cup of tea, using chamomile essential oil before bed promotes relaxation and rest. Chamomile is similar to lavender in that it reduces stress and improves sleep quality. Additionally, some research suggests that the light, floral aroma of chamomile can reduce the frequency of nightmares. 7
Take advantage of the calming properties of chamomile by using it in a diffuser before going to sleep. It blends well with other oils, like lavender, to produce a soothing aroma that puts the whole body at ease.
Bergamot , while technically a citrus fruit, is a lot different than the stimulating oils we’ve already discussed. The oil is serene and grounding. Several studies have also found bergamot oil can induce physiological changes that accompany sleep. 8
While bergamot essential oil can be applied topically, it is incredibly photosensitive and can make your skin more prone to the negative effects of UV rays. If you use bergamot oil on the skin before bed, be sure to wash off any remnants before going outside the next day. Otherwise, the oil makes a great addition to an aromatherapy session when paired with lavender.
One of the easiest ways to prevent fatigue is to get a good night’s sleep in the first place. It’s not enough to just lay in bed for eight hours! Prevent tossing and turning by using essential oils to promote deep, restful sleep. Try spraying some lavender, sandalwood, or chamomile oil on your pillow before bed .
You don’t need to feel constantly exhausted to suffer from fatigue. Even if your body feels rested, a mental fog can put a damper on the day. Clear your mind and focus your energy by using the following essential oils.
Rosemary and Sage
Herbs, especially in essential oil form, are much more than a tasty addition to a meal. Certain oils can benefit the mind. Rosemary , for instance, has been shown to improve cognition, alertness, and memory recall. 9
Sage essential oil is also known for increasing concentration and focus. 10
Both rosemary and sage can be used aromatically and are light enough scents to smell directly from the bottle. Use them in the afternoon for a boost in concentration, or combine with lemon oil to create an environment of energized focus.
Cypress, Cedarwood, and Pine
Trees are a powerful symbol as they stand tall and grow readily—their essential oils are no different. In fact, many types of oils derived from trees are used in yogic practices for their ability to ground users.
Cypress essential oil is emotionally soothing as it replaces stress with clarity and focus. The warming effects of cedarwood help relax the body while stimulating the mind. On the other hand, the sharp scent of pine promotes alertness as it removes mental fog, clearing the mind.
Use these oils in a diffuser for invigorating aromatherapy, or diluted and applied topically. They mix well with lemon or peppermint essential oils for added energy.
It is easy to experience stress after working a long day or not getting enough sleep. Even if you are well-rested, a big project or an important meeting is enough to induce mental fatigue.
Use ylang-ylang aromatically when you feel stressed. With the convenience of a portable aromatherapy diffuser , you can experience the calming effects of ylang-ylang wherever you go.
If you find your focus dwindling or eyes dropping at any point in the day, try reaching for essential oils instead of an energy drink.
Safety and Precautions
Remedying fatigue can be simple with essential oils, but be sure to use them carefully and according to package instructions. Oils should always be diluted before topical application and should not be used by individuals who are nursing or pregnant.
Furthermore, essential oils should not be used in place of sleep, quality nutrition, or to treat chronic conditions, or in fact any medical conditions.
While essential oils provide a range of benefits to the mind and body, they are not a treatment or cure for more severe conditions. Fatigue can be severe enough to require medical intervention.
You should schedule an appointment with a doctor if:
- Your fatigue becomes chronic,
- You develop chest pain, irregular heartbeat, or shortness of breath,
- You experience stomach or back pain, or
- For any other serious condition, including insomnia.
Talk with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that works for you. Essential oils can play a role alongside medical treatment in providing relief from fatigue.
At the end of the day, getting a good night’s sleep and leading a healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense in fighting fatigue. However, exhaustion can affect almost anyone in spite of your best efforts. Essential oils can be a great choice to minimize or remedy fatigue naturally.
Experiment with different oil combinations to meet individual needs like increasing energy, improving focus, or promoting relaxation.
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