Sleepy MONQ Therapeutic Fragrance® in a Room Diffuser Aids in Relaxation and Sleep

sleepy study

Introduction

Essential oils and botanical extracts have been used historically for therapeutic purposes. Aromatherapy is perhaps one of the most popular ways of delivering the therapeutic effects of plants and has been an integral part of cultures and societies for thousands of years. Although there is a plethora of scientific evidence demonstrating the physiological effects of specific plant-based derivates, there exists little evidence to demonstrate the efficacy of essential oil blends crafted by aromatherapy providers.

This study was designed to measure the effects of Sleepy MONQ Therapeutic Fragrance essential oil blend on sleep and relaxation. Based on existing literature on the specific ingredients of the blend1 as well as anecdotes from consumers, we hypothesized that breathing MONQ Sleepy while resting will increase relaxation and induce sleep.

A robust method to quantify relaxed states involves measuring brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG). Though this method is commonly associated with long-term sleep studies in clinical settings, recent studies have shown that EEG is a good technique for evaluating short-term nap studies 2, 3, 4. EEG is commonly used to detect electrical brain activity using small electrodes that rest on the scalp of the head. These electrodes capture the electrical impulses transmitted throughout the brain by neurons. These electrical impulses can be thought of as waves categorized into four main frequencies: delta (1–4 Hz), theta (4-8 Hz), alpha (8-13 Hz), and beta (13-30 Hz).

Delta waves have the lowest frequency and are most prominent during mid to late stages of sleep. Theta waves have a higher frequency than delta waves and are present during early stages of sleep. Alpha waves originate in the occipital region of the brain and are present during wakeful relaxed states. Beta waves are typically associated with alertness and memory retrieval, but are also present during deep sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.5 These waves were used to characterize the effect of MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend on resting and sleep states.

Methods

Our study design, adapted from Thilo Hinterberger’s work at Germany’s University Medical Center Regensburg 6, involved fitting subjects with a wireless 14-channel Emotiv EPOC EEG headset and asking them to relax and/or nap while their brain waves were recorded.

headset placement

Figure 1: Guide to placing Emotiv EEG sensors.

The study was conducted over two consecutive days, and subjects alternately used MONQ Sleepy and a placebo in a room diffuser. Baselines were measured by asking subjects to rest with their eyes open and eyes closed for five minutes, respectively. The room diffuser was then turned on, either prefilled 100 mL of pure filtered water (placebo) or 100 mL + 3 drops of MONQ Sleepy (treatment). Subjects were asked to rest with their eyes open for 60 seconds immediately after the diffuser was turned on, followed by a 20-minute nap session. Data was recorded continuously for the entirety of the experiment and epoched during post-processing.

A raw EEG dataset was exported from the EmotivPro software for each experiment and processed using EEGLAB, an open-source MATLAB toolbox for processing continuous EEG data. Each dataset was filtered with a high bandpass FIR filter at 0.1 Hz, a low bandpass FIR filter at 60 Hz, and a notch filter at 50 Hz. A continuous data rejection was performed and the data was linearly re-transformed using the channel average as a reference. An individual component analysis was performed, followed by a principal component analysis to cluster the data into separately 14 channels, and 1 parent cluster. Wave powers were then calculated for the four waves: delta, theta, alpha, beta.

Results

Among a group of men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 (N=6), we observed an overall increase in wave power over all frequencies while using MONQ Sleepy in a room diffuser (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). The increase in beta activity is surprising, but not irregular. Though beta waves are typically associated with alertness, beta rhythms can be present during deep sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Beta waves are also associated with memory, which some subjects reported during the sleep session.

increased wave power

Figure 1: Sleepy increased wave power in all four frequencies by an average of 3%.

Measurements from the second half of the sleep session were compared to the baseline measurements (5 min resting with eyes closed). An increase in alpha, delta, and theta are all correlated with relaxed states, supporting the hypothesis that MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend enhances relaxed and sleep states. The increase in beta activity is surprising, but not irregular. Though beta waves are typically associated with alertness, beta rhythms are also present during deep sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Beta waves are also associated with memory retrieval, which some subjects reported while resting during the sleep session. Filtered water was used as a negative control (blank) and MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend was used as the treatment. (n=6)

Topographic distribution shows increased wave power in all frequencies with MONQ Sleepy.

brain scans

Figure 2: Topographic distribution shows increased wave power in all frequencies with MONQ Sleepy.

To compare the wave power across conditions visually, topographic distributions for each participant were overlaid. The bottom right quadrant depicts the brain after breathing in MONQ Sleepy for 60 seconds and while resting for 20 minutes, respectively. There is a marked increase in all wave frequencies. (N=6)

Alpha+theta activity was used to quantify relaxed states. We observed an increase in alpha+theta activity starting at the beginning of the sleep session (Fig. 3). The effect was most prominent during the second half of the session, marked Sleep2 in Fig. 3, where alpha+theta activity had the highest increase. There was a marked decrease in alpha+theta activity during the 60-second wait during which the diffuser was turned on. One explanation could be the novelty of the fragrance and subsequent stimulating effect on the brain, which would decrease alpha+theta activity.

alpha theta wave power

Figure 3: MONQ’s Sleepy increased alpha+theta wave power during the sleep session.

Alpha+theta is often used to characterize resting and sleep states. Alpha waves originate in the occipital region of the brain and are present during wakeful relaxed states. Theta waves have a lower frequency than alpha waves and are present during early stages of sleep. We observed an increase in alpha+theta activity starting at the beginning of the sleep session. The increase was most prominent during the second half of the session (Sleep2). This finding suggests that MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend promotes relaxed states and can induce sleep. One explanation for decreased alpha+theta activity during the 60-second wait could be the novelty of the fragrance, which would increase alertness and decrease alpha+theta activity. Filtered water was used as a negative control (blank) and MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend was used as the treatment. (n=6)

A deeper analysis of alpha+theta activity during the second half of the sleep session revealed a statistically significant difference between using a room diffuser with water (control, M=62.33, SD=5.06) and a room diffuser with MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend (treatment, M=65.84, SD=4.80), p=<0.05 (Fig. 4A). Cohen’s effect size value (d=0.72) suggested a moderate to high practical significance. Further, there was a statistically significant difference in theta+delta activity between the control (M=62.33, SD=5.06) and treatment (M=65.84, SD=4.80), p=<0.05, with a similar Cohen’s effect size value (d=0.72) (Fig. 4B).

alpha theta brainwaves increased

Figure 4: Alpha+Theta and Theta+Delta waves increased after using MONQ’s Sleepy in a room diffuser.

Alpha and theta waves are often used to characterize resting and sleep states. Alpha waves originate in the occipital region of the brain and are present during wakeful relaxed states. Theta waves have a lower frequency than alpha waves and are present during early stages of sleep. A) There was a statistically significant difference in alpha+theta activity between using a room diffuser with water (M=62.33, SD=5.06) and a room diffuser with MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend (M=65.84, SD=4.80), p=<0.05, Cohen’s d=0.72. B) There was a statistically significant difference in theta+delta activity between using a room diffuser with water (M=72.43, SD=4.36) and a room diffuser with MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend (M=75.65, SD=5.31), p=<0.05, Cohen’s d=0.67.

The mid to large effect size can be interpreted in the context of standard deviation, such that the wave power of an individual in a treatment group is approximately 0.7 standard deviations above the wave power of an individual in a control group. These findings suggest that MONQ’s Sleepy essential oil blend is effective in inducing relaxed states and can be used to promote sleep. Future directions include measuring the efficacy of Sleepy MONQ Therapeutic Fragrance with a range of blend concentrations, as well as timing the onset of sleep in a longer session.


Aaron

By Aaron Williams

Aaron is an freelance writer and avid fan of anything having to do with essential oils. In his spare time he can be found taking care of his 2 cats and exploring the world of virtual reality.

Favorite MONQ blend: Sleepy

Show Comments Hide Comments

The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers.

May 25, 2019Mental Health

Music Therapy and Your Mental Health

Traditional mental health therapies focus on therapy (of the spoken kind) and medications, with perhaps the odd advice to exercise more or to find other ways to improve your lifestyle. More and more, however, alternative options, such as treatments involving time outdoors or with animals are being employed as complements to the two primary options. […]

Read More

May 25, 2019Fitness

The Vital Connection Between Fitness and Health

The terms “fitness” and “health” are used frequently to describe people that are in an especially good condition. But, what does it mean to be truly fit? Does it mean having a chiseled muscular physique? More importantly, how does being fit contribute to a healthy life? If you have ever puzzled about such questions, you […]

Read More

Join MONQ's Newsletter

MONQ helps you choose the way you feel – and Feel the Way you want!

Welcome!

Thanks to your MONQ Ambassador,
you now have a 10% discount automatically added to your cart 🎉.

Auto-Ship is convenient and fast.

Loading your cart...