Achieving quality sleep is important for both the body and mind. While the quantity of sleep you get is important, quality trumps it in every regard. After all, if you’re sleeping for seven to eight hours a night but constantly tossing and turning, your body is never able to fully cycle through different stages of sleep. Therefore, you’re unable to offer the body or mind the rest it requires.
Scent can be a powerful sense to leverage to achieve better quality of sleep, and combining the power of scent with the many benefits of essential oils can significantly enhance sleep quality.
Causes for Poor Sleep Quality
There are many issues that can directly impact the ability to either fall asleep or get quality sleep. For some, sleeping disorders might be causing a lack of sleep. For others, it could be directly tied to heightened stress levels, anxiety levels, or even an improper sleep schedule.
If you find yourself either unable to fall asleep or tired upon waking up, you are likely not getting enough quality sleep. With the devices available today to track sleep cycles, you can try to analyze what might be causing your sleep issues. And whether you’re unable to fall asleep entirely or you’re tossing and turning throughout the night, it’s worth trying to use the power of essential oils to remedy some of these issues.
How Scent Affects the Body and Mind
The sense of smell offers one of the most powerful connections in the brain. It is directly wired to the part of the brain responsible for emotions and memories. Information about scents travels through the olfactory nerve which passes the information to the brain’s limbic region, which also controls both emotional response and memory.
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Because of the powerful effects of scent on the human body, essential oils have long been used for a variety of purposes. Additionally, there have been a range of studies that highlight their effectiveness in improving sleep quality.
In fact, a 2016 study had 60 healthy participants inhale essential oils for three minutes. They were then asked to sleep with the essential oil directly next to their heads. The results showed that the inhalation of the essential oil significantly increased sleep quality in the participants.1
Essential Oils to Improve Sleep Quality
Clary Sage Essential Oil
One of the biggest inhibitors to an overall higher quality of sleep are high anxiety and stress levels. Thus, lowering these factors should help promote a better ability to not only fall asleep but stay asleep.
A 2014 study showed that clary sage essential oil has a direct impact on cortisol levels in menopausal women. As a result, stress levels were successfully reduced upon exposure to clary sage essential oil.2
Neroli Essential Oil
Neroli essential oil is a commonly-overlooked essential oil when it comes to its ability to promote enhanced sleep quality. While it is a common ingredient in many commercial perfumes due to its pleasant scent, it is underutilized in aromatherapy.
In a study conducted among patients admitted to Intensive Care Units, aromatherapy essential oils featuring a blend of lavender, chamomile, and neroli showed the ability to significantly reduce anxiety levels and increase the sleep quality of patients.3
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most widely-regarded essential oils when it comes to achieving the best quality sleep possible. Time and time again, lavender essential oil has been shown to be effective at promoting better sleep among those exposed to it.
Lavender is capable of serving as a mild sedative and can consequently be used to promote and help achieve deeper sleep in men and women.4
Additionally, lavender not only improves deep sleep, but subjects in the same study showed an increase in light sleep (stage 2) as well.
Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Roman chamomile oil is an ancient medicinal herb that is well-known for its stress-relieving effects. It has also been widely-regarded as a mild tranquilizer primarily because of its ability to introduce apigenin which binds to specific receptors in the brain that induce sleep.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Research has shown that sandalwood essential oil can be effective for reducing stress levels. Along with this, it has also been shown to have sedative effects. In a 2007 study on rats, sandalwood essential oil effectively increased non-REM sleep time.6
By combining the most effective essential oils for improving sleep quality, you should be able to enhance the effects that you are able to achieve with the aromatherapy sessions altogether.