Sleep deprivation occurs when an individual doesn’t get the amount of sleep needed to properly rest both the body and mind. Because the amount of sleep an individual requires can vary from person-to-person, there’s no hard fast rule to determine the amount of sleep that is considered sufficient. However, it is clear that when the body doesn’t receive the amount of sleep it requires, this creates health consequences.
Highlighted below is an explanation of sleep deprivation, its causes, and how to increase sleep time and quality.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
As noted previously, sleep deprivation is the result of being unable to achieve quality sleep that results in both long and short-term health consequences.1
This is one of the main causes of sleep deprivation. Sleep apnea is a fairly serious sleeping disorder that typically occurs when a person is unable to achieve optimal breathing patterns during sleep.2
Essentially, sleep apnea results in receiving insufficient oxygen in both the brain and body throughout a sleep cycle, which can be caused by direct blockage of the airway or the brain failing to signal the muscles to breathe during sleep. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea and fail to get treated risk experiencing moderate to severe sleep deprivation.
Primary risk factors for sleep apnea include:
Obesity or Being Overweight
This is one of the leading risk factors associated with sleep apnea because it can create the blockages in the airway capable of interrupting a sleep cycle. This interruption can lead to restlessness and an inability to achieve optimal sleep.
If you have sinus problems, a deviated septum, or severe allergies, you could be at an increased risk for sleep apnea as well.
Insomnia is another major cause of sleep deprivation. Insomnia is either the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. Insomnia can be a short-term issue for those with a moderate case. However, for those with chronic insomnia, the condition can last for years.3
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There are two distinct types of insomnia: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is when the insomnia is not caused by or related to a specific medical condition or medication. Whereas secondary insomnia is when it is a direct result of a specific medical condition or pain that may be preventing you from falling or staying asleep.
Risk factors for insomnia include:
If you are taking any sort of medication that might interfere with the ability to fall asleep, you’re going to be at a heightened risk for developing insomnia. There are various medications that might cause this, including but not limited to, antidepressants, stimulants, and ACE inhibitors.
Another cause of insomnia could come from specific medical conditions like acid reflux, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure.
Major Disruption in Circadian Rhythm
If you’re someone who works late shifts or unusual hours which keep you up at various times throughout the day, this might make you more likely to develop insomnia.
Essential Oils for Remedying Sleep Deprivation
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender has long been used to help people fall asleep. If you are dealing with sleep deprivation as a direct result of the inability to fall asleep, then lavender essential oil might help.
A study conducted in 2015 found that lavender essential oil was effective at boosting overall quality of sleep in women postpartum.4
Another study on the effects of lavender essential oil showed that it had a significant positive impact on the quality of sleep that shift nurses experienced after going through a night at work.5
Try using lavender essential oil topically after diluting it with a carrier oil like almond, coconut, or jojoba oil, in a bath, or aromatically in a room diffuser or personal aromatherapy diffuser like Relieve, Happy, Sexy, Sleepy, or Ocean MONQ.
Bergamot Essential Oil
Another effective essential oil for combating sleep deprivation and its symptoms is bergamot essential oil. A study conducted in 2016 showed that bergamot was effective at improving sleep for individuals experiencing significant sleep disturbances due to cancer symptoms.
In this study, over 94 percent of individuals who used bergamot essential oil to help with sleep reported positive effects and over 92 percent said that they would continue to use it.6
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary Sage is a particularly good oil to utilize for sleep disorders and sleep troubles because it has been shown to promote relaxation, therefore promoting better sleep quality.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Research has also shown that sandalwood can have sedative effects, allowing individuals to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Jasmine Essential Oil
Jasmine has also been shown to help improve overall sleep quality.
In a study conducted in 2002, individuals who were struggling with restless sleep reported significantly more restful sleep after inhalation of jasmine essential oil.7
How To Use Essential Oils
One of the most effective methods for using essential oil for combating sleep deprivation is through aromatherapy. Because aromatherapy introduces high concentrations of the essential oil safely, it can help provide the greatest potential benefits.
There are plenty of different products that could assist with using essential oils for aromatherapy like diffusers and portable essential oil diffusers.
Essential oils can also be applied topically after dilution with a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil. Additionally, some essential oils can be blended into a moisturizer or a lotion for additional health benefits and a lingering scent. Alternatively, try adding a few drops of an essential oil into a bath for double the relaxation.
Overall, there are many factors that can impact sleep quantity and quality. If you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, then you’re probably on the lookout to figure out what’s causing it. Once you identify that cause, you’re on the way to solving the issue, and along with a set plan to increase sleep time, essential oils can help.