Essential oils have become a mainstay in the modern world as a means of improving overall health. One of the most common ways to use essential oils is by diffusing them into the air. This allows the oils to be absorbed through the lungs, which can provide a host of benefits, including improved sleep.
Essential Oils and Sleep: Why Are People Not Getting The Sleep They Need?
We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important for our health, but many of us are not getting the rest we need. There are many reasons why people have trouble sleeping, including stress, anxiety, and noise levels. But one of the main reasons people have difficulty sleeping is because they are not getting the right type of sleep.
Most people think that sleep is just a matter of turning off the lights and going to bed, but sleep is a complex process that involves several different stages. Most people only achieve two or three of these stages during an average night’s sleep, which can lead to problems such as difficulty falling asleep, restless sleep, and poor sleep quality.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to improve your sleep cycle and get the rest you need. One of the best ways to improve your sleep is by using essential oils. Essential oils have been shown to be extremely effective at promoting relaxation and helping people fall asleep.
Organic Aromas spoke to a group of sleep and aromatherapy experts so that we can hack our way into deep slumber naturally.
Since 1990, Adora Winquist has been a visionary in the nascent field of Quantum Alchemy and a pioneer in the field of vibrational medicine and aromatherapeutic healing.
She is known for establishing one of the first brands to combine aromatherapy and energy healing on a national scale, evolving it into a world-renowned, award-winning company.
She is the co-author of “Detox, Nourish, Activate: Plant and Vibrational Medicine for Energy, Mood, and Love.” This revolutionary book guides readers along the path of self-mastery and the ultimate expression of their personal truth.
Among a full collection of products and services, she offers facilitation, education, and guided ceremony/meditation, along with custom vibrational medicine/aromatherapy blends at AdoraWinquist.com. When she isn’t supporting others on their healing journey, Adora can be found spending time with her alpha-male counterpart and two young daughters.
Organic Aromas: Give us a brief history of your expertise where sleep matters are concerned.
Adora: Over the past two decades I have worked with thousands of customers and clients in the field of alternative medicine and in particular aromatherapy, to have better quality relaxation and sleep. These two aspects of wellness go hand in hand. Our ability to be able to relax our body, mind and spirit are intrinsic to good quality sleep which is in turn a healthy nervous system response to stress and our ability to drift off into deep, restorative rest phases of sleep.
I created one of the first national aromatherapy brands to address mood and wellness and my current brand and formulations include the first nano particle essential oil formulas for sleep: another innovation in the field of aromatherapy. My latest book Detox Nourish Activate: Plant & Vibrational Medicine for Energy, Mood and Love focuses on aspects of self-care in the healing process and how the brain and nervous system regulate our ability to rest and repose. The book is filled with interventions and DIY formulas like the one below:
Soothing Lavender Sleep Spray
• 11 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
• 2 drops Mandarin essential oil (Citrus reticulata)
• 1 drop German Chamomile essential oil (Matricaria recutita)
• 2 drops Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
Blend into 30 ml of distilled water and shake well before use. Mist bed-
room and pillows before retiring for a restful night’s sleep.
Excerpt from Detox Nourish Activate: Plant & Vibrational Medicine for Energy, Mood & Love by Adora Winquist and Lulu Shimek, ND
What causes sleep disorders like insomnia?
Many factors contribute to sleep disorders like insomnia. Typically associated with the nervous system, insomnia can arise from stress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), hormonal imbalances, anxiety and depression. Adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout as it is often referenced, can also contribute to sleep disruptions.
Can aromatherapy help people sleep better?
The right essential oils (quality as well as variety) in the correct formulation have the ability to literally shift our mood, our thoughts, our conscious awareness, and therefore our overall physiological response. This makes essential oils perhaps one of the most effective ways to encourage and enhance sleep, balance stress response and address nervous system imbalances including insomnia.
Biochemically active, essential oils contain sometimes hundreds of chemical constituents that contribute to their aromatic profile as well as their physiological benefits. For example, one of the main chemical constituents of Lavender, linalool, contributes to the nervine nature of this tremendously versatile and calming oil. From an alchemical perspective, aromatics represent the spirit, or the “quintessence” of the plant. Their energetic nature offers us a profound ability to open, access, and actualize our highest nature and potential for a vibrant life rich in all facets of health and harmony.
Please explain to us why essential oils work
Essential oils work in a multitude of ways, but the most immediate and sustainable way is inhalation. This is because of the proximity of the nose to the brain, specifically the limbic system, which regulates so much of our physiology including mood, memory and emotion and nervous system regulation. Uniquely, in part due to their molecular size, essential oils pass through the blood-brain barrier, providing important phyto-nutrients throughout our body. This aspect, along with their vibrational nature, allow us to absorb the chemical components and balance our brain-body chemistry. This brings healing to the nervous system to reset, re-regulate and balance our overall physiology including our ability to sleep deeply and restoratively.
Essential oils are also absorbed through the dermal layer of the skin. There are numerous variables in timing and absorption rates that are individual, environmental and plant specific. Have you ever peeled a clove of garlic and rubbed it on the sole of your foot? About a minute or so later, you can actually taste it on your breath. This is the power of the essential oils absorbing through your bloodstream. I love to use essential oils in the mind-body practice of tapping on meridian points to clear and balance our calm and center emotions. We are longing for deeper contact, now more than ever.
Massage synergizes touch and aromatics to enhance our connection with ourselves through communion with another. This releases healthy brain chemicals, like oxytocin. This is imperative for optimizing our brain chemistry and mind-body vitality.
Rest & Restore Massage Oil
• 3 drops Roman chamomile essential oil (Chamaemelum nobile)
• 5 drops Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
• 6 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Blend into a 30 ml bottle of your favorite carrier.
From a vibrational and energetic perspective, essential oils assist us in opening our auric field, chakras, and meridian points for clearing, balancing and expansion of self-awareness. They become an anchor for our intentions and a means for us to come to a greater understanding of the limitless potential of human nature and the grand importance of self-love and compassion through self-care. These oils encourage us to embrace the sacredness of the earth beneath our feet and the divine consciousness that surrounds us in benevolence in each and every moment. Essential oils gently awaken the ancient wisdom within our spirits, encouraging us to claim our greatness.
What are the best essential oils for sleep in your experience?
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Relaxing and restorative, beneficial for anxiousness and sleep.
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin): Grounding and calming, beneficial for anxiousness and scattered thinking.
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens): Centering and uplifting, beneficial for acne, anxiousness, hormonal and emotional balance.
Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): Soothing and comforting, beneficial to balance stress, insomnia
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): Tranquil and balancing, beneficial to deepen breath and oxygenates the cells, good for insomnia and relaxation.
Talk to us about essential oil safety and what people should avoid
In terms of safety, just because something is natural, doesn’t always mean it is safe. Context is key. Safety in usage and blending is a voluminous topic. Here are a few key points:
Standard considerations: Keep out of reach of children and pets. Consult a trained practitioner before using with children under 3, if pregnant, or under the care of a physician for epilepsy. Do not use oils internally. Dilute with a carrier oil for use on the skin. Do your research. Check to see what oils may be skin irritants. Do not use citrus oils topically before sun exposure. In this form of plant medicine, less is, more often than not, best. Store your oils in a cool, dark area.
Give us your final remarks on essential oil and sleep
Two of my favorite practices for rest and sleep using essential oils are hydrotherapy and meditation. The warm water increases the skin absorption of the essential oils. Adding epsoms salt provides another element of soothing and restoration. To avoid potential skin irritation, blend the oils in coconut oil or other carrier before adding to the bath. Generally speaking, 7-10 drops of an essential oil or synergy is effective for your aromatic bath.
• 3 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
• 4 drops Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
• 2 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil (Chamaemelum nobile)
Blend essential oils in a carrier, add 3 cups of epsom salts and soak for at least 20 minutes.
Alex is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and the Founder of SleepingOcean.com. Helping people to improve their sleep is one of his key goals at SleepingOcean. Alex has been featured on The New York Times, Healthline, WeddingWire, NewsBreak and more.
“The reason why certain essential oils may affect one’s sleep quality is that the chemicals released by natural oils can stimulate the amygdala. This brain part plays a role in emotions and certain behaviors. By affecting this section of the brain, people can also influence some physiological functions, including blood pressure and heart rate.
Sleep-inducing essential oils can help lower the heart rate. This typically promotes relaxation and can help people fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restorative rest.
The most effective essential oils for sleep are lavender, chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, sage, ylang-ylang, peppermint, and marjoram. However, many of them have a strong, distinct scent that may seem too distracting for some sleepers. That’s why my personal favorite is chamomile. This essential oil has a subtle scent but can have a significant soothing effect. It works especially well when used with an aroma diffuser.”
Marisa is a certified GAPS™ Diet coach and founder of Bumblebee Apothecary at bumblebeeapothecary.com. Reversing chronic health issues with diet and aromatherapy changed my life, and now I help busy people make natural living doable and fun.
“For me personally, essential oils are an important part of my relaxation and sleep routine. My favorites are lavender, chamomile, and copaiba. If I ever have trouble falling asleep, applying a blend of these oils diluted in fractionated coconut oil helps put my mind at rest and allows me to fall asleep quickly.”
Mark founded Aeroscena in 2010 with the mission of advancing aromatherapy via the use of scientific research and rigorous testing for use in clinical settings. Over the past decade, Mark has grown the company from the kernel of an idea – the result of his work with Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic and current medical advisor to the company – to a leading force in the adoption of evidence-based aromatherapy within the healthcare community. Today, Mark is focused on scaling up Aeroscena’s impact on wellness through partnerships with industry leaders that will allow the company’s deep understanding of the science of scent™ to be brought to a much larger audience. They sell almost exclusively to hospitals and clinicians.
“Essential oils like lavender and others can have a consequential impact on insomnia. Know and trust your supplier. Diffuse the oils just a few minutes before you want to sleep, since the brain begins to ignore fragrance signals after only 5 minutes or so. Therefore, your diffuser should have an intermittent setting. If it runs for 10 minutes and rests for 20, that is an ideal interval for not only helping to keep the biochemistry on the sleep track, but it will also permit sleeping through the night. Without this timing, it’s easy to wake up in a few hours and must start the process again.”
Organic Aromas Essential Oils and Sleep Survey
To find out whether people are using essential oil for their sleep issues, Organic Aromas conducted a survey targeting adult men and women in the United States. The survey results were interesting.
54% of the people polled stated that they used essential oils to relieve stress, anxiety and depression that interferes with their sleep cycle. In the survey, the most popular essential oil was lavender.
Other popular oils for improved sleep were chamomile, marjoram, and peppermint. 69% of respondents stated that essential oils improved their sleep cycle significantly helping them sleep better.
A whopping 77% of people we surveyed said that they would recommend the use of essential oils for sleep to their friends. Below is a graphical representation of our survey:
A poor sleep cycle is known to cause numerous health problems. Not only does it affect our physical health, but our mental health as well. It’s important to get a good night’s sleep so that we can function at our best the next day. Essential oils heal the sleep cycle naturally so that you can get the best sleep possible. In the words of Thomas Dekker, sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.