The world is pretty stressful place to live at the moment and once we start to feel a little anxious a cruel cycle often begins to turn – our poor minds are filled with worry, so we can’t sleep. When we sleep poorly we end up tired and irritable and, yes unfortunately, more stressed.
Fortunately it’s completely possible to reverse the cycle, if you can get better sleep your levels of anxiety will drop and your outlook will become rosier.
There are a number of things you can do to help increase your odds of a better night’s sleep. An increasing number of people are turning to medication, which of course works for some but in my opinion should never be the first port of call.
Sleeping pills have their place but sedation is a very different thing to natural sleep. Those pills can after all be, shall we say, a little bit moreish.
Others are looking for more natural ways to improve their odds of a good night’s rest, which is exactly what I’ll be talking about here. In particular the use of aromatherapy and essential oils. Certain smells can be used to treat all manner of health and wellbeing issues but sleep is something it is particularly effective at helping.
So, to cut a long intro short, here are my top 3 essential oils to help improve the quality of your sleep.
Lavender Essential Oil for Calming
What people probably are less aware about is just how many ways the pleasant smelling light purple flowers can be used. Some individuals like to diffuse the essential oil at night, filling their bedroom with the scent. Others like to add a drop or two to a hot pre-bed bath. Some like to burn lavender as scented candle or as incense. A small number of people even enjoying drinking lavender tea before bed.
My favourite way of using this most effective of essential oils is to sprinkle a little bit straight onto my pillow. The feeling of sinking into a lavender scented cloud at the end of a hard day is absolutely heavenly.
One note of warning: Don’t go too crazy with this particular oil. Lavender is a strong aroma, and all it takes to be effective is a drop or two. Don’t go spritzing everything you see, you may get a little overpowered by flower power.
Sandalwood Essential Oil for Reducing Stress
Coming hot on the tail of lavender as a bedtime favourite amongst aromatherapy fans is sandalwood. Derived from a tree found natively in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, it’s not surprising that this particular essential oil has a distinctly woody aroma.
Sandalwood is well known for its powerful therapeutic effect on the brain, its ability to relieve pressure and reduce stress. It is reported to be particularly effective for individuals who are suffering from a headache or have regular migraines.
In addition to its power to calm, reduce anxiety and induce sleep, sandalwood is apparently also able to improve memory and concentration. A win-win if ever I’ve heard of one!
Utilising essential oils such for sleep has long been sniffed at by many in the medical profession as quackery, but thankfully as more and more studies are now showing that so-called ‘alternative’ seem to actually be highly effective. As a result there seems to be a new openness by GPs. Which is great, as we need all the help we can find in the fight against sleeplessness. Utilising every tool in the tool box is something that the team at the Sleep Advisor blog talk about all the time.
Bergamot Oil for Less Overwhelm
Well, don’t worry you are certainly not alone, we’ve all been there. Extracted from bergamot oranges endemic to the Calabria region of Italy, this oil has a delightful citrus aroma. Originally used in Italian traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments, the use of the oil for sleep in particular, has spread worldwide.
Bergamot is thought to lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure, two things essential for getting individuals into the correct state to fall asleep.
A number of studies have corroborated what traditional Italian doctors have known for generation upon generation, bergamot oil induces feelings of calm and as such is great for anyone feeling a little bit frazzled or overwhelmed.
Well, there you have it scent fans – my top three essential oils to help banish your bedtime blues and usher in a new era of sleep filled nights. Give them a go. What’s the worse thing can happen? It’s not like you’re going to lose any sleep over it and at the very least your room will smell amazing!