Sleep Sound: Aromatherapy Promotes Better Rest

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Woman stretching her arms

Sleep – it is essential.  We’ve all experienced a night of bad sleep that left us feeling fatigued and crabby the next day.  That is because sleep is crucial for our mental and cognitive health.  The REM stage in particular is responsible for processing stress and emotions.   When we we sleep our organs also perform vital functions and our cells regenerate.  The liver and kidneys are active around 3 a.m. conducting important metabolic functions, removing toxins from our body.  These essential functions support a strong immune system.  Yes, sleep is a big deal.

Since it is paramount to our existence, a lack of or poor quality sleep can quickly lead to problems.   Chronic sleep challenges are directly connected to chronic disease because the body is unable to perform vital tasks. Those who suffer from long-term sleep challenges are at much higher risk for memory problems, mental health issues, heart attacks and disease, stroke, COPD, cancer, arthritis, kidney disease and diabetes.

Fortunately, the science is settled on aromatherapy and sleep.  Just look at this list of research supporting the use of essential oils as a gentle and effective way to promote better rest!

A systematic review of the effect of inhaled essential oils on sleep

Quantitative human studies on the effect of inhaled essential oils published between 1990 and 2012 were reviewed.  A majority of the findings revealed a positive effect of essential oils on sleep.

An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women

Aromatherapy intervention increased deep/slow wave sleep in men and women and all subjects reported feeling more energetic in the morning.  Lavender serves as a practical way to promote deep sleep in young people.

Effect of Inhaled Lavender and Sleep Hygiene on Self-Reported Sleep Issues: A Randomized Controlled Trial

College students with self-reported sleep issues received lavender and found improved sleep quality and waking feeling more refreshed.

The sleep-enhancing effect of valerian inhalation and sleep-shortening effect of lemon inhalation

Valerian inhalation had a noticeable impact on sleep.

The Effect of Aromatherapy on Sleep Quality of Elderly People Residing in a Nursing Home

Lavender oil was applied to pillows at night for one week.  Aromatherapy was found to improve sleep onset, quality and duration in the elderly population.

New approaches to health and well‐being for dementia day‐care clients, family carers and day‐care staff

A gentle hand treatment was administered to the elderly using three essential oils.  Benefits included increased alertness, sleeping at night, reduced levels of agitation and withdrawal and wandering.

Effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality and anxiety of patients

Patients received 2% essential oil via inhalation for 15 days.  Lavender essential oil increased quality of sleep and reduced level of anxiety in patients with coronary artery disease.

A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia

Outcomes, according to the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index, favored lavender essential oil diffusion for insomnia.

Effects of lavender aroma on sleep quality in healthy Japanese students

Results showed nighttime exposure to lavender relieves sleepiness upon awakening in healthy students.

Lavender Fragrance Essential Oil and the Quality of Sleep in Postpartum Women

This is clinical trial regarding the effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality in women during postpartum period. It was determined that aromatherapy improves the quality of sleep in postpartum women.

Effect of aromatherapy on the quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients hospitalized in intensive care units of heart hospitals of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences

Quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients was significantly improved after aromatherapy and the study concluded using aromatherapy can improve the quality of their sleep and health.

Trial of Essential Oils to Improve Sleep for Patients in Cardiac Rehabilitation

Patients received a blend of lavender, bergamot and ylang-ylang on a cotton ball for 5 nights.  Sleep quality was significantly better than placebo.

The Effect of Aromatherapy on Insomnia and Other Common Symptoms Among Patients With Acute Leukemia

Aromatherapy is a good intervention for improving insomnia, lack of appetite, depression, anxiety, and well-being experienced by patients with acute leukemia.

Comparison of the effect of lavender and bitter orange on sleep quality in postmenopausal women: A triple-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial

Bitter orange and lavender had a substantial positive effect on the sleep scores of postmenopausal women when compared to the control group.

Aromatherapy: The Effect of Lavender on Anxiety and Sleep Quality in Patients Treated With Chemotherapy

Lavender produced an improvement in sleep for chemotherapy patients according to the Pittsburgh Quality Sleep Index.

Effect of aromatherapy via inhalation on the sleep quality and fatigue level in people undergoing hemodialysis

A mixture of sweet orange and lavender essential oil improved sleep quality and decreased fatigue in hemodialysis patients.