Essential oils are natural compounds that have been extracted from plants. They have been used for centuries by different cultures for their medicinal purposes. Most recently, they have become popular due to their healing and calming effects.
How can I use essential oils to help me sleep?
There are various methods for using essential oils and different types of oils will be more beneficial than others depending on what requirements you have. Adding essential oils to your nighttime routine can enhance your relationship with sleep.
One of the most popular methods for using essential oils is inhaling. This can be done using a diffuser. When using a diffuser, the molecules in the oil are redispersed into the air and when you inhale, you breathe them in. Inhaling oils affects the amygdala part of the brain which defines and regulates emotions.
Another process includes applying them directly to your skin, but this method should only be used once you have ensured you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. Always follow the instructions on the label as some oils may cause allergic reactions or irritation. It is suggested that you add carrier oil to any essential oils that you are applying directly to your skin. Skin patch tests can help to determine how you may react to the essential oil. The body absorbs the molecules and makes its way into the body impacting the olfactory system (relating to smell).
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What are the best essential oils to use?
There are many different essential oils that can be used to benefit your sleep, however, the following list notes a few of the most popular oils, their benefits and how they can be used for maximum effect.
Lavender Oil - Lavender is the most commonly used essential oil. This natural remedy can be inhaled to increase alpha waves (the relaxation part of the brain) to increase the feeling of relaxation. Using a diffuser for thirty minutes before bedtime in a well ventilated room, lavender oil can be used to reduce anxiety, depression, insomnia, and its calming properties can help you fall asleep.
Camomile Oil - Camomile oil is most often used in herb form and can be used for tea and other herbal remedies. However, it can also be used in a diffuser. It promotes sleep and has a calming effect that reduces anxiety, allowing for you to fall asleep faster.
Jasmine Oil - Jasmine oil has shown to improve your quality of sleep. You can either dilute the oil with carrier oil and add it to a warm bath, or you can add a few drops to a diffuser.
Essential oils and mental health
Since mental health can often impact your sleep routine, causing restless sleep, it can be beneficial to use essential oils at night. There are essential oils that have been reported to help relieve some of the struggles that you may be experiencing at night.
Bergamot essential oil, originally a herb, reportedly helps improve mental health with promising results in reducing anxiety, depression and stress. Whilst essential oils are not a cure for mental health conditions, they can help to reduce symptoms and manage your mental health alongside your sleep. If you struggle with anxiety, Bergamot is a great oil for reducing stressful thoughts and reduces your heart rate in preparation for sleep.
What type of essential oil diffuser should I use?
There are four different types of diffusers that offer different ways of releasing essential oils into the air. Each has its own benefits when combined with the right essential oils.
Nebulising diffuser - A nebuliser works by boosting the oils into fine particles and does not require the use of heat or water to do so. They are the most effective form of dispersing oils into the atmosphere in a beneficial way, but they can be expensive in comparison to other diffusers. They also require more oil as they do not use any other substances.
Ultrasonic diffuser - This type of diffuser is great to use at night as it silently uses vibrations to break down essential oil and uses the water to disperse them into the air in a cool mist. Unlike the nebulising diffuser they use a smaller amount of essential oil.
Heat essential oil diffuser - This diffuser heats the essential oil so that it evaporates into the surrounding air. This is a more economical method and is another silent method of diffusing.
Evaporative diffuser - An evaporative diffuser works by blowing air through a filter that has a few drops of essential oil on it.
Although there are various methods to using essential oils, it is important that you find a method that best suits your needs. Combining the right essential oil and its diffuser could be a key feature to a great night’s sleep.