Residing in an area that is modern and urban increases the chances of experiencing sleep deprivation. In case you live in a city or at least the fringes of it, there is a 70% chance that you do not get enough rest.
About 70 million people in the US suffer from sleep disorders. Sleeping disorders have graduated from being a lifestyle disease to an epidemic in the states in the recent years. Only about 10% of those people see sleep-wake disorders as a serious medical issue and seek treatment for the same. Most of the affected population does not realize the severity of the problem up until the deprivation interferes with the productivity of the individual.
A majority of the US population, who seek medical assistance for their sleep disorders rely on strong somnolent for their daily nightly slumber. It makes us question the long-term action of these chemical compounds. Is it possible for people to wean off sleeping pills? Can you switch to a healthier alternative for long-term relief from insomnia and sleep-wake disorders such as essential oils?
Why is this the Era of Essential Oils for Sleep?
Modern science allows people to restore their sleep-wake cycles and sync their circadian rhythms using natural hormone supplements. There are many sleep-inducing medications that not only help with reducing the latency period of sleep onset but also help with the quality of sleep.
There are sleeping aids that improve the duration of rest and allow people to get their complete rest on all nights of the week. Pharmaceutical sleeping aids are always instantly useful, but they might not be the long-term solution for you. If you do not get enough sleep, it might be time for you to make a few changes in your lifestyle and sleep hygiene.
Insomnia and delayed sleep phase disorder are the two most common sleeping problems that plague the modern population. Teenagers, young adults, and even the older adults suffer from various forms of sleep disorders that they believe to be insomnia. However, the lack of sufficient rest is not the same as insomnia. The latter is a chronic lack of sleep that can result in excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and fatigue.
Almost everyone has faced problems falling asleep or staying asleep in their lifetime. Once the challenges keep recurring, it becomes worthy of immediate medical attention. The most common effects of a sleeping disorder include;
- Decreased cognitive functions.
- Imbalance of mood and frequent mood swings.
- Addiction to caffeine, wakefulness promoting drugs and increased chances of alcohol addiction.
- Problem performing regular activities.
- Frequent irritability.
Can Caffeine Replace the Need for Sleep Therapy?
Many people refrain from all kinds of medical and OTC aid and rely on two solid cups of caffeine to boost their morning energy. A cup of coffee in the morning seems like the best way to drive drowsiness away, with another cup following it in the mid-afternoon. However, how good is that practice for you?
People with Hashimoto’s, adrenaline fatigue, anxiety disorders, hormonal imbalance, hypertension, and unpredictable hot flushes often get to see the other side of regular coffee consumption. Here are a few reasons you should always reconsider your daily coffee habits.
- It increases the blood sugar levels.
- Coffee promotes cravings for carbohydrates.
- It can stimulate adrenaline activity.
- It can increase stomach acid levels and boost acid reflux.
- It can exacerbate the effects of PMS.
- Caffeine increases the inflammatory response in people.
- It can cause poor sleep and increase the effects of insomnia.
- Impacts on thyroid hormone synthesis and secretion levels.
These are only some of the more prominent effects of coffee on the human system. Several subtle interactions have a massive impact on the body including great fatigue and stress. One alternative to your mid-day caffeine shot is peppermint. Try taking a whiff of strong peppermint essential oil for sending a jolt of energy to your extremities and remain active throughout the day.
Why do you Need Natural Sleep-Inducing Components Instead of Sleeping Pills?
Chemical components like benzodiazepines pose a high risk of addiction in long-term users. Almost all sleeping medications have some form of side effect that takes a toll on the health in the long run. These medications can increase the chances of getting cancer later in life by 35%. They have strong interactions with neurotransmitters like GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid).
Xanax and Valium are common medications people use for improving their sleep duration and quality. However, the awareness lot are gradually replacing their sleep medicines with essential oils (EOs) that can show long-term improvement of sleeping habits. Since they can bind to olfactory receptors and act as the critical intermediates that can regulate neurotransmitters to boost sound rest, essential aromatic oils are becoming the favorite instruments of inducing proper resting hours and resetting the circadian rhythm among people of all ages.
How do Essential Oils Work to Induce Calmness and Relaxation?
Essential oils for sleep are transdermal. They can cross the skin barrier, and they can work on the physio-chemical signaling process in multiple ways. Applying them during the day or night can have distinct effects on your homeostasis due to the biochemical effects they have. You can choose to mix a few drops of essential oil with your body lotion or inhale them via diffusion.
The presence of the aromatic molecules can change your fatigue levels instantly. For example, lavender essential oil molecules can enter the bloodstream in less than 5 minutes. It is especially useful when you massage it in with your body lotion. The calming effect of lavender or ylang-ylang essential oils is prominent when you directly massage them onto your skin or inhale them.
An initial study from 1992 showed that the concentration of lavender rose to a maximum after about 20 minutes of application or diffusion. The sedative effects stayed for 90 minutes and then subsided quickly. The impacts of most concentrated forms of essential oils are ephemeral. Therefore, experiencing side effects or unwanted symptoms is very uncommon for all aromatic oils.
What are the Essential Plant Oils you Must Try for Experiencing Better Quality Sleep?
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils people use for relaxation. Every study since the dawn of essential oils for sleep shows that using essential oils have very few side effects. Since they are entirely natural and we often find ourselves among the natural sources of these aromatic oils like the lavender flower or jasmine flower, their results are controllable and positive. Almost no adverse effects were present during these prolonged studies on chosen test subjects.
Another research involving aromatic lavender oil shows that people who were initially on benzodiazepine could quickly switch to the essential oil therapy on a regular basis to restore optimum duration and quality of sleep. This study suggests the frequent use of lavender and other essential oils for temporary relief from the extensive use of strong sleep medications.
Essential oils can have more than one impact on human health. Anxiolytic oils can have stronger calming effects on the body that can induce healthy sleep. Almost all sleep-inducing essential oils can have stress-busting and anxiety-relieving effects. A few of the oils you can try for dual impact include;
- Angelica oil
- Orange bigarade
- Bergamot oil
- Palmarosa oil
- Sweet orange aromatic extract
- May Chang
- Sweet marjoram
- Lemon-scented ironbark
You can choose to use these essential oils alone in the diffuser or mix equal parts of 2 or 3 essential oils with the carrier oil for enjoying the positive effects.
How can you Include the Aromatic Oil of Your Choice in Your Daily Routine?
Essential oils do not work independently of a human being’s biochemical metabolism. Therefore, the way a particular aromatic oil works for you will never be the same as it does for your friend or your acquaintance. Several people are allergic to the smell of rose or jasmine.
Using essential oil from these flowers or plants can be far from relaxing for the majority of the people. It is something we see in the effectiveness of medication as well. Some people may show a higher resistance to tranquilizers and sedatives. Either they take a higher dose of sleeping medication, or they switch to a newer compound that is more effective.
In case an aroma oil does not work for you transdermally, or via diffusion, you can always try utilizing other options. It can take some time for you to exhaust all the available relaxing and sleep abating aromatic extracts before you find the one that agrees with your system.
Here are the several ways you can enjoy the effectiveness of aromatherapy;
- Diffusion. You can either create a homemade blend of your favorite oils and carrier oil (live virgin olive oil or linseed oil) in your diffuser. You can add two parts of the significant relaxing oil along with one portion of each sweetening oil for the best effect. For example, people find the blend of 2 drops of ylang-ylang, 1 drop of marjoram, and one drop of lavender very soothing before bedtime.
- Topical application. Another way to enjoy the bliss of aromatherapy is by applying the critical oils on your body directly along with your moisturizer or body oil. There are several trigger points like the wrists, bottom of the feet, behind the knees and the ears and on the fold of the elbow. Applying the essential oils mixed with body lotion can trigger relaxation in less than 5 minutes.
- Misting spray. Many DIY hackers are expressing their loyalty for the misting sprays during the hot summer months. Mixing a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils along with clean water in the right proportions can work as the miracle stress buster. A smart way to experience better sleep is by misting your pillow immediately before rest. Keep the DIY spray bottle by your bed, and once you wake up in the middle of the night, you can always spray some more on the pillow and your mattress.
- DIY detox bath. Detoxifying bath recipes can be hugely diverse. The methods can vary from region to region depending on the availability of the resources. You can also choose to restrict your first DIY bath experience to hand and foot soaks. While you can get a detoxing foot spa and hand spa at massage centers for a fortune, you can always create one from the essential oils you have at home. Stock up on bath crystals or Epsom salts. You will still need it for starting your DIY home spa. Add one-fourth cup of apple cider vinegar, two drops of lemon essential oil and five drops of lavender essential oil. Replace the carrier oil with one teaspoon of liquid castile soap for a hand or feet soak recipe. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
- DIY hand moisturizer or cream. A delicate blend of one-fourth cup shea butter, one-eighth cup carrier oil and one tablespoon of beeswax can contribute to an excellent hand cream or hand moisturizer base for all. Be careful of allergies while adding the beeswax or carrier oils to your cream base. You can add any relaxing essential oil (15 drops) to the mix for imparting healing and relaxing effects to it.
There are plenty of ways to make the essential oils a part of your regular life. Whether you like to smell fresh and zesty all day long or whether you like a beautiful aroma inside your house, there’s always a way of inducing relaxation. Other methods to enjoy the stress-busting effects of aromatic oils include DIY hand soaps, DIY body soaps and shampoos, skin serums and body lotions with infused oils.
What are the Most Straightforward Five EO Blends that Work for All?
There are a few sleep blends that work for everyone. Mixing more than one essential oil with carrier oils have become the popular practice nowadays. Each type of oil is a concentrated extract of plant chemicals that usually come from the flowers, leaves, barks, roots and even fruits. Due to their diverse sources and different nature of chemical constituents, each one has distinct effects on the nervous system and the endocrine system.
It is the principal reason why you need to try all the aromatic oils before you can go ahead and blend them. However, the following are the five most popular recipes that can help you rest better than before.
Recipe 1: This one works best in cases of insomnia. The effectiveness of the formula and the sheer lack of side effects make it ideal for children and grown adults as well.
- Add a drop of rosemary oil.
- Mix in three drops of eucalyptus oil.
- Add two drops of lavender.
- Mix this with 10 ml of carrier oil.
You can add this to your lotion directly or to a diffuser. The recipe is effective transdermally as well as olfactorily. Massaging it to a visibly tense area of the muscle always helps in relaxing the area.
Recipe 2: This one is the best treatment for insomnia that arises due to excessive anxiety and stress.
- Add two drops of each – roman chamomile, sweet marjoram, and lavender.
- Add this mix to 10 ml of any carrier oil.
You can try to massage this mix under your feet for instant relaxing effects. You may want to skip the carrier oil and add this to the diffuser for the traditional aromatherapy.
Recipe 3: There are times when stress, muscle tightness, and headaches make it impossible for people to sleep. Here’s a method for your stress-induced insomnia .
- A single drop of sweet orange oil.
- Add One drop of lavender to it.
- Mix in Two drops of essential geranium extract.
- Mix this with 10 ml carrier oil.
You can massage this onto your neck, shoulders, forehead and your feet. This one is an easy recipe that is one of the most effective in reinstating restorative sleep in children and adults.
Recipe 4: Beating nausea becomes a considerable factor after an evening of partying or a whole day of eating junk food. Insomnia due to nausea can be annoying and challenging. It is one recipe that works like a miracle for us.
- Add two drops of sweet orange oil.
- Include two drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Mix this in with 10 ml carrier oil.
Massaging this mix onto your stomach and feet can drive away your nausea in record time.
Recipe 5: This “sweet sleep” recipe is one of our favorites due to the easy availability of all the components and the natural resolution of chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Mix three drops of lavender.
- Add three drops of Roman chamomile.
- Add three drops of sweet orange.
- Mix this with 10 ml carrier oil.
Skip the carrier oil if you are looking for a diffuser blend. You can add this directly to your massage oil or apply this directly on your chest, throat, neck, and feet.
These are the five of the most straightforward essential oil blends that can relieve your regular stress, fatigue, anxiety and insomnia symptoms. The mixtures are great for diffusion or direct topical application unless you are allergic to any particular component.
How can You find the Best Carrier oil for Your skin, Hair and overall Health?
The most important part of any natural essential oil blend for sleep is the carrier oil. Whether you decide to make a mix for your electric diffuser or a hand cream for your family, you must consider the options of carrier oils. Research shows, several of these oils have specific effects on controlling acne, skin infections, the roughness of skin, and chronic rashes.
Without the proper knowledge about the irritating or soothing impacts of oils, you might spend years of a toxic carousal that can cause the skin to break out or worse. The base oils are usually nut derivatives. Considering the predominant nut allergy in the US population, it is imperative that you check their suitability for yourself and your family.
Different skin types have different base oil requirements. You can combine multiple base oils or use them as a moisturizer for your skin. Their fundamental role is as a dilution agent for the strong aromatic compounds present in essential extracts. Since the essential oils are products of repetitive extraction and partial distillation, the results are stronger than we presume. Applying essential oils directly to skin or hair can cause more harm than benefit.
Choosing the correct base oil can take sufficient time and a lot of hit-and-trial methods. It is entirely alright to engage in different skincare or healthcare routines around the year to suit the needs of the changing weather. The best quality carrier oils are not as volatile as the aromatic oils. They do not evaporate readily in heat. Here are a few carrier oils you can try this year for exacting the most out of your essential oil blends –
Grapeseed oil. It is perfect for massages since it is not as heavy or sticky. It is high in linoleic acid that makes it ideal for the dry and damaged skin. Although it has a short shelf-life, it is suitable as a moisturizing agent.
Jojoba oil. The eponymous oil in almost all good shampoos, conditioners, and serums. It has a nutty smell and medium-light consistency. It has a long shelf life too.
Olive oil. It is the most common carrier oil in the entire world. We love it because it is easy to buy, store and use. You can use it without blending for conditioning your hair or soothing dry, irritated skin. It is thicker and hence better suited for the winter months. It has high omega fatty acid content.
Coconut Oil. The fractionated form of coconut oil is liquid and has no aroma. It is the best natural source of essential fatty acids for skin and hair. It has a long shelf life, and it is perfect for winter months.
Cocoa Butter. The smell is just incredible, although it is difficult to manage at room temperatures. You can easily blend it by heating it and then mix it with essential oils. The chocolaty aroma makes it perfect for making hand creams, face creams, and lip balms.
Shea butter. Another fantastic natural source of essential fatty acids that rejuvenates skin. It has a pleasant nutty smell, and it can moisturize your skin for long hours.
Sweet Almond oil. Although this one is easy to find online, we do not recommend it for everyone. Almond oil comes from nuts, and it can worsen skin conditions in those with nut allergies. Always check for allergies before switching to this carrier oil.
You must experiment with the available carrier oils before settling for one. Skin texture can vary incredibly between people and what works for one does not necessarily work for another person. To find the one that suits you perfectly, give each type of carrier oil a chance for about two weeks before you shift to another.
Is it Safe to Ingest Essential Oils for Sleep?
A huge mistake people make is assuming the safety of products just because they are natural. Essential oils might come from plants and plant products, but that does not automatically make them safe for ingestion. There are several flowers, fruits and leaves in the wilderness that are severely poisonous for human consumption, although several medicines come from them. Anything that is natural does not have to be harmless.
100% pure and natural essential oils are in high concentration due to the repeated purification and distillation steps they go through. They contain a high consistency of aromatic compounds that contribute to their aroma and volatility. These are also the same molecules that give them their healing abilities. Nonetheless, we cannot ingest them and digest them without experiencing the adverse side effects. It might seem like swallowing a sleep-inducing agent is the best way to enjoy its calming effects but adding essential oils to your tea or drinking water might not be a great idea.
Unless you have a doctor or experienced aromatherapist telling you precisely what to do or how to prepare the delicious blend, there is no way you can be sure about the safety of the mix. Ingesting aromatic compounds in large amounts on a regular basis can compromise liver, kidney, stomach, and even brain functions in adults. Instead of using the aromatic essential oils, you can try using the source flowers or the roots to make tea. For example – check out the recipes for chamomile tea, valerian root tea, calming lavender water and lemon zest sleepy tea for shooing away insomnia.
It is best to restrict yourself to inhalation therapy and transdermal administration for the time being, in case you cannot find a proper guide for the process.
How are Essential oils Useful for Inducing Relaxation?
Some essential oils like cedarwood, vetiver, lavender, Roman chamomile, bergamot, wild sweet orange, and frankincense have a sound relaxing effect on the nervous system. They can diffuse through our skin, or they can bind the smell receptors inside our nostrils that start a cascade of reactions.
Over 6000 years of data on aromatherapy contributes to the collective knowledge about the therapeutic effects of these EOs. They contain a mix of saturated and unsaturated aromatic hydrocarbons, aldehydes, esters, alcohols, terpenes, ketones, ethers, and phenols. These are the organic molecular structures that contribute to the distinct smell of each EO. The oils come from different plant parts like the specialized cells, root, root hairs, intercellular spaces and even reservoirs that store these compounds for either promoting communication or defense.
They have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, circulatory, emotional, calming and even energizing properties. Some of them can usually enhance sleep quality and duration due to their complex chemical structures. These EO molecules are parts of the several cascading and intertwined biochemical reactions that lead to muscle relaxation, unwinding of the nervous system and induction of sleep. They can mediate the release or suppression of neurotransmitters like serotonin, noradrenaline, and endorphins to alter the states of activity and rest.
Although scientists and medical researchers do not yet understand the complex mechanisms of the actions of these EOs, their studies prove the usefulness of EOs in treating sleep-wake disorders and circadian rhythm disorders.
Why Should you Give Aromatic Essential Oils for Relaxation and Sleep a Chance in your Life?
Research reveals the effectiveness of essential oils in replacing traditional sleep-inducing medication in children and adults. Unlike the barbiturates and benzodiazepines that the doctors prescribe at times, these natural EOs do not induce addiction among people. You can start with personal aromatherapy with a necessary dispenser, and you can stop it any time you want. Making blends of essential extracts that boost sleep is also cost useful and straightforward. Even children can enjoy the relaxing benefits of these blends without experiencing any addictive or adverse side effects.
You can choose from among several procedures to include aroma oils in your daily life. You can pick between cosmetic aromatherapy, medical aromatherapy, massage aromatherapy, and psycho-aromatherapy to introduce serenity and repose. You can either pamper yourself a little by hitting the spa or save a fortune by making your DIY aromatherapy arrangement. Nonetheless, the EO industry is about to experience a boom of almost $11.5 billion by 2022.
Essential oils are your wholly natural and healthy reason to enjoy life to the fullest. There is no longer any cause for you to stay up all night and feel tired the next day. Your kids can now concentrate on their studies since they can sleep better, all naturally during the night. Thanks to the web, you can buy real and 100% pure natural EOs any time you want. Choose any calming natural oil blend you like, pick carrier oil and get your dispenser working for a complete night’s rest.
Co-founder of Counting Sheep and Sleepaholic