Trying to fall asleep at night can be a real challenge for some people. Stress, work, and life in general can prevent you from getting your much-needed dose of z’s when you hit the hay. So, instead of reaching for sleeping pills, have you considered opting for something more natural and healthier? Maybe it’s time to give essential oils a chance. If you aren’t sure about this, down below you can read how they can affect your brain and help your body relax.
Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes. The scent molecules go from the olfactory nerves straight to the brain and impact the amygdala, which is the emotional centre of the brain. Just notice how some scents make you feel great (rain, sea, your favourite perfume).
Essential oils can be absorbed through your skin. You can add a couple of drops of essential oil to a carrier oil (coconut oil or almond oil) and rub it onto your skin.
How Scents Affect Your Mind and Body
You know how smelling a certain perfume brings memories from a certain event from your past? It could remind you of your childhood, a dear person, happy moments with your loved ones. Human’s sense of smell is connected to the brain’s centres of memory and emotion. The cells in your nose will detect the smells in the environment and send info to your brain through the olfactory nerve.
Also, the cluster of cells at the top of the throat will detect the scent from the food we eat and will transfer that info through the same olfactory channel to the brain. The info about a scent will absorb in the limbic system of the brain where the amygdala is placed (it controls emotional reactions and memory). That info then goes to other parts of the brain such as the thalamus that works as a station that passes sensory data to other brain parts. Out of all senses, only the sense of smell can move to the brain’s centre for emotions and memory.
Essential Oils for Better Sleep
When having troubles sleeping even though you feel tired, you need to calm and soothe your mind. Then your body will follow. For centuries, people have used essential oils to relax their minds and bodies. Luckily for us, today we can find essential oils in almost every chemist and drugstore at fairly affordable prices. When it comes to using essential oils for sleep, certain oils (lavender, jasmine) can help you relieve insomnia and get a good night’s sleep.
How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep
There are several ways to use essential oils. It’s important that you follow the instructions on the box and never try to use the oils in any other way than instructed.
One of the most popular ways of reaping the benefits of these goodies is by using an essential oil diffuser for sleep. If you want to have a quality uninterrupted night sleep, drop a few drops into the diffuser and let the scent spread through the room. The relaxing and soothing smell will come to your nose and will send information to your brain to relax and get ready for rest. Putting just three to five drops of lavender into the essential oil diffuser for sleep can do wonders for your night rest. No more waking up in the middle of the night, checking the time – just refreshing eight hours of sleep.
Another great way to use essential oils is to drop a few drops in your bathwater. The warmth and scents will help your body and mind relax at the same time. Soak in the bath for as long as you want (or as long as the water is hot); then put your pyjamas on and go to sleep.
Directly on Your Body
Many people like the idea of rubbing essential oils onto their skin. This can be done during a massage, or you can rub them on your wrists, temples or neck. Pick your favourite scent of essential oils for sleep and use a carrier oil to mix it. This is done so the strong essential oil doesn’t irritate your skin. Apply one or two drops into the carrier oil and then rub it gently onto your skin. You can even use it for a full body massage, which could work really therapeutic before sleep.
The Best Essential Oils for Sleeping
This is one of the most popular essential oils. People love its smell and besides for sleeping, it’s also used to reduce anxiety and depression.
Its scent isn’t too strong yet it’s pleasant and relaxing. If you don’t feel like spreading the scent around the room, rub it onto your skin or drop a few drops into your bathwater, you can always put one or two drops on your pillow (for a better and long-lasting effect).
If you’re a fan of the sweet vanilla scent, we have great news. Vanilla can have sedative effects on your body such as easing restlessness and hyperactivity, it can soothe your nervous system and can lower blood pressure. If you like the scent of vanilla cookies bringing memories from your childhood days, vanilla essential oils might be a great choice for you.
The floral scent of jasmine has some serious sleep-promoting abilities. It reduces restless sleep and increases daytime alertness. It’s also known to lower anxiety.
There are various citrus essential oils such as bergamot or lemon oil. These can help you fall asleep faster and relax. However, this scent can be too much for some people. If this scent is stimulating or too strong for you, avoid using it before sleep. You can use the oils during the day if you want to feel refreshed and more relaxed.