Essential oils, or aromatic oils, have been used by human civilisations for hundreds of years, with many ancient cultures believing in the power of the oils’ medicinal properties. Essential oils continue to be used in alternative medicinal and wellbeing practices today by aromatherapists and naturopaths. In fact, recent research has discovered that lavender oil can improve pain tolerance and ginger oil can lower levels of nausea after surgery. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that lotion containing lemon balm was able to ease agitation among severe dementia sufferers.
Pat Princi-Jones is an aromatherapy specialist and educator at Oil Garden, Heritage Brands, and she has suggested several essential oils that can help you sleep better, and how to use them.
According to Pat, the regular use of essential oils in night-time sleep preparations can become rituals that signal to the mind and body that it’s time to sleep. “Regular use will reinstate healthy sleep patterns and improve sleep quality,” says Pat.
What essential oils promote better sleep?
“Extensive new research has confirmed the sedating and relaxing properties of essential oils in the endless quest for a treasured night’s sleep,” says Pat. “Essential oils such as lavender and German chamomile are certain to quiet the mind in preparation for sleep. They are calming, soothing, and relaxing to the central nervous system. Also, sweet citrus such as orange and mandarin will also induce sleep states.”
“Essential oils such as marjoram and sandalwood are also renowned for their sedative and analgesic action,” says Pat, who recommends combining sweet, soft florals, woods and citrus notes.
How do we use these essential oils for a better sleep?
“The most versatile method of delivery is diffusion. A few drops released into the air via a diffuser or oils burner will prepare the body for sleep. Massage is also a very effective method to prepare for sleep. Add a few drops to 5ml (1tsp) coconut oil and massage onto the back and shoulders before going to bed or even add to bath water as directed and have a soothing soak,” says Pat.
The surge in interest in aromatherapy has led to many new delivery systems for essential oils, so keep a lookout at shops for roll-ons, balms and mists, just to name a few.