Having trouble falling asleep, sleeping badly at night with constant interruptions and waking up too early, how many of us experience sleep problems that then have repercussions on daytime life. Well, aromatherapy, through the diffusion of essential oils and massages with essential oils, has been shown to improve the quality of sleep and also to counteract anxiety, stress, pain, depression and fatigue, in both adults and the elderly. In short, a real health treatment! This emerges from a very recent review that brought together all previous studies on the subject, thus allowing us to fully understand what nature contained in essential oils can do for us (Her et al, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2021).
Sleep disorders, the evil of our time
We lead stressful lives, often without regular times to eat or go to sleep, but there is also to take into account the very particular historical period we are experiencing and that charges us with anxieties and fears, all this can contribute to create problems of insomnia and sleep disturbances, the evils of our century. Sleeping badly can cause anxiety and stress to worsen during the day, but it can also make us feel exhausted, memory and attention can be affected and the risk of developing depression may increase. Medicines to treat insomnia often have various side effects, such as addictions and impaired cognitive function. This is why, in case of sleep disorders, it is preferred to resort to alternative remedies, such as relaxing music, meditation and essential oils.
Essential oils, mood and nervous system
Essential oils can be diffused in the air, they can be used for baths or massages, in any case the aromatic molecules they contain enter the body through the respiratory tract and the skin. Once in the body, these substances act at the level of the autonomic nervous system, increasing the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system and thus reducing stress, inducing relaxation of the muscles and improving the quality of sleep. But not all essential oils have the same benefits on sleep and mood. So let's see, thanks to the review, the essential oils that have been shown to be more effective in counteracting sleep disorders.
The essential oils for a good sleep
One of the best goodnight essential oils, used in almost all the researches that have studied the link between essential oils and sleep, capable of improving the quality of rest and useful for relaxing body and mind, is the lavender essential oil. This essential oil also stimulates recovery after fatigue and moments of great stress. Lavender oil owes these properties to its linalool content, which stabilizes the cardiovascular system, dilates blood vessels and regulates the nervous system. Other essential oils useful to counteract anxiety, pain and sleep disorders are the essential oils of ylang ylang, with a sedative action and that also helps in case of palpitations and hypertension, of marjoram, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system and favoring thus the state of relaxation and calm, of bergamot, which reduces stress, anxiety and depression, relieves pain and calms the nervous heart, of juniper, which counteracts stress and insomnia, and finally of orange sweet, capable of strengthening the nervous system, relieving pain and anxiety.
Inhalation and massages, everything helps
The study observed that beneficial results on the quality of sleep were obtained both with massages with essential oils, even short massages, less than 20 minutes, and with the inhalation of essential oils, which, for example, can be diffused in the room with an oil burner or breathed in with a handkerchief. Therefore, nature is once again the protagonist coming to our rescue to counteract the problems that concern sleep.