Insomnia is the inability to either fall asleep or stay asleep for any length of time, and it affects most people at some point in their lives. Every night, millions of people around the world go to bed and struggle to get a decent nights sleep, either because they are unable to switch off their busy minds, or because they awaken suddenly in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.
What causes insomnia?
There are several reasons why you might suffer from insomnia but perhaps the leading cause of insomnia in today’s world is stress. Stress often leads to depression and anxiety, also conditions that keep you lying awake at night. Whatever the cause of your insomnia, the results are the same; you feel tired, suffer from a foggy brain, have reduced ability to cope with your day-to-day routine, develop anxiety attacks and, in more serious scenarios, depression.
Natural aids, such as relaxing essential oils, are a great alternative to more traditional sleeping pills that often leave you sluggish and hungover in the morning. Using aromatherapy treatments at bedtime can often help you overcome periods of insomnia in your life. There are several essential oils that are helpful with insomnia; here are some of the most popular ones;-
Lavender Essential Oil
True Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an effective essential oil to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Lavender essential oil is predominately made up of alcohols and esters and has several therapeutic properties, but is most commonly associated with relaxation. True lavender is the most popular choice of lavender available but be aware that there are other species, such as spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) and the hybrid lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) that have very similar properties, but are not as sedating as is true lavender.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile is another popular choice of essential oil for insomnia. There are a few species of chamomile, but Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis AKA Chamaemelum nobile) essential oil is the most effective one to use for insomnia. Roman chamomile is an ancient herb which has therapeutic properties that include sedative and relaxing properties. It is recommended for the treatment of insomnia, stress and nervous tension, so is a good choice to help you to relax and prepare for sleep. Combine Roman chamomile essential oil with true lavender essential oil for a more powerful treatment.
Marjoram Essential Oil
Again, you need to choose the right type of marjoram oil for insomnia as there are several plants/oils that go by the name of ‘marjoram’. Sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana) essential oil is the only one recommended for helping with insomnia because it has a calming and sedating action on the nervous system which helps to lower blood pressure, ease nervous tension and hyperactivity, and soothe loneliness, grief and rejection – all of which can exacerbate insomnia.
Like lavender, sweet marjoram essential oil combines together with the previous oils to produce a highly effective synergistic blend for insomnia. These three essential oils can be blended in different proportions to suite your personal fragrance preferences, but however you blend them you should certainly feel the benefit of a better nights sleep.
Other Essential Oils
You can also use essential oils such as neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara), rose (Rosa damascena), sandalwood (Santalum album), clary sage (Salvia sclaria), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) and valerian (Valeriana officinalis or V. fauriei) for insomnia. These essential oils all have relaxing and/or sedative properties and can be combined together to produce an effective synergistic blend.
In fact, any essential oil that has sedative or relaxing qualities may be used to help bring relief to insomnia. If you know the underlying cause for your insomnia, for example if you are suffering from depression, you might find that there are additional essential oils that you can combine in a blend with the oils suggested; for example, combine bergamot (Citrus bergamia) or sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) in a depression-related insomnia blend since they have an uplifting effect on the emotional system.
How to use essential oils for insomnia
You can use all of these essential oils in a number of ways to help you deal with insomnia. Here are a few suggestions:
Be sure to take a good look at your life to see if there are any underlying causes that may be creating deep-seated anxiety or stress, and tackle these issues to also help eradicate your insomnia. Using essential oils and aromatherapy as part of your bedtime routine will help you to relax and prepare for sleep – and leave you better equipped for the next day’s challenges.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2012. Written by Geoff Lyth
Did you know?
Research has shown that there is a connection between disruption to sleep and the development of high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety.
So if you are currently experiencing sleep problems it is important that you visit your doctor for help, because if left untreated, the long term effects of sleep disruption can lead to the development of diabetes and even obesity.
Insomnia ages you
A lack of sleep can cause problems with our adrenal glands, resulting in the over-production of cortisol which affects blood pressure and also inhibits the utilization of blood sugar by the hippocampus, the brains primary memory centre.
This is why we can’t remember simple things when we get over tired.
Significant lack of sleep has also been known to speed up the aging process of the skin, making a person look older than they really are.
Recipes for insomnia
Here are a few essential oil recipes to help you get a better nights sleep.
These synergistic blends can be used in a bath, massage or in a burner.
When using essential oils in a bath use no more than 6 - 8 drops in total. Feel free to change the proportion of drops to suit your aroma preferences.
Sleep blend 1
Sleep blend 2
Sleep blend 3
Sleep blend 4
Restful Sleep Synergy
If you don't have time to blend your essential oils or just prefer to have them ready-made, then this blend of powerfully relaxing essential oils has been made just for you!
Essential Oils For Insomnia
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