Essential Oils can be used to improve sleep cycles and calm the mind. Here are a few oils I keep on handy to induce deep + restful sleep.
Lavender Essential Oil
A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience revealed that lavender oil has been found to increase alpha brain waves in those who inhaled a 10% lavender solution for 3 minutes. The increase in alpha brain waves was interpreted as an increased state of drowsiness. Alpha waves dominate the EEG trace in normal adults who are in a relaxed state. In this study, the individuals receiving the lavender treatment had lower anxiety scores and were more relaxed.
Vetiver Essential Oil
In the following study conducted in 2001 by Dr. Terry Friedman, several essential oils were used to treat ADD and ADHD. Vetiver was found to be the most effective in observations and brain wave scans – showing improvements in 100% of subjects! Cedarwood essential oil was 83% effective, and lavender 53%.
DR. TERRY FRIEDMAN, M.D.
This case study was conducted for two years, from 1999-2001. Using Children between the ages of 6 to 12 years. Twenty subjects not diagnosed with ADD/ADHD were used as the control group. Twenty subjects with a confirmed diagnoses of ADD/ADHD were used as the study group.
Each group was pre-tested using a baseline evaluation with real time EEG and The T.O.V.A. Scale.
The essential oils chosen for the case study were Lavender, Vetiver, Cedarwood and Brain Power (a blend of Frankincense, Sandalwood, Melissa, Cedarwood, Blue Cypress, Lavender and Helichrysum.)
The oils were administered in this fashion: one of the oils were administered by inhalation 3 times a day for 30 days. An inhalation device was also used at night to administer a continuous inhalation of oil.
The subject then inhaled when needed, about 3 times during the day when they began to feel “scattered”. The inhalation of the oils proved to settle the brainwaves back into normal patterns and improved their scholastic performance and behavioral patterns.
Each subject was tested on each oil for 30 days and then reevaluated by testing. Then another oil was used for 30 days and reevaluated, until each of the oils had been tested. Lastly, oil combinations were used, each for a 30 day period. (Brain Power with Lavender, with Cedarwood, and Vetiver.)
The final results were: Lavender increased performance by 53%, Cedarwood increased performance by 83% and Vetiver increased performance by 100%.
This study was published in the American Medical Association Journal.
Vetiver encourages stimulation of the circulatory system and can help relieve stiffness from arthritis and muscle cramping. Treat yourself by massaging Vetiver into overworked muscles. It is also said to help heal cuts and scrapes more effectively and with less scarring. Some people add it to their face creams and lotions to revitalize mature, aging skin and rejuvenate wrinkly, irregular skin textures. Others may find it helpful in dealing with acne or skin blemishes.
Vetiver is among the oils highest in sesquiterpenes. Along with helping children control their behavior, it may also help anyone cope with stress, anxiety, or and in recovering from emotional trauma and shock.
Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) has a warm, sweet, herbaceous scent that is relaxing and calming for both mind and body. Its gentleness makes it especially valuable for restless children. Soothing to all types of skin, it is used extensively in Europe in skin preparations.
Roman chamomile is also beneficial when added to massage oil for relief of muscle discomfort after exercise. Roman chamomile was one of the Saxons’ nine sacred herbs.
Marjoram Essential Oil
A good sedative, marjoram eases stiff joints and muscle spasms, including tics, excessive coughing, menstrual cramps, and headaches (especially migraines). It also slightly lowers high blood pressure. Testing has shown it to be one of the most effective fragrances in relaxing brain waves. As a result, it makes an excellent calming massage oil, delightful when combined with the softer lavender. Add a few drops to your bath to counter stress or insomnia. Since it has specific properties that fight the viruses and bacteria responsible for colds, flu, or laryngitis, add a few drops of essential oil to either a chest balm or bath, or put 2 or 3 drops in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. In healing salves and creams, it also soothes burns, bruises, and inflammation. Marjoram is also an antioxidant that naturally preserves food.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood (also known as Aloes) has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to revitalise the skin and for meditation and yoga. It is widely used as a deep rest and sleep aid. Sandalwood was also used by ancient Egyptians in the embalming process. Its properties include anti-tumoral, anti-viral and a stimulant to the immune system. Research has been documented showing its ability to inhibit numerous types of cancer cells and viruses, including the papilloma virus and herpes zoster.” The alpha-santalol in Sandalwood oil is a remarkable for reducing skin tumor formations. [Study published in the Journal of Anticancer Research | January 2008.]
Valerian Essential Oil
“A friend suggested that I try using the essential oil of valerian for sleep, so I decided to do a little research; the National Institutes of Health has a website devoted to Valerian for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders. I was amazed how much clinical investigation there was on the properties of this oil. What I read about valerian was that it was very highly regarded as an all-natural sedative. What I learned about valerian from using it was that it is calming, relaxing, balancing, and a sleep aid. Just an aside, Valerian Root is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for ingestion by the FDA. I would make sure the oil you use is therapeutic grade. “ ~ John, Washington