The power of scent cannot be overstated, in part because of how closely it is linked to memory and emotion. (There is a reason that real-estate agents use fresh-baked cookies at an open house to create that warm, inviting aroma!) We’re learning more and more about the role different smells play in influencing a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to focus, as well their effect on sleep.
Specifically, certain essential oils, or highly concentrated versions of natural oils found in plants, have been shown to help improve sleep quality. These fragrant oils can be experienced in a diffuser, or by placing a few drops on your pillow at night. Learn more about three essential oils that have been linked to better shut-eye.
Lavender is associated with lower blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature, all necessary ingredients for a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that inhaling lavender can improve sleep quality, and it may help treat mild insomnia., For postpartum mothers who are still nursing, inhaling a lavender essential oil may be a useful alternative to a pharmacological sleep aid. As an added bonus, lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety, making it a great essential oil to put on your pillow on nights when your racing mind is keeping you awake.
Valerian root is often taken as a sleep supplement, and valerian essential oil is a common ingredient in bedtime herbal teas. In addition to helping you fall asleep faster, valerian essential oil may improve the quality of your sleep, so you wake up feeling energized and ready to go.
You might think that because bergamot is a citrus fruit (native to Italy and used in Italian holistic medicine), its essential oil would have an invigorating effect. Instead, it is known for its calming effect. Bergamot essential oil signals to your system that it is time for bed by slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. Plus, it reduces anxiety and stress.
While essential oils are generally considered safe to use, if you are struggling with sleep issues, it’s always good to check with your doctor for more information on using essential oils along with other lifestyle changes that can help you get a good night’s sleep.