Lavender oil, produced from the flowers of the plant has a soothing fragrance and may act as a sleep aid for people suffering from insomnia and sleep apnea. Due to its calming effect, it may be useful in reducing stress and anxiety as well as helping babies to sleep.
Does Lavender Oil Really Help with Sleep
In a study conducted in 2005 at Wesleyan University, thirty-one young people were made to sniff lavender essential oil for one night and distilled water on the following. The subjects experienced an increase in deep or slow-wave sleep and a decrease in rapid-eye-movement (REM).
The American Journal of Critical Care also published a study conducted on 50 hospitalized patients. Not only did the patients show an improvement in sleep but also underwent lowering of blood pressure when a jar of pure lavender oil was kept at their bedside from 10 pm to 6 am.
Another study showed when a group of sixty-seventy women participated in 12 weeks of lavender aromatherapy, they experienced an improvement in their insomnia.
A study conducted on babies showed that when bathed with lavender oil, infants enjoyed a deeper and sound sleep afterward.
How Does it Work
The exact mechanism by which lavender helps with insomnia and anxiety is unknown. Its calming properties may be attributed to the soothing scent and relaxing effects on joints and muscles.
How to Use Lavender Oil for Sleep
Add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil in 2 cups of boiling water and inhale.
As a Bath
Mix 6-8 drops of lavender oil to your bathing water before a bath.
Application on Feet
Massaging the soles of your feet with a tiny amount of lavender oil may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Lavender spray can be used on pillows, blankets, and sheets to get the benefit of its calming effects.
Safety and Precautions
It is advised to dilute lavender oil before use by mixing with any other carrier oil like coconut or olive oil, as pure essential oils may lead to skin irritations.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Lavender oil is safe for both pregnant and lactating women when used in moderate amounts.
Lavender oil may lead to allergies, nausea, and headaches in some people. Discontinue use in any case.