How harnessing the power of nature can help us catch some quality zzzz’s
By Charlotte Williams • 24th September 2018
Sleep is sacred to us at Noctu, and we’re continually on the search for anything that may soothe us into a deeper, more peaceful slumber, naturally. Essential Oils have been reported to do just that, and we can reveal a selection that can aid sleep.
Essential Oils have been used for centuries as part of religious and holistic practices, with their seductive scents thought to balance our body and mind. Our sense of smell is connected to key areas of our brain, the amygdala and limbic system, responsible for our emotions and mood. Thus the inhalation of certain oils, of aromas, can have a powerful impact on our wellbeing.
Essential Oils are the ‘essence’ of plants, and it’s argued that in the distillation process, you are separating the most healing component of them, making for potent remedies. These aromatic compounds are the tool of the Aromatherapist, and have been widely used to relieve migraines, joint inflammation, symptoms of cold and flu, and also to magically enhance sleep.
Essential Oils can benefit sleep via two mechanisms. Firstly by calming an overactive, fractious mind, and secondly by clearing airways, thus reducing snoring and sleep apnea. Making essential oils part of your bedtime routine can also help condition your mind to associate a specific scent with falling asleep, as the olfactory system is powerfully linked to memories.
Top Essential Oils For Sleep:
These delicate flowers, deriving their name from the Persian yasmin meaning ‘gift from god’ have been heavily researched the passed few years, with their smell reported to be ‘as calming as valium’ Researchers discovered that Jasmine activates GABA receptors in the brain, and thus can act via the same mechanism as commonly prescribed sleeping pills and mood enhancers. Research into Jasmine’s effects can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy".
Lavender has been touted since the middle ages as a natural sleep aid, and modern day studies have supported this. Lavender’s calming qualities are consistently reported, with it showing to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature – all processes necessary for a natural transition to sleep. It is also thought to calm the nerves of women with postnatal depression; women who are often the most sleep deprived.
It is no coincidence that Peter Rabbit was prescribed Camomile Tea by his mother. It’s thought that Camomile, in particular Roman Camomile, not only reduces anxiety induced insomnia, but also reduces symptoms of colic in babies; something that can give both babies and their parents a restless night.
Meaning ‘flower of flowers’ is beautiful in both appearance and scent. The inhalation of it’s sweet floral aroma is thought to help combat depression, and relieve anxiety, calming the mind before sleep. It’s ‘romantic’ scent, makes it the perfect oil to diffuse in the bedroom.
Often found in natural sleep aids, valerian’s sedative effects are thought to be due to the valerenic acid found in the root. The essential oil has a wide range of applications; not only as a remedy for insomnia, but as a skin protectant, helping guard against infections and wrinkles. Why not add a couple of drops to your night time moisturiser for multiple benefits.
This grounding oil will take you on a walk through the woods before sleep. It’s earthy aroma supports the function of the pineal gland, responsible for the production of the body’s sleep hormone, melatonin.
Used for centuries by the Aborigines for it’s healing properties, eucalyptus acts as a great decongestant; an anti-inflammatory oil that opens up airways, draining mucus helping for clearer breathing. It’s also a great natural insect repellent, so perfect for a better night’s sleep when travelling abroad.
Essential oils can be used in various ways: through a diffuser, added to a cream, or sprayed on, when mixed with a base oil, such as jojoba, or grapeseed. It’s important that research is undertaken prior to use, as essential oils are highly concentrated and thus potent. When used responsibly however, they can be a wonderful addition to your home, and part of a divine night time ritual, that will send you into a heavenly sleep.