I wasn’t hugely convinced by the effects of Aromatherapy until a close friend got into it and suggested I try it for my sleep issues. So, I did a little research and tried it out for myself one night, and now there is absolutely no going back, it’s become part of my nightly routine. My bedside table now sports a stylish diffuser that helps me fall into a deep, restorative slumber with whatever scent I choose, and I wake up feeling refreshed and energised. Working a highly demanding advertising job, it also keeps my worries and stresses at bay, so I gently fall asleep with positive thoughts and emotions. I would never have thought the benefits of aromatherapy for sleep would be this effective. So, I am here to share my experience, going from a chronic sleep-paralysis and insomnia sufferer to a completely zen and calm sleeping being.
Let’s face it, most people at some period in their lives have had trouble sleeping. Whether it be something simple like that cup of caffeine too late in the day to something more extreme like chronic anxiety- these things (and all the things in between) effect our ability to achieve restorative sleep which in turn effect our mood and performance the following day. There are a range of complicated sleep solutions and programs out there, some are expensive and unfortunately don’t work. So, today we are going to go au naturale and focus on aromatherapy for restful sleep. Aromatherapy dates back to 3000BC when essential oils were used by the Egyptians in their daily lives and it’s been used in many cultures around the world since. But why is aromatherapy considered to be so powerful?
Well firstly, smell is a sense that triggers the most vivid and deep memories. When you get a whiff of cinnamon, it may remind you of fresh cinnamon donuts you used to eat as a child from the local bakery or the smell of lavender may remind you of your grandma’s house. The smell of jasmine reminds me of the house I grew up in from which I have fond memories, even on the most stressful days, that smell still puts a smile on my face. Smells conjure up these positive memories, invoke feelings of warmth and happiness and boost your mood. On the flip side, they reduce stress by creating space in your mind to breathe and just be in that happy space.
Aside from the nostalgia smells create, there is a direct relationship between smells and the emotional centre of our brain. Looking at the science behind smells, they can also trigger hormones such and dopamine and serotonin, which in help promote relaxation and induce sleep. Below I have listed some scents will help you get restorative sleep. Choosing one (or two or all) depends on what your needs are and also quite simply, the smell you most love or maybe the one that brings about a memory that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Some other scents that help with relaxation which you may want to try are:
- Known to reduce anxiety, depression and stress
- Relaxes the mind and body
- Excellent mood elevator
Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Lime- any citrus scent you like!)
- Eases anxiety and irritability
- Known to boost mood, energy and alertness
- Elevates feelings of joy and happiness
- Boosts libido
- Relieves PMS symptoms
- Works as an anti-depressant
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases cognitive stamina, motivation and overall performance
- Increases energy and improves exercise performance
- Alleviates headaches
- Relieves anxiety, depression and chronic stress
- Induces a happy mood
- Works as an aphrodisiac to improve sex drive
- Combats high blood pressure and relieves anger
- Has sedative qualities that help calm the nervous system
- Promotes mental clarity
- Relaxing and calming, but not drowsy
- Boosts memory
- Acts as an aphrodisiac
- Known to decrease blood pressure
- Eases nerve and muscle spasms
Marjoram (this has many benefits!)
- Good for soothing muscle and joint pain
- Assists in promoting peaceful sleep
- Helps relieve headaches, muscles and joint pain
- Relieves the effects of spasms in the intestines
- Acts like the opposite of an aphrodisiac and helps suppress or control abnormal and extreme sexual urges.
- Improves cognitive function and prevents Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Improves blood flow and circulation
- Improves the symptoms related to PMS
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Helps combat insomnia
- Helps reduce depression
- Acts like a sedative to help ease convulsions such as epilepsy, mental conditions and nervous disorders.
- Works as a muscle relaxant to relieve headaches, stomach aches and muscle cramps.
- Boosts libido
- Helps to control PMS symptoms
- Lowers blood pressure and increases circulation
- Calms the central nervous system and helps ease anxiety and other nervousness