Some nights, it seems like it is simply impossible to fall asleep. Your mind may suddenly start to race with all the things that need to get done, it might be hard to find a comfortable position, or you are too hot with your blankets and too cold without them. There are many ways we can try to induce sleep, but the answer could be as simple as breathing. Some studies suggest that the lavender scent is a catalyst for a good night’s sleep. From infants to adults, lavender may be the remedy for those long, sleepless nights.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders.” It is thought that sleeping with lavender on your pillow will help restless sleepers relax and drift off into a slumber.
In a study done in 2005 at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, scientists determined that “When brain waves were monitored in a lab in a 31-person sleep study […] whiffs of lavender in vials changed the quality of sleep compared with distilled water smelled as a control by the same subjects on another night,” as stated in Wall Street Journal. It was found that those “who breathed in the lavender, administered intermittently for a total of eight minutes at bedtime, reported feeling more vigorous in the morning than during the night when water was sniffed,” according to Wall Street Journal.
Meir Kryger, director of research and sleep education at Gaylord Sleep Medicine, says that “lavender aromatherapy is a ‘reasonable’ option to try for people with mild insomnia, but it is most likely to work as part of an overall calming bedtime routine,” Wall Street Journal explains. For children and adults, it is suggested to pair lavender with a bedtime bath routine in order to feel relaxed and ready for bed. A study conducted in 2007 “found a lavender-scented bath oil helped infants cry less and sleep more deeply,” according to Wall Street Journal; however, those families who already gave their babies a bedtime bath were permitted to be part of the study. Jodi Mindell, a professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, explains that “the routine itself is likely the most important factor, but the calming scent may play a role.” Either way, this study found that the children who were routinely given a bath with lavender scent lotion or fragrant cleanser were able to sleep better than those who did not. Routine plus the relaxing scent provides an efficient way to remind the body that it is time for bed.
Verdict: Fact. The lavender scent has been linked to a good night’s sleep. It is suggested to add two to three drops of lavender oil to a warm bath right before bedtime, apply one to two drops of lavender oil on your wrists before sleeping, or put a few drops on cotton balls and place them under your pillow. Always be sure to purchase only pure essential oil, and make sure it is not a room fragrance for full effect. Also, remember that a little goes a long way, so only use a few drops or it can become overpowering and won’t work as efficiently.
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What other natural sleep aids do you know of?