Different aromas can change your emotions and even your physical health. If you’re new to this idea or are a little skeptical about it, think about how noxious smells like chemicals (bleach, ammonia, paint thinner, etc.) can make you feel nauseous, cause dizziness, and make you cough. Scents can even trigger memories and the emotions associated with those memories.
This is because the olfactory nerve in your body that processes scents is connected to the limbic system in your body which is what controls your memories, moods, and emotions. This connection between the systems is the reason why scents, good and bad, can elicit memories and emotions. Essential oils can have a beneficial effect on your emotional and physical health for this reason. Thanks to this, you can use them in different ways. You can aid skin disorders, repair hair damage, and reduce stress with essential oils when you use them properly.
Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Sleep
Stress, insomnia, and anxiety are some of the biggest problems that adults face on a daily basis. Work, family responsibilities, and bills all add to stress. When you feel stressed your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up, and your breath can be short and quick. Essential oils can help with these issues and allow you to calm down and regain control of your emotions.
The best way to use essential oils for stress relief and as sleep aids is through aromatherapy. This simply refers to breathing in the aroma of the oils. This can be done with an oil diffuser that will spread the aroma throughout a room, via a handkerchief sprinkled with a few drops of oil, or through steam inhalation by adding drops of oil to hot water. The oil will be infused into the stream that you’ll be able to inhale. You can also use essential oils with carrier oils like olive oil or coconut oil and rub a drop or two into acupressure points on your body. Here are a few of the best and most popular essential oils for stress relief.
Even if you’re not familiar with essential oils you’ve probably heard about the calming effect of lavender. This essential oil comes from the lavender plant and is widely used to promote sleep and relaxation. You can sprinkle some on your pillow or diffuse it throughout your bedroom when you’re getting ready for bed. This oil is proven effective through multiple studies, too. Studies have shown its positive effects on blood pressure, skin temperature, and heart rate. Other studies showed that lavender oil can actually alter your brainwaves to calm you down when you’re feeling stressed out.
Lavender oil is generally safe to use via aromatherapy and can also be used on your skin when diluted with a carrier oil. You can also add a few drops to your bath water for a calming effect that will give your relaxing bath an extra boost.
This citrus oil is best known for its positive effects on depression and anxiety. It was popular in Italian folk medicine and throughout the Mediterranean due to its citrusy notes and its general safety. This essential oil is so safe that it can even be ingested without issue. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the main ingredients in Earl Grey tea. Like lavender, bergamot has been put through research studies where it was found to relieve tension and stress in the body by lowering blood pressure and heart rates while also changing brain waves for a calming effect.
Extracted from the jasmine plant, jasmine oil is used widely to combat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It has a beautiful floral fragrance, too. It doesn’t have as much research behind it as some of the other essential oils but there is one study available that proposes jasmine oil can be effective in calming stress in situations.
This specific oil and the plant that it is pressed from is widely used as a mild sedative even in clinical spaces. It’s great for relieving stress and can even be used for specific medical nervous conditions. As with all essential oils, the sesquiterpenes in the oil are the chemical compounds that enter into the body where they can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and have a positive effect on your body on a cellular level. Those properties in the oil are what bring about the calming effect on the central nervous system. Unlike the other oils previously mentioned, valerian oil has more of a woody and earthy fragrance instead of a floral aroma.
If you’re familiar with the soothing effect of chamomile tea, it should be no surprise to you that chamomile oil can be used successfully for stress relief and insomnia. There are two types of chamomile essential oils, German and Roman chamomile. Roman chamomile is better for anxiety and stress while the German oil is used more as a natural skin treatment. Roman chamomile is best described to have a sweet apple fragrance. It is best used via aromatherapy so diffuse some throughout your bedroom at night to relax or add it to your bathwater.
These are just a few essential oils that can be used to reduce stress and promote better sleep. Use them via aromatherapy or rubbed into your pressure points to help when you’re feeling anxious or overly stressed. It’s important to always use quality essential oils and never fragrance oils for the same purposes. The essential oils you use should have no other ingredients other than the plant that it is derived from.
Remember, if using an essential oil on your skin, dilute them first with a carrier oil. You may also want to consult a doctor if you have any pre-existing medical conditions as some oils might exacerbate symptoms in an unforeseen way. Women who are pregnant or nursing should always speak to a doctor or a licensed aromatherapist/herbalist to see if these and other essential oils are safe to use during this time. If you use these essential oils and notice some adverse effects on your skin or in your physical feelings, stop using the oil immediately and seek out medical attention if necessary.
What about you? Have you ever used essential oils for stress relief and sleep? How did they help you? You can share your comment in the comment section below 🙂