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Making Scents of Information
Insomnia is a condition that is often helped by the use of aromatherapy; lavender is one of the most popular essential oils for insomnia but there are others too!
Insomnia is caused by a number of different circumstances; perhaps the leading cause of insomnia in today's world is stress. Whatever the cause of your insomnia, the results are the same; tiredness, foggy brain, reduced capabilities, anxiety and, if left untreated, depression. However, there are several ways to deal with insomnia, one of which is aromatherapy.
How to Use Aromatherapy for Insomnia
There are a couple of ways in which you can use aromatherapy to help you fall asleep more easily at bed time; these include:
-adding essential oils to a diffuser just before you go to bed; however, do not leave the diffuser on/lit/unattended when you fall asleep. This method is probably most suitable for helping a child or partner fall asleep - but while you are still awake!
-adding essential oils to a warm bath before you go to bed; you can add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to the bath water or add to a blend in a bubble bath or bath oil. Check for contra-indications before you do this
-use your chosen essential oils in a massage blend; however you will have to persuade your partner to administer the massage!
-use your chosen essential oils in a spritzer and spray on your pillow just before you go to sleep; this method is preferable to adding a couple of drops of essential oil direct to your pillow as it will not stain or mark your bed linen. Spritzers are made up of water and essential oils (and perhaps a preservative). A spritzer is probably one of the best ways to use essential oils for insomnia.
Lavender Essential Oil for Insomnia
According to Kathi Keville and Mindy Green in Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of the best essential oils to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Lavender is a gentle essential oil as it is high in alcohols. It has several therapeutic properties but is most well known for its relaxing and sedative qualities. Make sure that you know the type of lavender essential oil that you are using (there are several species).
Chamomile Essential Oil for Insomnia
There are several species of chamomile too but Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) essential oil is probably the best choice to use for insomnia. This is an ancient herb that has gentle, therapeutic properties including sedative and relaxing properties. Combine it with lavender essential oil for a greater synergistic effect.
Marjoram Essential Oil for Insomnia
Sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana) essential oil is another essential oil that is reputed to have sedative qualities to aid insomnia. However, it is not such a “gentle” oil as lavender and chamomile essential oil and is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Other Essential Oils for Insomnia
Essential oils that have sedative or relaxing qualities may be used to help insomnia; in addition, if there is an underlying cause for insomnia, such as depression, you may want to use essential oils that are suitable for that particular condition too. Other essential oils that have sedative qualities include neroli, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang and valerian. If insomnia is depression-related, you can add suitable uplifting essential oils to the blend too, such as several of the citrus oils.
General Cautions for Using Essential Oils
Dilute essential oils in a carrier oil or blend before applying them to the skin. Always check for contra-indications before using a particular essential oil; if you are unfamiliar with the use of essential oils, use caution and consult a qualified and experienced aromatherapist for further advice.
-Davis, Patricia, 1999, Aromatherapy: An A-Z, UK: Vermilion
-Keville, Kathi, Mindy, Green, 2009, 2nd Edition, Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, US: Crossing Press
-Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons
-Price, Shirley, 2000, Aromatherapy Workbook, UK: Thorsons
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