Living in a 24-hour society has taken its toll on our health and quality of sleep. Working shifts means going against our body’s natural rhythm. At night, we are supposed to be in deep slumber in the comfort of our bed, but night workers like my husband and I have to stay active, awake, and alert. During the day, while all others are busy in their works, it is time for us to tuck ourselves in bed, but hours have passed, and we are still wide awake, making us feeling restless and listless.
Not getting enough sleep is one reason why many shift workers get involved in fatigue-related road accidents. Besides this, shift workers have poorer health, so it is important to still have that seven to eight hours of quality sleep. But “How much sleep we need depends on how we are biologically hardwired and on our body’s needs,” according to Jade Wu PhD.
My husband and I have been working as caregivers in a facility for the elderly for years, and we have been working in shifts. Because of broken sleeping hours, we both suffered from insomnia which left us feeling tired most of the time. We have once almost got into a highway collision just because he could not stop yawning, losing his focus. That incident was a wakeup call for us both that we decided to seek help for our sleep problems. We tried different methods, and the safest way we found useful for us both and will not hurt our health is the use of essential oils.
Best Essential Oils That Help Induce Sleep
Essential oils are said to be good for the skin as they penetrate to the innermost layer and work on the body’s physiology in many ways. It positively affects your body whether topically, by ingestion, or inhaling through diffusion.
Dr. Rena Szabo, PsyD, CAADC, MA had these following results from studying a group of people who used essential oils:
Stress levels before oils were 69%. After diffusing oils, the rate dropped to 49%.
61% of the team felt overwhelmed before oils. After diffusing the oils it dropped to 32%.
Lavender is the most popular of essential oils when it comes to its sedative and relaxing effects on the body. Therapeutic-grade lavender oil is right for your skin because of its antiseptic properties. In fact, spa products such as bath salts and bath oils use lavender. I even use a lavender night moisturizer which makes me feel clean as I sleep.
Baccharis Uncinella produces essential oils through hydrodistillation. Just like lavender, it also undergoes some testing and is proven beneficial in inducing sleep because of its sedative effects.
Valerian essential oil has been used for a hundred years, which is excellent in fighting off insomnia, stress, teeth grinding, anxiety, and restless leg syndrome. It is even used and is proven effective in relieving menstrual cramps.
Bergamot essential oil can be applied to the skin while taking your shower before you sleep. Inhaling it allows you to experience its calming aroma efficaciously and at the same time giving you healthy and brighter skin.
Ylang ylang essential oil is known to be very effective as a sedative, a satisfying antidepressant, and is commonly used in our hometown for its calming effect on the nerves. It is also used as an aphrodisiac in some cultures to activate romance to couples who have a dull sex life. Its oil is extracted through steam distillation of its fresh flowers. It is commonly used in perfumes and aromatherapy treatments and also has a wide variety of medicinal purposes.
Essential oils have been proven effective in relaxing our body and mind that we can see our self-worth, escalate self-acceptance, and develop a sense of self-love. Feeling at peace free from fear, criticism, looking for approval, and emotional pain forces the cortisol level to go down and is the backdoor to acquiring balance in the body’s stress response and healthy endocrine. That will mean regulation (improved production) of our sleep hormone melatonin.
The relaxing feeling we experience from the use of essential oils not just supports our natural sleep and keeps us restful, it also enables us to be supportive parents to our teenagers as we still have the energy to bond with them during our free time. Family life has been more worthwhile as essential oil save our nights.
“Aromatherapy is effective, but in my experience, there are no prescriptions that work for everyone. It’s far better to find what works for you,” says cognitive psychologist Pamela Dalton.
Essential oils may be scientifically proven to be effective, but no one cure is effective to all. If symptoms persist in your case, seeking medical advice would be more appropriate.
If you have sensitivities or allergies, see your primary care physician first before indulging in the use of essential oils.
If you are to ingest or take the essential oil internally, be sure to ask guidance from a certified aromatherapist or healthcare provider.