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Sleep Wholistically: Fact or Folklore

April 14, 2009

Every body craves a good nights sleep. Sleep wholistically using natural aides to obtain a good nights sleep.

Essential Oils in the Sleep Laboratory

There are olfactory and circadian rhythm experiments done
on humans and rats that are somewhat informative, although the folklore
of aromatherapy and sleep far exceeds the scientific research. Dr. N. Goel
published a concise human study in Chronobiology International stating that
essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia increased the percentage of deep and
restorative slow-wave sleep in men and women. All subjects reported more
morning vigor. Oil of lavender had opposite effects in men and women in
terms of how long it took to reach a wakened state after falling asleep.
Different essential oils have different effects on sleep patterns in men,
women, and animals. Therefore, choosing a particular essential oil as a
sleep aid is difficult.

The inhaled essence of essential oil of cedar in humans
significantly shortened the daytime napping nonrapid eye movement stage
2 sleep latency. The shortened napping cycle could possibly be due to the
stimulation of neural or humoral mechanisms in humans by the cedrol in the
essential oil of cedar. The cedar oil had the opposite effect in rats, as noted in
the Journal of Psychiatry Clinical Neuroscience (Sano, 1998). Valerian blocks
gamma-aminobutyric acid transaminase, thus enhancing GABA subreceptor
activity and promoting sleep. Lemon may worsen insomnia, as reported by in
an article in Chemical Senses titled “The Sleep-Enhancing Effect of Valerian
Inhalation and the Sleep-Shortening Effect of Lemon Inhalation” (Komori et
al., 2006).

Essential oils can have specific stimulating or inhibiting effects on the
parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems of the human body
that together form the autonomic nervous system. Essential oil of rose, for
example, decreases adrenal cortisol release, which is a sympathetic response
to stress, by greater than 30% (Haze, 2002). In other words, you become
greatly relaxed because your body is not excited in a sympathetic manner
by reactions to worry and fears that may be a significant contribution to the
causes of insomnia.

Insomnia is an individual experience just as any remedy or treatment by
prescription is an experiment on the individual. Testing different essential oils
in different fashions may provide a natural solution to obtain better sleep. At
bedtime less essential aroma is better. A strong concentration of any aroma
can be stimulating, just as loud music played when attempting to go to sleep
can keep you awake. Experiment to find your ideal scent for sleep by using an
oil of choice on a cotton ball placed under the pillow, diffused throughout the
room, diluted in an atomizer of water “spritzed” as a hydrosol on the body, or
massaged on the reflexology points under the big toes.

The following essential oils have been suggested to be safe sleep aids:
bergamot, Lavandula angustifolia, Ravensara aromatica, mandarin, neroli,
sweet orange, Melissa officinalis, sandalwood, roman chamomile, and

Good night

the oilMD

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