How to sleep: Sniff this oil before bed to get a good night’s sleep
Sleep loss can seem like an immutable aspect of modern day living, with entrenched habits hampering your body clock.
The condition is exasperating at best, life-threatening at worst, kickstarting mechanisms that can lead to chronic complications such as heart disease.
It is obviously important to identify the underlying cause of sleep loss, but expert opinion suggests the condition can be reversed without getting to the heart of the problem.
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In fact, making even small tweaks to your lifestyle can help to restart your body clock.
If you have seemingly tried all options, one overlooked but promising solution is to inhale essential oils.
One essential oil that has been shown to improve sleep quality is lavender oil, which comes from the distillation of the spikes of the fragrant flower.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), lavender has long been touted for its calming effects on anxiety and agitation, factors that can disrupt the sleep-cycle.
As the NSF explains: “Its scent may slow down the nervous system, which relaxes the body and mind to improve sleep quality.”
As Holland and Barrett reports, lavender fragrance is also believed to decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, which helps you fall into a deep sleep.
Evidence investigating the sleep-inducing benefits of lavender fragrance support these claims.
One study assessed how lavender essential oil affected 31 young, healthy sleepers.
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Researchers found that lavender increased the amount of slow and deep wave sleep in participants.
Slow, deep wave sleep is the stage of sleep when your body and brain waves slow down, allowing the body to relax and reset.
All participants also reported feeling “higher vigour” the next morning.
How to take it?
According to Holland and Barrett, swirling a few drops of lavender oil into a soothing bath to calm your mind or add a few drops to your pillow can encourage the body to unwind.
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The NSF also says incorporating the scent into a relaxing massage by using a lavender-infused massage oil may also help to promote sleep.
Other ways to unwind
According to the NHS, a simple self-help tip is to keep regular sleeping hours, which programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
The health site explains: “Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule.”
It is also important to try and wake up at the same time every day to maintain a healthy sleep routine.
As the NHS points out, while it may seem like a good idea to try to catch up on sleep after a bad night, doing so on a regular basis can also disrupt your sleep routine.
Addressing the underlying cause
To tackle sleep loss head-on, you have to establish the underlying cause of sleep loss.
Keeping a sleep diary can you help you achieve this, as the NHS explains: “It may uncover lifestyle habits or daily activities that contribute to your sleeplessness.”
In fact, if you see your GP or a sleep expert they will probably ask you to keep a sleep diary to help them diagnose your sleep problems, it adds.
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