Lavender, a heady and enchanting purple flower, has been valued for centuries across the world for its healing and relaxation properties
What is lavender?
The Lavender plant is versatile and known for its delicate floral scent and numerous medicinal uses. Native to the Mediterranean region, lavender has been cultivated for centuries and is now grown worldwide. The plant has found its way into various forms such as supplements, topicals, and aromatherapy.
Lavender is from the Lavandula genus, which includes different species known for their distinct properties. Among these, Lavandula angustifolia stands out for its popularity in alternative medicine. This particular species is sought after for its potential benefits in reducing anxiety and promoting sleep.
The soothing aroma of lavender flowers is believed to have a calming effect on the nervous system, making it an ideal choice for relaxation and stress relief. Aromatherapy using lavender has been found to help improve sleep quality, especially with its ability to induce deep, slow-wave sleep.
It can be used in various ways to promote better and healthy sleep.
Lavender essential oil benefits
Lavender essential oil offers numerous benefits for promoting a good night's sleep and improving sleep quality. Its calming and soothing properties are well-known, making it an effective natural solution for those struggling with sleep issues.
In addition to its calming effect, lavender essential oil may also help with skin concerns that can disrupt sleep, such as breakouts and eczema. Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe irritated skin, while its antimicrobial properties may help prevent and heal blemishes. It can help soothe minor skin irritations like bug bites, rashes, or burns, promoting faster wound healing. Furthermore, it is effective in managing pain, making it a valuable addition to your first aid kit.
Surprisingly, the positive effects of lavender oil may also aid in digestive health. It can help alleviate symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and gas, making it a suitable choice for those with digestive issues. Additionally, it has shown potential for preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth.
Using lavender essential oil for sleep is easy and versatile. You can add a few drops to a diffuser or warm bath to create a tranquil atmosphere before bedtime. Applying diluted oil to your wrists or temples can also help relax your mind and prepare you for a restful night's sleep.
Lavender essential oil soap is also very relaxing in the bath and shower before bedtime.
MORE: What is lavender essential oil good for and how to make it at home?
Does lavender really help you sleep?
Lavender aromatherapy has long been touted for its ability to promote the quality of sleep and relaxation. But does it really work? The answer is yes, and there's science to back it up.
One of the main components of lavender essential oil is linalool, a chemical compound with proven calming effects. Linalool has been found to reduce anxiety and stress levels, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
How does linalool achieve these benefits? It works by interacting with the central nervous system, specifically the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, anxiety, and mood. Linalool enhances the activity of GABA, leading to a sense of relaxation and improved sleep quality.
Not only is it one of the major oils to help with sleep problems, but it also has additional benefits. Its soothing scent can alleviate tension and promote a calm atmosphere, ideal for winding down before bedtime. Furthermore, it has been found to possess analgesic properties, which can help with headaches or body aches that may interfere with sleep.
To reap the benefits of lavender, much like other oils for sleep, simply apply a few drops to your routine.
Why does lavender help you sleep?
Lavender is touted as a sleep aid as it has been found to affect brain waves, increasing the amount of slow-wave sleep, also known as deep sleep. This could help individuals with their sleep cycle. During this phase, the body undergoes vital repair and restoration processes, aiding in physical and mental rejuvenation. If you have a sleep disorder, suffer from insomnia or struggle with relaxing, this mighty oil could help with quality sleep.
In addition to its sleep-enhancing effects, the benefits of lavender oil also boast anxiety-relieving properties, making it an ideal addition to your bedtime routine. The soothing aroma can promote a sense of calm, reducing stress levels and creating an optimal environment for restful sleep.
MORE: What is tea tree essential oil and how to use it at home?
Which type of lavender oil is best for sleep?
There is a wide range of lavender products and it can feel like a minefield. When it comes to choosing the best type of lavender essential oil for sleep, Lavandula angustifolia, also known as true lavender, is considered to be the most effective. This particular species of lavender is known for its therapeutic and sedative properties and has been widely studied for its sleep-inducing benefits.
Lavandula angustifolia contains high levels of linalool and linalyl acetate, which are compounds known for their calming and sedative effects.
While other types of lavender, such as lavandin, also contain similar constituents, studies have shown that Lavandula angustifolia has been more consistently effective in improving sleep quality. Lavandin, a hybrid of Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia, may have similar aromatic properties, but it doesn't possess the same therapeutic benefits for sleep.
Shop our range of vegan soap bars, including out calming lavender essential oil soap bar.
Is it safe to apply lavender oil to the skin?
Applying it to the skin is generally safe when used properly and in moderation. However, it's important to be mindful of potential skin sensitivity and take necessary precautions.
Factors that may affect skin sensitivity include pre-existing skin conditions, such as dermatitis or eczema, as well as individual sensitivity to certain ingredients. To determine if you have sensitive skin, it's advisable to perform a patch test before using lavender topically. Apply a small amount of diluted mixture, or essential oil blend, to a small area of your skin, like the inner forearm, and wait 24 hours to see if any irritation or allergic reaction occurs.
When applying directly to the skin, it is recommended to dilute it with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil or coconut oil, to reduce the risk of skin irritation. A general rule of thumb is to mix about 1 to 2 drops of lavender oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.
Although lavender oil is generally well-tolerated, it's important to be aware of any potential side effects. In rare cases, it may cause skin irritation, redness, or a rash. If you experience any adverse reactions, consult your doctor or a health care professional and stop using the product.
Overall, when used safely and properly diluted, the lavender scent can provide various benefits for the skin, such as soothing dryness, promoting relaxation, and improving sleep quality for those with sensitive skin.
How to use lavender oil for better sleep
Here are two effective ways to use lavender for better sleep:
1. Diffuser: One popular method is to use an essential oil diffuser. Simply add about five drops to your diffuser, fill it with water, and let it run for about 20 minutes before you get into bed. The diffuser will disperse the calming scent of lavender throughout your room, creating a serene and peaceful environment that promotes relaxation and sleep.
2. Topical Application: Another way to use lavender oil is by applying it topically. Dilute a couple of drops with a carrier oil, and create a blend of lavender with another skin-loving product, such as sweet almond oil or coconut oil, and gently massage it over your neck, temples, upper back, and head area. The soothing and aromatic properties of lavender oil can help calm your senses, reduce stress levels, and create a tranquil ambience that aids in sleep.
To create a lavender bedtime routine, dilate your pores with the hot water from your soak or shower, then carry out a skincare regime as the nutrients, oils, and butters will be more readily absorbed into the skin. Use a small amount of cleanser - or a vegan soap - and rub in circular motions on your complexion before rinsing off. You can also choose to double cleanse or exfoliate as well as part of your nightly routines. After cleansing, rub diluted the oil on your wrists and neck.
There are face moisturisers, body washes, and an entire host of skincare products that use the powerful oil.
You can incorporate lavender in your skincare routine with soap bars or body washes.
Other ways to use lavender to help sleep
Lavender-infused pillows, sleep masks, and bedding will create a calming atmosphere, helping to ease your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
Another option is to try lavender aromatherapy. This can be done by using lavender-scented candles, room sprays, or lavender sachets. Simply place these in your bedroom and allow the soothing floral aroma to fill the air. The relaxing properties of lavender can alleviate stress and anxiety levels, making it easier to unwind and drift off into a deep sleep.
Additionally, incorporating lavender into your pre-sleep routine can be beneficial. This can involve various methods such as taking a warm bath infused with lavender bath salts or adding a few drops to your nighttime skincare routine. The combination of lavender aroma with the calming bath will help de-stress and relax you.
By utilising the effects of lavender in a variety of ways, you can tap into its natural properties and enhance your sleep experience.
One of the simplest methods is inhaling the aroma of lavender oil. Place a drop or two on your palms, rub them together, and then inhale deeply. This can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels, making it easier to fall asleep.
Possible side effects
While generally safe to use, there are a few possible side effects that you should be aware of when using it for improved sleep quality. Skin irritation is one potential side effect, especially for those with sensitive skin.
In rare instances, some people may experience an allergic reaction. If you develop a rash, itching, or swelling after using it discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.
Furthermore, some people may be sensitive to the scent of lavender and experience nausea or headaches when exposed to it for prolonged periods. If you find the aroma overwhelming, try using fewer drops or opt for a milder alternative, such as chamomile essential oil or bergamot essential oil.
It is important to note that it should not be ingested without the guidance of a healthcare professional, as it can cause stomach upset or other digestive issues.
If you experience any adverse effects after using, stop using it immediately and seek medical advice. It's essential to listen to your body and adjust usage accordingly to ensure a safe and pleasant experience with lavender oil for sleep.
Dosage and preparation
When utilising the positive effects of lavender oil for sleep, it is important to understand the proper dosage and preparation to maximise its benefits. Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent, so it is crucial to exercise caution and dilute them properly before use.
Start by choosing a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil. Carrier oils help dilute the essential oil and prevent skin irritation. A general guideline is to add 1 to 2 drops of lavender oil for every 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
For a massage blend, mix the carrier oil and lavender oil together and gently massage it onto your neck, shoulders, chest, and soles of your feet. This helps to promote relaxation and calmness.
Another popular method is adding a few drops to warm bath water. The steam rising from the bath will help diffuse the floral aroma, creating a relaxing atmosphere before bedtime.
Inhalation is also effective for sleep. You can add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser or simply inhale the scent directly from the bottle with a deep breath. This method allows the sedative effects of lavender to work on your nervous system, helping you to unwind and prepare for a restful sleep.
It is worth noting that the concentration of lavender essential oil can vary between products. Always read the instructions and labels carefully to ensure you are using the recommended amount. If you are unsure, consult with a healthcare professional or aromatherapist for guidance.
By following these dosage and preparation guidelines, you can safely and effectively incorporate them into your bedtime routine for improved sleep quality.
What lavender oil should I buy?
When it comes to using lavender oil for sleep disturbance or problems, it is crucial to choose a high-quality product that is both potent and pure. To ensure the efficacy of the oil, there are several factors to consider when looking for the right oils for sleep.
Look for oils that come from specified plant species, such as Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis. These species are known for their therapeutic properties and are commonly used in aromatherapy for sleep.
Transparency is key when selecting the right oil because there's a wide range of products on the market. Look for companies that provide information about their extraction methods, as well as the chemotype of the oil. The chemotype refers to the specific chemical composition of the oil, which can vary depending on factors like geographic location and climate.
It is also important to note that the term "therapeutic grade" is not a regulated term and does not guarantee the quality of the oil. Instead, opt for oils that are produced using ethical and sustainable practices.