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Do you remember what the first thing people complained about when they fell ill in these last two years was? Let us remind you: it was the loss of sense of smell. Not being able to smell can impact our wakeful experience, right from appetite to focus. But were you aware that a good or bad smell can also impact our sleep?
Yes, we can't smell in our sleep. But many research studies have shown that sweet and foul smells can stimulate our brains to good and bad sleep. In fact, scents and fragrances are a critical part of our daily lives if we pay close attention.
And aromatherapy can help. Let's know the benefits and products to help you sleep better.
More than looking for a particular scent, you should be looking at which fragrance will align with your personality. Or the mood you wanna be in.
You can choose a scent based on what you are feeling right now and how your day went. You can start this way. Choose a bottle and put three drops of essential oil and feel it. If you like it, you can use it. But before that, try to check for any allergies. Here’s a handy list for you to sort your suitable scent for a good sleep.
1. Roman Chamomile - In ancient times, it was known for its hypnotic properties. Roman Chamomile helps you relax and induce sleep in less time than other essential oils or fragrances. It has a light, fresh fragrance like an apple.
2. Ylang Ylang - It is extracted from the flowers of a tropical tree that grows in the Philippines, Indonesia, and parts of Australia. It comes with a heavy sweet smell with notes of fruits and rubber. It can boost mood and reduce depression. Ylang-Ylang works best when mixed with Lavender or Jasmine, making the mood floral and romantic.
3. Lavender - It is a Mediterranean plant with flowers and oils both used for medicinal purposes. It reduces anxiety and relaxes the muscles of our bodies. Antibacterial and antifungal in nature, Lavender is good for people with mild insomnia and restlessness.
4. Rosemary - It has both calming as well energizing effects on our bodies and minds. In several studies, it was found that Rosemary promoted relaxation, boosted alertness, and improved memory. It blends well with Geranium, Peppermint, and Cedarwood or with spice and citrus fragrances.
5. Peppermint - Minty and Refreshing, Peppermint has this inherent quality within it that can soothe away your tension. Not only that, but it can also be used to treat colds and coughs because it works as a decongestant. The only caveat is to look for any allergies as it comes with one strong scent.
6. Cinnamon - Cinnamon is spicy and sweet, warm and fruity, and a perfect antioxidant for your brain and your body. It is generally derived from barks and leaves of trees, so it has a woody flavor in it. If going out helps lift your mood, then Cinnamon is the best fragrance for you. It increases attention, improves serotonin levels, and makes you happy.
7. Eucalyptus - It has a very distinct middle note that has a combination of mint, honey, and citrus elements. It has both relaxing and relieving nature with a fresh and clean aroma. Nothing fancy in it, but works for your sleep. The best part is you can mix it with a wide range of fragrance choices like lemongrass, lemon, rosemary, lavender, cedarwood, and peppermint.
8. Cedarwood - Mentioned in the Bible as the Cedar of Lebanon, Cedarwood is one of the oldest known aromatics, and it comes with a rich, ancient history. A few drops of Cedarwood essential oils in your surroundings can enhance your concentration while decreasing hyperactivity.
Cedarwood's fragrance is emotionally grounding, so it is considered good for detoxifying negative emotions from the mind. With its woodsy smell around, you would feel as happy and calm inside your home as you feel outside, especially when you go for a contemplative walk in the woods.
9. Sandalwood - Like Cedar, the trees of Sandalwood are also one of the ancient trees mentioned in the scriptures. Mostly found in the regions of Southern India and parts of Australia, Sandalwood is one of the most expensive fragrances in the world due to its scarce availability.
Sandalwood aroma can be good for chronic hypertension patients as it reduces blood pressure and improves the sleep-wake cycle. With its rich, woody, and earthy scent, it can calm down nerves, reduces nervousness, and can be a good cure for one’s frequent depressive episodes.
10. Marjoram - Mild and sweet, Marjoram comes in minty and woody notes. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. In folklore and modern scientific research, Marjoram has come across as a familiar herb that is beneficial in cases of indigestion and irregular menstrual cycle. People often confuse its smell with Oregano. But one can identify Marjoram with its sweet smell and excellent expectorant properties. It combines well with Lavender and Rosemary.
Peppermint and Lemon give a bad odor, and Grapefruit and Lemon could cause irritation to ones with sensitive skin. There are several such examples that would differ for different people’s expectations. So how do you find out?
The thumb rule of blending essential oils is the aroma and feel should be pleasant to your mind and your skin. Try not to experiment with harsher, citric tones at the start. Instead, begin with creating a layered fragrance with top, middle and base notes.
Pretty fast, but only in layers if you are inhaling them. We will come to other usages later.
Let’s understand first how the diffuser works with your choice of essential oils.
Top notes evaporate first. So here, you can choose lavender, lemongrass, and eucalyptus.
Middle notes linger, so choose a more comfortable and less intruding smell like jasmine or chamomile.
Base notes are what create the ambiance around you. Even when you are not around, or you have returned from an exhausting day at your office, this fragrance will greet you like a family member who's always around but never pushy. Cedarwood, Sandalwood could be your choice for it.
But how to know the exact amount of essential oils in your blend? For starters, every drop of a base note should be mixed with two drops of middle and three drops of the top note.
Camphor and Peppermint. Or for that matter oils on a more citrus side and with strong fragrances. Although most of the essential oils are produced in a way that they are potentially safe for adults but for kids, and people with critical lung or skin conditions, you always need to check for allergies first.
You should always consider the advice of a healthcare professional and look for the comfort of people around when using essential oils as perfumes.
You should use it no more than 2-3 times a day. Even when you are diffusing it before your sleep, a 30-minutes session is good enough to calm you down. That too when you are only keen on feeling fragrance. In case you want to feel more moisture, then you should use a humidifier.
Do not go blasting essential oils all day around your place. Overexposure can disturb your sleep and might lead to a headache. So use wisely and in moderation.
Only using essential oils can not fix your sleep. But overdosing on fragrances of essential oils for a long time can cause inflammation and asthmatic symptoms.
Exercise, healthy food, and less stress can help you sleep better. Remember, good smells only aid you to sleep. Over-reliance on it can be reduced by taking it in small doses at fairly regular intervals. But before you go all ga-ga with these fragrances, check them for sensitivity.
The best way to know your sensitivity is to go for a skin patch test. Just apply a few drops of any essential oils of your liking on your inner elbow. Paste a band-aid over the test area and wait. Now remove the band-aid after a while. If you see any signs of irritation, itchiness, or inflammation, then you need to be alert about the usage of that essential oil you applied to your skin.
Sometimes the allergic reaction is not immediate and can take days to appear. In that case, you will have to be conscious about the use and exposure to that particular essential oil or oil blends.
There are several ways. You can inhale it, rub it, or drink it.
A diffuser is better for slowly spreading essential oils around your place. Turn it on an hour before you call it a night. You can use a humidifier if you want to spread it around all the rooms of your place more vigorously.
Or, you can rub a few drops on your feet and hands. If your nose and chest feel congested, then you can rub a mix or blend of essential and carrier oils. The best ratio would be one drop of essential oil in a spoonful of carrier oil like coconut or olive oil.
Or, you can pour a few drops of chamomile into a cup of tea and can sip it. Please note that not every essential oil is good for ingestion. So consult a professional before you do that.
Essential oils are part of Aromatherapy that relies on your sense of smell. But the most important part is essential oils need to be chosen based on your personality and body type. And every mix of essential oils could be unique in its own way. You can personalize it with individual fragrances and notes that are long-lasting. If used in the right ways, essential oils can supercharge your day and relax your nights. Pick your combinations and start experimenting.