If you’re struggling with anxiety or insomnia, consider adding essential oils to your daily self-care routine — not only do they smell amazing, they also boast a smorgasbord of health benefits and may even help you get better sleep at night.
Essential oils are aromatic oils that are extracted from plants through distillation. These can be obtained from many different parts of a plant, including leaves, flowers, and roots. These oils work either by inhalation or topical application for various skin and hair issues.
But some essential oils have proven to be beneficial in dealing with stress and anxiety. The scent of these oils stimulates the smell receptors in your nose, which then sends messages to your nervous system and soothes your stress. Let’s take a look at some of these.
The best essential oils to reduce anxiety and improve sleep
One of the most popular essential oils for anxiety, lavender oil has a sweet floral scent with a woody or herbal undertone. Not only does it help with managing anxiety, but it also has a sedative effect that helps with sleep issues. According to a 2012 study, lavender essential oil calms anxiety by impacting your limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions. You can use a few drops of lavender oil in your warm bath water, mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or almond oil, and enjoy a relaxing shower.
With a gorgeous floral scent, jasmine oil is often an ingredient used in perfumes and a bunch of cosmetic products. Unlike most other essential oils for anxiety, jasmine oil calms down your nervous system without causing sleepiness. In fact, it can have a stimulant effect on some people. To use this oil, you can either inhale it directly from the container or by adding a few drops to tissue paper and place it on your pillow when you’re going to sleep. You can also use it in a diffuser and let the room be filled with the smell.
Sweet basil oil
Sweet basil essential oil is extracted from the same herb that is used to make marinara sauce. It has a crisp, herbal scent. In aromatherapy, this oil is believed to help calm the mind and relieve stress. While this oil can also be used for digestive upsets, skincare, pain or inflammation, using this essential oil for anxiety can be a great way to calm the nervous system down. Pour a few drops into a diffuser and breathe slowly.
This oil comes from bergamot oranges, which is a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. A common ingredient in perfumes, and the herb used in Earl Grey tea, Bergamot has quite a citrusy aroma. In a 2015 study on women in the waiting room of a mental health treatment centre, it was found that 15 minutes of exposure to bergamot essential oil led to an increase in positive feelings. You can simply add 2-3 drops of bergamot oil to a napkin or handkerchief and keep inhaling it from time to time.
Using this essential oil for anxiety is a practice that has been around for many years. Chamomile oil is extracted from the daisy-like flowers of the chamomile plant. Known for its relaxing and soothing properties, it is a common ingredient in herbal teas that aim to promote peaceful sleep. You can either dilute chamomile oil and massage it onto your skin or add a few drops of it to a warm bath.
Extracted from rose petals, just like roses, rose oil also has a sweet floral smell. In a 2011 study, it was found that massaging the abdomen with rose essential oil led to lower levels of menstrual pain and had calming properties on anxiety. You can soak your feet in a tub of warm water with a few drops of this oil, which will go a long way.
This oil comes from the yellow flowers of the tropical Cananga tree and has a certain sweet fruity and floral scent. The practice of using this essential oil for anxiety has been around for a long time, courtesy of its calming properties. Ylang ylang can uplift moods and have a calming effect on the nervous system and also helps to lower blood pressure. You can apply diluted ylang ylang to your skin, add it to a room diffuser, or inhale it directly.
This herb has been around since ancient times. Valerian oil is extracted from the roots of the plant and has a bold woody and earthy aroma. This oil contains ingredients that promote sleep and calm down nerves. It can also have a slight sedative effect on the body, which is why it is often used as a sleep aid. To incorporate this essential oil for anxiety, add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser and inhale.
(Main and featured image: Lisa Hobbs/ Unsplash)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India