Your sense of smell is a very powerful thing. It is our only sense that goes directly into our brains. Smells enter our nostrils and up the olfactory nerve onto the surface of our brain.
It’s no surprise, then, that certain smells can have an impact on our mood and behavior. That’s essentially what aromatherapy is all about. Using scents to alter our brain activity.
Are you skeptical about the effectiveness of aromatherapy?
Before you brush it off, I’d like you to think about something. Have you ever smelled a scent that brought back a memory that is so intense it is like you were back in that time and place? That is the power of smell.
For those that have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, aromatherapy can be a powerful tool in your arsenal.
My Own Aromatherapy Story
I have always had trouble sleeping. For two reasons mainly. The biggest reason was that I would always get into bed and my mind would race. It was so hard to just let my thoughts go and just drift off to sleep. It was not uncommon for me to take over an hour or more to fall asleep once I got into bed.
The other reason was that I worked on my feet as a waiter for many years. My body would be achy when I got to bed. Not to mention the odd working hours. It was essential that I get to sleep quickly after getting to bed, but it would rarely happen.
I began with using essential oils for a light rub down. I tried oils that were good for penetrating the skin and relaxing the muscles. It didn’t hurt that they also smelled good.
After doing some research, I found that I could be using essential oils specifically to calm my mind and fall asleep faster. I combined oils that would help ease my achy muscles while at the same time work to put my brain in sleep mode. And it worked out great.
I now use essential oils in a diffuser to fill my room with scents that will help me fall asleep faster. Though I no longer work on my feet, I still occasionally get a rub down with essential oils that relax the muscles and the mind.
How To Beat Stress With Aromatherapy
Stress can affect our sleep in many ways and aromatherapy is a great way to address each of the symptoms.
Stress can make our muscles tight and eventually lead to discomfort. Those knots in your shoulder are probably caused by something stressing you out. Achy muscles can be distracting when you try to sleep.
Using essential oils to rub onto the tight areas of your body will help relax your muscles and ease the tension that may be causing you to have trouble getting comfortable in bed.
Of course, stress also manifests itself in your thoughts. As I mentioned, at night my mind would work over all kinds of issues that were stressing me out. Not exactly the best time to be overthinking.
Going for essential oils like lavender and chamomile will work wonders at keeping your mind calm and centered. These scents, and others, can also get the brain to release the hormone melatonin. When that hormone is released, it washes over the brain and uses it as a signal to shut down all those distracting thoughts and just go to sleep.
You may not eliminate the cause of the stress in your life with aromatherapy, but it will help you get some rest. Lack of sleep can augment whatever is causing your stress in life. Getting rest is the first line of defense to battle back and reduce that stress.
Using Aromatherapy To Stay Healthy
Cold and flu season can wreck the quality of your sleep. Coughs, body aches, stuffy nose and sore throats can all lead to some really rough night’s sleep.
But, we need to get rest to get better.
Some essential oils can not only reduce the effects of the common cold, but can keep you from catching a cold in the first place.
Oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus are great for relieving congestion. Remember using Vick’s on your chest when you were a kid with a cold? These oils have the same effect without any chemicals.
A fever can be reduced by using peppermint or black pepper essential oils.
Even better than trying to get rid of a cold is preventing it in the first place. An aromatherapy diffuser filled with eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil or others will help disinfect a room that may be harboring cold bacteria.
If you can eliminate the microbes in your bedroom then you reduce the risk of getting sick in the first place.
How Can You Get Started Using Aromatherapy To Sleep Better?
The best place to start would be with a guide to essential oils specifically to help you sleep.
Once you have read that primer, get yourself some of the recommended oils and see which ones you like best. There are many essential oils that work to help you sleep. Finding one whose scent you like best is a matter of trying a few.
Everyone loves a massage, so try to convince your partner to trade body rubs with some essential oils for achy muscles.
Incorporating aromatherapy into your nighttime routine will put you on a path to deep sleep. Some people will try to convince you that aromatherapy is a placebo. That you are tricking your brain into believing it works. Maybe they’re right, but the placebo effect has still been shown to induce positive results on the user.
When the results speak for themselves you won’t care why it works. As long as you are getting the rest you need it won’t matter. The worst case scenario to aromatherapy is that your bedroom will smell a lot better!
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