Studies have shown that a good night’s rest has the potential to positively impact virtually all the systems in our body. From our skin health and the condition of our hair to the balance of our hormones and mental wellbeing, sleep is the quiet saviour of our all-round good health.
Despite this, research shows that the average UK adult gets just 6.66 hours of good quality sleep. This is compared to the ideal 7-9 hours we should be getting each night. So how can you improve the quality of your rest? As our work-life environment blends into one, knowing how to switch off and nurture a peaceful and calming environment is becoming more and more important. That’s where essential oils come in to help you nurture your skin health and prepare your mind and body for a good sleep.
The science of sleep
While you sleep, your skin works hard to repair any damage that has occurred during the day. Cells renew and are produced at a higher rate. However, the skin barrier is also more permeable, which increases the loss of moisture. For this reason, moisturisers and oils play a particularly important role to reduce dryness and irritation overnight.
Poor sleep over a long period of time can increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, tipping the body out of balance. This not only encourages the build-up of water in places such as the eye area, but also elevates inflammation, which can present itself as a rash or redness in the skin.
The essence of a good sleep
Alongside nourishing the skin, essential oils can help the mind and body prepare for sleep through aromatherapy. Used for centuries and across cultures, essential oils have gained popularity for their calming and healing effect.
When it comes to sleep, the most commonly used essential oil is lavender, for its effect in calming anxiety and easing restlessness.
Other essential oils that also support a good night’s sleep are:
- Chamomile – long known for its calming and relaxing properties, chamomile may be enjoyed as an essential oil or as chamomile tea. Similar to lavender, chamomile can aid in reducing anxiety and calming a busy mind.
- Vetiver – a lesser-known essential oil but just as powerful, Vetiver is a perennial bunchgrass, closely related to sorghum, and is taken as a tonic for the nervous system.
- Bergamot – like chamomile, bergamot tea is a lovely hot drink. It is particularly powerful in its ability to lower your heart rate and reduce blood pressure, helping to ease you into a good sleep.
- Clary Sage – a natural sedative, Clary sage has an anti-depressant effect and reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which can affect your natural wake-sleep cycle or circadian rhythm.
Settle to sleep
Good sleep hygiene habits include:
- Switching off screens at least an hour before bed.
- Avoiding the energy-boosting adrenaline kick from exercising just before you sleep.
- Listening to the wake-sleep cycle of your mind and body.
Read the full post on our favourite tips for a restful night’s sleep here.
When it comes to using essential oils, never apply them directly to your skin. Instead, some of the best ways of using them include sprinkling a few drops on the underside of your pillow or mixing them with a carrier oil, such as a grapeseed, and applying them to pulse points, such as your wrists. Alternatively, a diffuser is a great way to let the essential oil naturally fill your room and create a peaceful environment and setting for sleep.
Do you have a favourite essential oil which helps you get to sleep?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below!
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