So how do essential oils help with sleep?
Short answer: because of the power of aromatherapy and the limbic system.
The connection between oils and sleep has a lot to do with the science of oils, the anatomy of the brain, and the way scents affect our brains.
This connection starts in the limbic system, often referred to as the “emotional brain”. This portion of the brain contains the hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus and thalamus. It handles emotional response, anger, fear, libido, hormone function, behavior, motivation, long and short-term memory, sleep patterns, reproduction, and... sense of smell.
When you breathe in an essential oil, molecules enter the limbic system and elicit a physical and emotional response. The exact details of how smells impact emotions are difficult to define BUT we do know that smell absolutely DOES elicit these responses, and we can use this information to our advantage.
Because each essential oil is derived from a different plant part, every oil has a completely unique chemical profile. The chemical profile of an essential oil is what determines its benefits. For example, some constituents can give an oil a soothing or calming aroma (Lavender, Cedarwood, Peace & Calming), while other constituents can make an oil cleansing, cooling, or invigorating (Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lemon).
When it comes to supporting healthy sleep, using essential oils with more calming aromas can be useful for creating a relaxing atmosphere. We can use the scent-brain connection to help slow our brainwaves and move our physical bodies towards sleep.
What to Do:
1. Diffuse Peace & Calming and Cedarwood every night in your home.
2. Take at least one full minute to slow down and breathe it in.
3. Put your phone in another room before going to bed at night.