Essential oils are powerful and effective sleep aids when used appropriately. More about How to Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep here: Learn how specific essential oils, backed by science, effect the brain and assist the Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) process at each stage.

Video Transcript: The Sleeping Brain and Essential Oils

Sleep has a profound influence on our moods and our health.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalance, increased inflammation are all results of short term sleep restriction.

A 2010 meta-analysis, including 1,382,999 participants from 8 different countries, showed that anything less than 7-hours of quality sleep a night increased the risk of death (all causes) by 12%.

Your body needs sleep but your brain needs it more!

Sleep affects the formation and maintenance of pathways in your brain that deal with concentration, response time, and that let you learn and create new memories.

In 2013, a research team from the University of Rochester Medical Center, made a huge breakthrough in sleep research.

They discovered that the brain has it’s own system of cleansing itself of waste protein build-up they call the “glymphatic” system.

This is important because a number of neurological disorders – including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – are characterized by an accumulation of proteins in the brain.

This research team discovered a phenomenon they called “CSF pulsation”.

The brain actually throbs like a beating heart as it pumps more fluid than the kidneys to clear the brain of interstitial waste products…

AND most, if not all, of this fascinating cleansing process happens while you sleep.

The keys to sleep are also in the brain

To get quality sleep our brains must repeat a process of slowing our brain waves down to enter the 4 stages of the sleep cycle.

Graphic: Stages of the Sleeping Brain & Corresponding Essential Oils
Stage 1: Transition to Sleep -> Low Alpha Brain Waves
Stage 2: Light Sleep -> Low Alpha & Theta Waves
Stage 3: Deep Sleep -> Theta & Delta Waves
REM: Dream Stage -> Beta Brain Waves (Brain is quite active).

Studies have shown that repeating this process of slowing our brain waves down leads to what is called entrainment training our brains to flip the sleep switch more easily.

The science of sleep and essential oils

Numerous EEG studies demonstrate the ability of essential oils to slow brain waves from an excited, wakeful state to the relaxed Alpha, Theta, and Delta wave states that are indicative of Slow Wave Sleep.

What are the best essential oils for sleep according to science?

Graphic: Stages of the Sleeping Brain & Corresponding Essential Oils
Stage 1: Transition to Sleep -> Low Alpha Brain Waves | Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Stage 2: Light Sleep -> Low Alpha & Theta Waves | Lavender & Bergamot Essential Oils
Stage 3: Deep Sleep -> Theta & Delta Waves | Chamomile and Sandalwood Essential Oils
REM: Dream Stage -> Beta Brain Waves (Brain is quite active).

Ylang Ylang: Flowers of the Cananga tree native to the South Pacific. Known by natives as an aphrodesiac and for its calming qualities. Subjects of a study in an ylang-ylang oil group rated themselves calmer and more relaxed when compared to subjects in the control group.

Lavender: Known for thousands of years as a sleep remedy and for relaxation. There are literally hundreds of published papers on Pub Med alone regarding the efficacy of lavender essential oil for sleep. EEG studies demonstrate lavender oil inhalation significantly decreases alpha 1 (8–10Hz) activity at parietal and posterior temporal regions. The decrease of alpha 1 activity is highly correlated with comfortable state of subjects…which is brainiac for “CHILL”.

Bergamot: Studies show a significant synergistic effect when lavender essential oil is applied with bergamot, demonstrating the mixture of the two oils are more effective than lavender alone. The inhalation of a bergamot/lavender essential oil mixture significantly increased the absolute theta in the right prefrontal region. There were also significant differences in the relative fast and slow alpha after inhalation when compared with the control group. These EEG changes revealed that both the physical and mental states became more stable and relaxed after the inhalation of essential oil. In other words Bergamot and Lavender are better together… like salt and pepper… campfires and marshmallows… left and right nostrils… that place with all of the Europeans…

Sandalwood: EEG studies demonstrate significant sedative and relaxation effects as well as positive response to its smell (everyone seems to love the smell of Sandalwood).

Chamomile: EEG studies show significant changes of alpha 1 are observed after the inhalation of chamomile as well as sedative effects including positive effects on anxious feelings and self-esteem when applied during Aromatherapy massage.

Sleep – Let us help you.

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