Sleep deprivation is a widely held grievance, with many people accustomed to the ill effects. Sleep loss does more to the body than merely producing an irritable temperament, however. It can spur on chronic conditions and shorten your life expectancy.
The results showed a 2.5 point reduction on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) insomnia score.
The PSQI is an effective instrument used to measure the quality and patterns of sleep.
Furthermore, in a study published in the journal The Lancet, four geriatric patients dependent on benzodiazepines (a sedative) suffered from rebound insomnia when their medication was stopped.
Aromatherapy with lavender oil restored their previous sleeping habits.
How does lavender oil aid sleep loss?
According to Dr Fox, evidence shows that inhalation of lavender increases the percentage of deep – or slow-wave – sleep.
In women, lavender usage increased the percentage of stage two – light sleep, and decreased REM sleep, in one study.
“Slow-wave sleep is deep sleep which is especially good for boosting your mental and physical health,” explains Dr Fox.
She continues: “REM sleep is the time in the sleep cycle when the thalamus is active. This is when dreams occur.”
According to Dr Fox, a lowering of REM sleep might be a sign of a resting brain.
When REM sleep is reduced, this is often coupled with longer periods of deeper, slow-wave sleep, she said.
All those who had used a lavender patch in one study reported feeling more energetic in the mornings which may reflect an improvement in the sleep-wake cycle, Dr Fox concludes.
Lavender oil can be inhaled during aromatherapy, added to bath products, applied to the skin as a massage oil, or taken orally as a capsule.