Why you should give essential oils a try
Madeleine Steinbach/Shutterstock Since ancient times, healing herbal oils have been used to calm, relieve stress, and relax the body. And modern research continues to support the benefits of essential oils, as countless studies have shown that certain herbs can intervene in the stress response by keeping cortisol levels in check and restoring calm to the nervous system, says Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D, author, and holistic health expert. But while stress is certainly a concerning factor in America, it correlates directly with another giant problem: Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. “During high periods of stress, the one thing we’re most incapable of doing is getting a good night’s sleep,” says Dr. Jones. In fact, a survey by the American Psychological Association found that 42 percent of adults reported that their sleep quality is fair or poor and 43 percent of them reported that stress was a key factor in causing them to lie wide awake at night. Thankfully, essential oils can help treat both chronic issues plaguing many adults today. We talked to experts in the fields of integrative and herbal medicine to find out the best—and worst—essential oils for sleep.
Gayvoronskaya_Yana/Shutterstock You probably associate this herb most with tea, since it’s one of the most popular sipped soothers. It’s been long praised for centuries for its high dose of flavonoids and has been particularly useful for treating digestive and stomach issues. “Its calming effect makes it a salve for stress-related gas, indigestion, and acidity, as well as for peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome,” says Dr. Jones. “Millions also enjoy the fragrant flowers for gently calming the nerves and soothing stress and tension.” As a mild sedative, she recommends brewing a cup of chamomile oil tea and enjoy it 45 to 60 minutes before bedtime to help relax and drift off to dreamland.” Find out more secrets to falling—and staying asleep—tonight.
Anna Ok/Shutterstock There’s a reason this floral scent has been used in everything from perfumes to night creams. It’s not only relaxing, but it’s been shown to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a recent study, published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, demonstrated this exactly. “They found that aromatherapy with rose oil can reduce anxiety by reducing sympathetic stimulation,” says Elizabeth Trattner, AP, DOM, National Board Certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture with a private practice in Miami Beach. “I recommend it for bedtime use because it helps you feel grounded, centered and secure before bedtime.” Here are the most impressive benefits of using roses for skin care.