OPINION: Aromatherapy and plants offer better sleep experience

Aromatherapy is the concept of using aromatic materials as a good sleeping aid and helpful to someone’s overall well being. Many certain plants and essential oils being diffused can help with sleep and relaxation when you need something to ease stress. Photo by Jessica Johnson.

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If you want a better night’s sleep try aromatherapy or the power of household plants.

Living on campus can be stressful enough, but when you have to live with five other people, it gets difficult to sleep at night sometimes. I have never been a night person and I am always in bed by 9 p.m. and up early in the morning. So, when I first started doing research about aromatherapy and the power of household plants I was intrigued by what they can offer in terms of a sleep aid.

Aromatherapy is based on the use of aromatic materials, including essential oils and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving one’s well-being and actually goes back to ancient times, as The Sleep Doctor describes.

Aromatherapy is often seen in the form of a diffuser, a process that disperses essential oils so their aroma fills a room, which greatly improves one’s ability to sleep and to stay asleep longer.

One of the most common uses for aromatherapy is to help aid in one’s sleep by having a diffuser turned on right before you go to bed so you will be surrounded by the essential oils making you fall asleep faster.

My roommate recently got a diffuser with lavender essential oil and it has helped me tremendously when trying to sleep. I recommend looking into getting a diffuser as it’s something I wish I’d invested in earlier.

You can’t just go with any essential oil, though. It has to be a scent that helps promote a calm and relaxing sleep.

According to The Sleep Doctor, one of the essential oils that helps to induce a sense of calm, relaxation and sleep is lavender.

  • The smell of rose and Geranium are known to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • The essential oil jasmine promotes sleep and helps to reduce restless sleep.
  • Sandalwood and vanilla have similar sedative effects.
  • While citrus can help to promote sleep in some, others may be awakened and stimulated by it and shouldn’t use it when trying to sleep.

Seeing as one of the most powerful senses we have is our sense of smell, it makes sense that aromatherapy and essential oils would help in bringing a great night’s rest.

HuffPost said, “Scents have power to evoke emotions and memories instantly and can directly impact our bodies through our nervous system.”

Our sense of smell connects directly to the brain, which is then in charge of many different nerves, one of which allows us to feel calm and soothed. This helps to explain why our bodies may react to certain smells the way they do.

“Essential oils like lavender have even been shown to react the same way biochemically that anti-anxiety medications do with certain neuroreceptors,” said HuffPost.

One thing I would have liked to invest more time into before coming to college was how plants can be used as a tool to help you sleep. I don’t like to rely on sleeping medicine or supplements to help me fall asleep and I am much happier trying aromatherapy or plants as an alternative. I’d much rather have a diffuser or plant at my bedside than have to take anything to aid in sleep.

Aside from aromatherapy, household plants also have the ability to aid in sleep. While lavender essential oils can help to promote sleep, the real deal can too. Lavender plants are just as potent as the oils and having one by your bedside would help tremendously.

According to ProFlowers, Aloe Vera helps to bring oxygen into a room at night making it easier to breathe and sleep. I think that if you aren’t willing to try aromatherapy then you should try one of many plants that can help with sleep.

One of the many other household plants that ProFlowers talks about is the Areca Palm, which acts as a natural humidifier and can help people with sinus problems to sleep easier. These are just a few of the plants that ProFlowers lists along with the reasons how they help to promote sleep. You can check out the entire list here.