The Healing Benefits Of Lavender For Sleep And Relaxation
A few years ago, I saw this video on aromatherapy. I thought of giving it a try. I was skeptical at first, thinking how can some aroma oils help me relax and feel better?
Boy, was I proved wrong.
When the scent, the soothing aroma of your chosen essential oil hits you, you instantly feel light, right? Whether it be chamomile, ylang-ylang, rosemary, or the public favorite, lavender – the scent of these oils, herbs, lotions, or beverages is distinct and each of them has its benefit.
In this blog, however, I’ll be talking about the most effective and commonly used worldwide herb for sleep – Lavender. One of the widely used and popular herbs, lavender has a reputation for improving sleep, boosting relaxation, releasing stress, and more.
What Is About This Plant?
This bright purple plant is perennial and has been used to treat various ailments for centuries. There are many varieties of this plant, one of which is more commonly used for medicinal purposes – Lavandula Angustifolia.
Now grown and used worldwide, this plant’s leaves, oil, and even flowers are used in various herbal medicines. Taken orally, lavender can act as a supplement to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia. Used as a lotion, lavender can help soothe aches and pains. Used in aromatherapy, this purple plant can help soothe nerves, release stress, treat sleep issues, and more!
Fun Facts About Lavender!
- Lavender is native to North Africa and the Mediterranean. Although, now, lavender grows in Europe, the USA, Australia, and other regions too. The growth of lavender was so fast that it has been called a weed.
- Lavender comes from the Latin word, Lavare, meaning ‘to wash’. The plant can also symbolize success, happiness, serenity, purity, and grace.
- Despite the depiction, lavender is not always purple. Some plant varieties are blue, pink, or even yellow.
Healing Benefits Of Lavender
Lavender has had interesting origins, but one thing that has remained common all these centuries is that the plant has some amazing healing benefits.
Some of them are:
1. Improves Sleep
One of the big questions when it comes to lavender for sleep is “Does it work?”. If you’re an insomniac, you must have heard numerous recommendations for lavender oil as an alternative, right? It’s okay to be skeptical but let me tell you, it does work!
This herb has been proven by countless studies to help improve sleep – quality and duration. Lavender has sedative and relaxing effects and while it may not cure your insomnia, it can at least guarantee a good night’s rest.
2. Releases Stress
Feeling overwhelmed? Stressed? Can’t seem to relax? Lavender can help. I’m not saying that lavender can cure your stress either but it can help you relax and release the tension in your muscles.
Studies have shown that lavender can help reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone in our bodies. Feeling stressed? Maybe drink a cup of lavender-infused tea or treat yourself to lavender aromatherapy.
3. Reduces Anxiety
Lavender has anti-anxiety properties. Researches have shown that taking the lavender supplement orally and inhaling the lavender aroma can reduce anxiety. Similarly, lavender can help reduce the symptoms of mild and moderate depression as well.
If lavender is not helping you in reducing anxiety and depression, please consult a mental health professional.
4. Is Anti-inflammatory
Lavender can also lower the risk of inflammation and there have been many studies showing that lavender has antiseptic properties that can aid in treating wounds and infections.
Please consult a doctor before using lavender to treat wounds and infections.
5. Soothes Aches And Pains
Lavender can also be considered a natural pain reliever or a natural antibiotic. Using lavender in aromatherapy and massages can help soothe body aches and pains, such as:
- Labor pains
- Ear infections
- Post-surgery pains
Although, it is recommended that you consult your doctor before taking lavender for pain relief.
6. Helps With PMS
For women, struggling with menstrual pain can be annoying and difficult. It has been recorded in research that lavender can help soothe PMS (premenstrual pains). Used as aromatherapy, lotion, infuser, or beverage, lavender is sure to help soothe the pain you feel during your menstrual cycle.
How Can Lavender Be Used?
There are many ways lavender can be used to treat the above-mentioned conditions:
1. As An Essential Oil
Lavender as an essential oil can be used in massages, aromatherapy, or even sprinkling a few drops on your pillow to help sleep better.
2. As A Capsule
Lavender as a capsule can be taken as a supplement like St. John’s Warts, omega-3, kava, etc.
3. As An Herb
Whether you want the freshness of lavender in your bath, the freshness of lavender leaves in your tea, or just lavender as an herb in your recipes.
Possible Side Effects Of Lavender
Warning: Lavender allergy is real. While this plant is safe to use in any form, many people might have allergic reactions to lavender oil, herb, or supplement. Some possible side effects of lavender can be:
- Skin irritation
- Sneezing or coughing
- Low blood pressure
People who should avoid such products are:
- Pregnant women and women who are breast-feeding
- People scheduled for surgery
- People with sensitive hormones
It is also recommended you do not use lavender with other herbs and supplements that help in sleep or are recommended for insomnia. Using lavender with other supplements might increase drowsiness.
To check skin allergy, use a small amount of lavender oil on a dry patch of skin first. If you develop any rashes or hives, immediately wash the area and discontinue the use of lavender. If you’re using the lavender essential oil, please mix it with a few drops of water or oil before use.
Alternatives To Lavender For Sleep
If you are not able to use lavender for sleep and relaxation, don’t fret. Here are some alternatives to lavender for sleep:
- Ylang-Ylang: Has been found to help boost mood, reduce depression, release anxiety, and promote relaxation.
- Valerian: Has been found to help with insomnia, calm nerves, soothe headaches, and reduce stress.
- Chamomile: Has been found to improve sleep, improves digestion, controls blood sugar, boosts immunity, and reduces anxiety and depression.
Lavender – in its many forms – can help promote better sleep and reduce anxiety. However, it is not recommended that lavender is used in place of therapy and other professional treatment.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and/or stress, it is suggested you ask a professional therapist for a diagnosis first before using lavender as self-treatment.
The benefits of lavender are many, just remember to understand how it can benefit you, personally. I hope these healing benefits of lavender help you sleep better and relax.
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Rest well and take care!
Which lavender to drink? English or French?
Hi! Thanks for visiting Calm Sage. To answer your question, both English and French lavender have equal benefits when it comes to relaxation or aromatherapy in general. Most of all, it depends on your preference. English lavender is lighter and sweeter whereas French lavender has a strong scent. I hope this helps!