Sleep is an important and integral part of a healthy lifestyle. That said, a lack of it can be extremely detrimental to one’s overall health. Aside from affecting your functionality the following morning, sleep deprivation can also increase the risk of serious health diseases.
If you’re struggling to get the recommended 7-8 hours a night of quality sleep, you are thus increasing your risk of poor cognitive functioning, depression, anxiety, a weakened immune system, heart disease and a lowered libido.
Further, the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation can also lead to the use, and often abuse, of prescription sleep aids, with The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealing that around 4% of Americans are currently using prescription sleep aids (2).
In April of this year, the FDA released a mandate that called for attention to the serious or life-threatening risks associated with n three sedative-hypnotic sleep aids: eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien). Whilst these drugs are used to help maintain sleep, the FDA has linked them to 20 reported deaths, caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, car accidents, apparent suicide and 46 non-fatal but serious injuries, which included accidental overdoses, falls and near drownings.
The potential side effects that come from using sleeping pills include dizziness, constipation, daytime drowsiness, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and dry mouth. Furthermore, aside from the increased risk of addiction, a 2018 study from F1000 Research linked the use of hypnotic sleep aids to a higher risk of early death.
Using sleeping pills may come with harmful side-effects. That said, many are seeking out natural alternatives that would help address their sleep concerns.
Essential oils are natural oils derived from nature (seeds, fruits and plants) through distillation or cold pressing and still holding the characteristic scent of the source from which they were extracted. In harnessing the power of scent, essential oils can help to address various health concerns, be it seasonal allergies or sleep deprivation.
With each passing day, we’re finding out more about the role that different smells can play in our lives. This is due to the fact that scents are so closely linked to our memories and emotions. How many times have you encountered a smell that took you back to a fond childhood memory? That’s because upon encountering the scent, the cells present in the nose sent information to a region of the brain (the amygdala) that then invoked an emotional reaction and brought up a memory.
Scents help to invoke calm and relaxing responses. Therefore, essential oils can be used as a natural tool to induce better sleep.