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Can You Take Lavender for Sleep?

Main image courtesy of Unsplash.

Plants are the source of some wonderful herbal treatments. Everything from remedies like tinctures, to cosmetics, to supplements can come from the plant world. One of the most popular plants, thanks to its many benefits, is lavender. Not only does it have a pleasing scent, but it can also be used in all kinds of different ways, such as aromatherapy, soothing moisturizers, and even added to tea to help promote feelings of calm. 

We’re always searching for new ways to get restful sleep, and the truth is many people just can’t seem to find a way to get the hours they need. Sleep is so important for our bodies, since it’s when our brains can recharge and prepare us for the next day. When it’s interrupted, our health can suffer.

This beautiful purple-hued plant has been popular for centuries, but can it offer any benefits when it comes to getting better sleep? Glad you asked because in today’s article, we’re discussing:

  • The major benefits of lavender
  • Can you use lavender for sleep?
  • Other ways to ensure you’re getting restful sleep

What are the major benefits of using lavender?

Why you should include this fragrant plant into your daily routine

The scent of lavender is very soothing, and it can promote feelings of relaxation and tranquility. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Most of us are familiar with the sight of lavender, with its beautiful purple flowers and unmistakable scent. Lavender scent has found its way into a variety of products, including cleaning items, cosmetics, lotions, candles, and diffusers. There are even lots of ways to cook with the dried flowers, which retain most of their scent and offer a light, airy taste to recipes involving baked goods, sauces, and even salad dressings. These plants are native to the Mediterranean area, are a part of the mint family, and thrive in a dry climate with well-drained soil. There are plenty of species available now, and you can probably find a cultivar that will do well in your own sunny garden!

If you love the scent of lavender, you’re not alone, as it’s one of the most popular out there, especially if you’re looking for an easy way to invite a little more tranquility into your day.

There are a lot of benefits to lavender, and here are some of the top ways this plant can prove to be most useful.

Helps calm skin inflammation

One of the earliest uses of lavender was to treat skin inflammation and blemishes. Lavender has natural soothing properties, which make it a great choice if you’re dealing with acne, rashes, or other skin irritations. The best way to get all the benefits of lavender onto your skin is by using it in an essential oil form. You’ll need to mix the essential oil with another carrier oil (such as jojoba or avocado) or dilute it with water. Just apply anywhere you’re experiencing dryness, inflammation, or irritation, and you should notice a calming feeling.

Using an essential oil with another carrier oil on your skin is also a good way to incorporate a little aromatherapy, as lavender can induce feelings of calm and reduce any stress you may be feeling. There are also lots of lotions, moisturizers, and creams available for topical application that include lavender as an ingredient that would be a great way to sooth your skin. 

Can help with pain

Did you know that lavender might also be a good way to naturally help with pain and soreness? Lots of folks are a little apprehensive of turning to over the counter painkillers for every ache and pain, and with good reason. This is why it’s great to know that using a lavender oil directly on the source of the pain or in a compress can help lessen the uncomfortable feeling of acute or chronic pain. Lavender oil contains two important anti-inflammatories, linalyl acetate and linalool. Applying a mixture of the essential oil and a carrier oil can help decrease the intensity of the pain.

You can also consider breathing in the essential oil when it’s placed in a diffuser. This is a great way to trigger your body’s calming mechanism as you apply the lavender oil to the source of the pain. 

Helps with mood

We’ve mentioned that lavender is a popular scent when it comes to aromatherapy, and that’s for good reason. Not only does it smell amazing, but it has been shown to help with calming the nervous system. This can help when you’re feeling a little stressed and need to take a moment to calm down. There have also been studies that linked using this scent to lifting moods and lessening feelings of anxiety and depression. Taking a few moments out of your day to stop and smell some lavender can have a big impact on lowering your stress levels, which is essential if you want to stay in good health and maintain your immune system.  

Can kill viruses and bacteria

Like a lot of plants, lavender has antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, which makes it a great, natural way to treat small cuts or conditions such as athlete’s foot or ringworm. You can either rub the oil mixture directly onto the skin or use a cloth to apply it. Before there were common antiseptics to prevent the spread of infection, lavender was used because it was very effective at this. 

May help reduce menopausal hot flashes

According to a 2016 study, inhaling the scent of lavender also helped menopausal women experience less hot flashes. Hot flashes can be uncomfortable and can happen at any time of the day or night, which makes them incredibly disruptive. Lavender essential oil in a diffuser is a great way to potentially calm this if you’re experiencing a lot of these. In addition to using a diffuser, you could also consider spraying your bed or places in your home with the essential oil mixed with water so you can get the benefits throughout the day.

Could help with asthma 

For the same reasons lavender reduces inflammation on the skin, it may also help relieve some of the symptoms of asthma. Inhaling the scent of lavender may lessen the allergic reaction that triggers the inflammation of the respiratory tract that’s common with people who are dealing with the condition. 

There are so many benefits to lavender, and it’s so easy to incorporate into parts of your day. But what about your night?

Can you take lavender for sleep?

Does lavender help with sleep?

Using lavender in any form before bed is a good way to tell your brain that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

If you’ve ever struggled to get good sleep, you’re not alone. Around 35% of Americans are considered sleep deprived, which means they’re getting less than the recommended 7 hours each night. Lots of folks have trouble winding down and falling asleep, while others struggle to get back to sleep after waking up at some point during the night. Whether it’s anxiety that keeps your mind racing, or thoughts of what the next day holds, it’s a fact that a lot of people are operating under less than ideal amounts of sleep.

This isn’t good news for your health, as a good sleep cycle is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, coupled with a balanced diet and plenty of physical activity. If you’re having trouble sleeping, did you know that lavender may be able to help with that as well? That’s right, lavender is one of the most popular natural sleep aids because it is a natural anxiety reliever and sedative. The compounds that act as anti-inflammatories (linalyl acetate, linalool, and camphor) also interact with your brain and nervous system to promote relaxation and reduce agitation and restlessness. 

Studies have shown that lavender has the ability to calm people before they drift off to sleep, as well as allow them to fall asleep again after waking. Lavender not only lets you forget about anxious thoughts and allows the brain to drift off to sleep, but it may also improve your body’s melatonin levels, which can have a big impact on your sleep. Sufficient melatonin may help better regulate your sleep/wake cycle, ensuring you’re ready to fall asleep when the time comes. 

How to use lavender to fall asleep

There are a few ways you can incorporate lavender into your bedtime routine. Try a few methods out and see what works for you. Using a natural remedy like lavender is a great way to help your body fall asleep without the use of over the counter or prescription sleep aids.

  1. Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular ways to help with sleep issues. You can put the essential oil (when it’s mixed with a carrier oil) directly onto your skin, ensuring you’ll smell it as you fall asleep and throughout the night. Effective places to put the oil include your temples, your collar bone, or the soles of your feet—these are all fantastic places to start. 

Additionally you can put a few drops onto a tissue and place it under your pillowcase so you can reap the benefits of the scent throughout the night.

  1. In a diffuser/candle

Another popular way to use lavender before bed is with a diffuser or a candle. You can place them either near your bed and use them anywhere from 10-30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. The lavender should signal to the brain that it’s time to wind down and start the sleep cycle. Just make sure to blow the candle out before you fall asleep!

  1. As a tea

Lavender as a tea is a great way to get all the benefits of lavender in a soothing cup of tea. Lavender is an herb, so it’s naturally caffeine free, which makes it the ideal choice before bed. You get to inhale the wonderful scent of the flowers as the tea steeps, and also experience the calming effect of warm tea. Both the scent and the beverage should help you relax so that you’re able to fall asleep.

  1. Night time salve

Another way to get the benefits of lavender is to use it in a product like a lotion, cream, or moisturizer before bed. Put it on your face, your body, or your feet and enjoy the relaxing scent as well as the healing properties of your lotion. 

  1. Spray bottle

Want to make sure you have a hint of lavender everywhere you sleep? Then consider putting a few drops of the essential oil into a distilled water spray and use it as a mister. You can lightly spray your pillow, sheets, blanket, and even your sleep clothes. This is a wonderful way to keep the smell of lavender with you throughout the night, especially if you’re prone to waking up occasionally. 

What are additional ways to achieve good sleep? 

There are more ways to help get better sleep!

Sleep is so crucial to our well-being, so make sure you set yourself up for success. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

In addition to including lavender in your sleep routine, consider these helpful tips to get a good night’s rest:

  • Create a schedule and try to go to bed at the same time each night 
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol a few hours before bed
  • Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet
  • Limit screen time before bed as the blue light can interfere with your sleep/wake schedule
  • Include physical activity in your day

Consider turning to lavender for better sleep!

Lavender is a natural way to help relax your brain and body, and prepare you to get restful sleep. Whether you want to use it as an oil, spray down your sheets and pillows, or enjoy a cup of tea, lavender is a safe way to get the sleep you need to be at your best.

You should consult a licensed health care professional before starting any supplement, dietary, or exercise program, especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Author: Dr. Emil Hodzovic

Holding degrees in both medicine and Sports + Exercise Science from renowned research institution Cardiff University, Dr. Emil Hodzovic has the dual distinction of being a practicing clinician and respected authority in nutrition and supplementation.

During his parallel careers as a personal trainer and professional athlete, Dr. Emil recognized a critical flaw in the supplement space: too much emphasis on appearance and performance—and zero concern for making holistic health and happiness accessible to everyone.

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