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The Impact of Essential Oils on Sleep Quality

The Impact of Essential Oils on Sleep Quality

Essential oils and their benefits for restful sleep


Sleep is more than just a break from our busy lives, it is essential to our physical and mental well-being .

Numerous studies have shown that sleep influences everything from our mood to our resistance to disease, including serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Unfortunately, in our modern society, sleep is often neglected, which has detrimental consequences on our overall health.

Fortunately we have Nature and through aromatherapy , we have tools to combat this problem.

I suggest you delve into the biological mechanisms of sleep before exploring how essential oils can improve the quality of our rest, all, not to mention spoiling anything, supported by rigorous scientific research.

🌿Biological Mechanisms of Sleep

Sleep is not a simple “switching off” of our body, it is a complex process regulated by biological systems .

When we sleep, we enter a phase of physical and mental recovery.

Sleep thus allows:

  • cell renewal
  • recovery of pain and stress resistance abilities
  • the growth and maturation of the brain system, particularly in children,
  • secretion of sleep hormones
  • maintaining body temperature
  • the replenishment of energy stocks in muscle and nerve cells
  • the regulation of blood sugar via insulin secretion, therefore poor sleep promotes weight gain,
  • the development of the immune system,
  • the consolidation of learning and memorization processes thanks to the maintenance of synaptic connections,
  • Increased alertness during the waking period,
  • Improving mood and regulating stress, which is why a lack of sleep increases the risk of depressive symptoms.

(Sleep disorders. 2nd edition. M. Billiard, Y. Dauvilliers. Elsevier-Masson, Issy-les-Moulineaux (2011)) .

According to a study by the European Institute of Dietetics and Micronutrition (IEDM), two main systems, the circadian system and the homeostatic sleep system, work in tandem to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.

The circadian system is our internal biological clock, influenced by environmental factors like light and darkness.

The homeostatic system, for its part, measures our need for sleep based on the time spent awake.

Neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin also play a crucial role in this process.

🌿Consequences of Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep is not to be taken lightly.

It can have devastating effects on the central nervous system, affecting concentration, memory and even mental health.

Thus, lack of sleep can increase the risk of developing anxiety and depressive disorders.

Additionally, it can compromise the immune system, increase inflammation, and even contribute to chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Here is a table summarizing the severity criteria for insomnia according to the High Authority of Health (HAS)



Daytime sound

Mild insomnia

1 night

Low impact

Moderate insomnia

2 or 3 nights

Fatigue, moodiness, tension, irritability

Severe insomnia

4 nights or more

Fatigue, moodiness, tension, irritability, diffuse hypersensitivity, concentration problems, impaired psychomotor performance

🌿The Benefits of Aromatherapy on Sleep

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to treat a variety of ailments, including sleep disorders .

This natural, non-invasive method offers an effective alternative to prescription medications, which often come with unwanted side effects.

Among the most effective essential oils for improving the quality of sleep , we find lavender , neroli and Roman chamomile , bitter bitter orange , and ylang ylang .

These oils are widely recognized for their soothing and relaxing properties, which act on the nervous system to induce a state of calm and relaxation.

Take the example of lavender essential oil (Lavandula augustifolia) .

Rich in linalool, a compound that has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, this oil acts directly on the central nervous system .

Linalool increases the action of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that plays a key role in reducing neuronal activity.

This mechanism promotes a state of calm and relaxation , which is essential for quality sleep.

This claim is supported by an assessment by the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2012, which published a report affirming the benefits of lavender for sleep and relaxation ( Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) (2012) – “Assessment report on Lavandula angustifolia Miller, aetheroleum and Lavandula angustifolia Miller, flos” EMA/HMPC/143183/2010 27 March 2012).

Petitgrain bitter orange essential oil (Citrus aurantium L. ssp amara) , extracted from the leaves and branches of the bitter orange tree, is also very effective in improving sleep .

It contains compounds like linalyl acetate, which have relaxing and sedative properties.

This oil is often recommended to reduce anxiety and stress, two major factors in insomnia. (Festy Danièle, My bible of essential oils, 2018, Editions Leduc ; Carvalho-Freitas Maria Isabel Roth and Mirtes Costa, Anxiolitic and sedative effects of extracts and essential oil from Citrus aurantium L., Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2002, 25(12 ), 1629-1633 )

Ylang ylang essential oil ( Cananga odorata ), for its part, extracted from the flowers of the tree of the same name, is another essential oil beneficial for sleep.

It is known for its soothing properties and its mood-balancing effect. It helps regulate the heart rate and lower blood pressure, making it an interesting calming and tranquilizing oil in the treatment of insomnia ( Faucon Michel, Traité d'aromaothérapie, 2017, sang de la terre edition. )

Finally, ylang ylang EO is called “harmonizing” because it allows you to both relax and feel more awake and attentive. ( Hongratanaworakit Tapanee, and G Buchbauer, Evaluation of the Harmonizing Effect of Ylang-Ylang Oil on Humans after Inhalation, 2004, Planta medica, 70: 632-36 )

It is often used in combination with other essential oils to maximize its relaxing effects .

In short, aromatherapy offers a natural and scientifically proven solution to improve the quality of sleep .

Their use can be especially beneficial for those looking to avoid the side effects of prescription medications while still getting restful sleep .

🌿Complementary Scientific Studies

🌿Essential Oil Synergies

The effectiveness of essential oils can be amplified when used synergistically .

The synergistic effect which we have already dealt with in a dedicated article was the subject of a study by Hajhashemi in 2015 and showed, for example, that the combination of lemon balm and lavender had an almost additive effect over time. some sleep. (Hajhashemi Valiollah and Azadeh Safaei, Hypnotic effect of Coriandrum sativum, Ziziphus jujuba, Lavandula angustifolia and Melissa officinalis extracts in mice, 2015, Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences 10 (6): 477-84)


Sleep is essential to our overall well-being, and aromatherapy offers a natural and scientifically proven method to improve the quality of our sleep . By understanding the specific properties of each oil and using them synergistically, we can optimize their benefits and contribute to better overall health.

We also invite you to discover our synergy of organic essential oils "sleep & stress" specially created to help you find serenity and sleep.

To learn more about the benefits of essential oils , you can browse our blog “symbiosis notebooks” .

🌿Naturally yours.🌿

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