Categories: Wellness

Essential oils to calm anxiety for a good night’s sleep

There’s no denying the benefits of essential oils today. While fancy spas are the first things that come to mind when looking to treat stress and anxiety, essential oils are too an excellent way of calming anxiety and re-centering your mind and body.

Essential oils are aromatic oils that are extracted from plants through distillation. These can be obtained from many different parts of a plant, including its leaves, flowers, and roots. These oils work either by inhalation or topical application for various skin and hair issues.

However, some essential oils have proven to be more beneficial than others in dealing with stress and anxiety. The scent of these oils stimulates the smell receptors in your nose, which then sends messages to your nervous system to soothe your stress. Let’s take a look at some of the best options.

Best essential oils for calming anxiety:

Lavender oil

Image: Courtesy Unsplash/Laura Chouette

One of the most popular essential oils for anxiety, lavender oil has a sweet floral scent with a woody or herbal undertone. It not only helps with managing anxiety, but also has a sedative effect that helps with sleep issues. According to research in 2012, lavender essential oil calms anxiety by impacting your limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions. Use a few drops of lavender oil in warm bath water, mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or almond oil, and feel your stress melt away. Rubbing a few drops on your pillow or applying it directly to your feet, temples, and wrists before sleeping will do the trick too.

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Jasmine oil

Image: Courtesy Unsplash/Lisa Hobbs

With a gorgeous floral scent, jasmine oil is often an ingredient used in perfumes and a number of cosmetic products. Unlike most other essential oils for anxiety, jasmine oil calms your nervous system without causing sleepiness. In fact, it can have a stimulant effect on some people. To use this oil, inhale it directly from the container or add a few drops on your pillow or in a diffuser to fill the room with its aroma.

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Sweet basil oil

(Image credit: Giordi Iremadze/Unsplash)

Sweet basil essential oil has a crisp, herbal scent. In aromatherapy, this oil is believed to help calm the mind and relieve stress. While this oil can also be used for digestive upsets, skincare, and pain or inflammation, using this essential oil for anxiety can be a great way to calm the nervous system down. Pour a few drops into a diffuser and breathe slowly.

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Bergamot oil

Image: Courtesy Unsplash/Christin Hume

This oil comes from bergamot oranges, which is a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. A common ingredient in perfumes, and the herb used in Earl Grey tea, Bergamot has quite a citrusy aroma. In a 2015 study on women in the waiting room of a mental health treatment centre, it was found that 15 minutes of exposure to bergamot essential oil led to an increase in positive feelings. You can simply add 2-3 drops of bergamot oil to a napkin or handkerchief and keep inhaling it from time to time.

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Chamomile oil

Image: Courtesy Unsplash/Brooke Lark

Using this essential oil for anxiety is a practice that has been around for many years. Chamomile oil is extracted from the daisy-like flowers of the chamomile plant. Known for its relaxing and soothing properties, it is a common ingredient in herbal teas that aim to promote peaceful sleep. You can either dilute chamomile oil and massage it onto your skin, or add a few drops of it to a warm bath.

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Rose oil

Extracted from rose petals, rose oil also has a sweet floral smell. In a 2011 study, it was found that massaging the abdomen with rose essential oil led to lower levels of menstrual pain and had calming properties on anxiety. You can soak your feet in a tub of warm water with a few drops of this oil too.

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Ylang ylang

Image: Courtesy Unsplash/Jacob Spaccavento

This oil comes from the yellow flowers of the tropical Cananga tree and has a distinct sweet fruity and floral scent. The practice of using this essential oil for anxiety has been around for a long time, thanks to its calming properties. Ylang ylang can uplift moods and relax the nervous system, all while also lowering blood pressure. You can apply diluted ylang ylang to your skin, add it to a room diffuser, or inhale it directly.

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Valerian oil

Image: Courtesy Unsplash

This herb has also been around since ancient times. Valerian oil is extracted from the roots of the plant and has a bold woody and earthy aroma. This oil contains ingredients that promote sleep and calm nerves. It can also have a slight sedative effect on the body, which is why it is often used as a sleep aid. To incorporate this essential oil for anxiety, add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser and inhale.

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This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.

(Hero and featured image credit: simarik/Getty Images)

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