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Using Aromatherapy To Help You Fall Asleep And Stay Asleep

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These days, everyone's trying to master the art of getting 8 hours of deep sleep every night. Those who suffer from intermittent insomnia can have a particularly difficult time with this, and they can suffer from drowsiness and anxiety. One vastly underutilized option for aiding sleep is aromatherapy, which can help greatly in both getting to sleep and staying in a deep sleep for the entire night. 

Lavender and Valerian

The two smells that prevail as sleep aids are lavender and valerian. These two fragrances have been associated with better and quicker sleep in lab rats in clinical trials published by the National Institute of Health. One difference between the two is that valerian was found to help patients fall asleep faster, while lavender was found to improve the quality of sleep.

To try this out for yourself, buying a candle containing one or both of these scents could improve your sleep quality. If sleeping with a lit candle in your bedroom puts you on edge, using a diffuser with lavender or valerian oil can be a safer alternative. You could also buy a lotion that contains one of these fragrances and apply it right before bed.

A Double Whammy

The chemicals in lavender and valerian oils may not be the only things at work here, however. Lifehacker.com says that a positive association of being in bed or in the bedroom only when you're tired can help you to fight insomnia. This means that if you're sitting in bed doing work or reading, it might be harder to fall asleep because your brain will begin to associate being in bed with working or reading.

To amplify this effect to your advantage, try to condition yourself to associate sleep with smelling lavender or valerian oil, which uses the same Pavlovian logic as associating your bed with sleep. This way, you not only have the science of aromatherapy working for you, but also a conditioned response to fall asleep once you've begun perceiving these scents. 

If you think that you have tried every trick in the book in order to fall asleep, talking with a place--like Billings Clinic--about aromatherapy might be a good option. The chemistry behind a bedside lavender oil diffuser can make a world of difference; and, even if you only break out the scents once in a blue moon when you're struggling to shove off to Dream Land, they can still induce sleep and have a calming effect.