Science Supports Lavender for Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms: difficulty falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep, and waking up too early in the morning. [1]

Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances, and/or certain biological factors are also causes of insomnia. [2]

Science & Lavender for sleep

Several studies show using lavender oil for aromatherapy can improve sleep quality and allow a longer time in deep restful sleep state.

In a 2012 Japanese study, lavender exposure was compared with the absence of lavender (control). Information regarding the relaxing effect of aromas was provided to examine expectancy effects.

"Results showed that lavender aroma improved sleepiness at awakening after the intervention. Sex differences and daily variation in quality of sleep during the intervention period were not observed. The findings suggest that nighttime exposure to lavender aroma relieves sleepiness at awakening." [3]


A 2010 Iranian study showed that the quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients was significantly improved after aromatherapy with lavender oil. [4]

Outcomes of a 2005 single-blinded, randomized pilot study in the UK evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia favored lavender. [5]


A more interesting 2005 study in the USA had specific conclusions regarding the quality of sleep:

"Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) in men and women. All subjects reported higher vigor the morning after lavender exposure, corroborating the restorative SWS increase. Lavender also increased stage 2 (light) sleep, and decreased rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep and the amount of time to reach wake after first falling asleep (wake after sleep onset latency) in women, with opposite effects in men. Thus, lavender serves as a mild sedative and has practical applications as a novel, nonphotic method for promoting deep sleep in young men and women and for producing gender-dependent sleep effects." [6]


These studies only showed what ancient healing practices have long ago concluded. Because of lavender's effects on the nervous system, it is able to provide an easier experience falling asleep and having a better night's sleep.


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Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for medical advice or mental health advice. If you are struggling with your mental health, natural therapies may not be powerful enough for you, so be sure to seek professional help from a Doctor.

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