Better sleep: How essential oils can improve sleep
Sleep problems are very complex, ranging from temporary discomfort related to stress or the consumption of certain foods, for example, to chronic problems sometimes related to deep-seated causes. We are all unequal when it comes to sleep, and each of us responds to different lines of treatment: medication will work very well for some, while others will prefer more natural alternatives. It is in this second perspective that we are interested inaromatherapy and aromachology.
Falling asleep: how to put oneself in mental and physiological conditions to sleep with an olfactory ritual?
Let's start with the process we follow to prepare our body for sleep. All parents know that a bedtime ritual is recommended to get children to go to bed. For adults, this ritual can mean being in a sleep-related area of the house (your bedroom) to begin your bedtime ritual, then moving on to a quick wash, and finally getting into bed with an activity where your body is preparing for sleep . Beware, the phone-tablet screen and its blue light is pointed out as a sleep disruptor: prefer a little reading or listening to music you like.
An olfactory ritual can participate in the conditioning of your body and your brain to prepare you for sleep.Aromachology is the science of odors and their influence on the psyche and behavior, for the well-being of individuals. In other words, aromachology is psychological care through essential oils. Neuropsychiatrists such as Alan Hirsch and Jonathan Mueller have extensively documented the influence of odors on the behavior of individuals. Certain essential oils (i.e. natural fragrances), will trigger positive or negative emotional reactions in us through the olfactory channel.
Bergamot to calm anxiety
Bergamot brings calm in moments of emotional turmoil: it relieves balls of anxiety and leads to relaxation. It is perfect in the process of falling asleep for people who, at bedtime, are taken by anxieties or worried thoughts related to specific events or professional stress.
Of the zesty olfactory family, bergamot is a top note. Its action is very fast: our olfactory receptors call the brain to send a calming message to our whole mind and body. It acts on the central nervous system by causing a reduction of anxiety, a relaxation. That's why we used it in the Neo-pearls of night to be brumiser at the time of the bedtime on its pillow. Bergamot provides a cocoon of softness that sends a soothing message to our brain: we are in an olfactory ritual conducive to sleep.
Bergamot, which is found in Earl Grey tea and whose zest perfumes Ceylon teas, has long been known by perfumers and chefs who used it in confectionery as early as the 19th century with Nancy sweets. Among the famous perfumes, bergamot is honored in Eau Sauvage (Dior), Shalimar (Guerlain), L'Eau de Cologne Impériale created for Empress Eugenie (Guerlain), Bergamotto di Calabria (Aqua di Parma), or Eau des sens (Diptyque).
Vetiver, the herb of mindfulness
Vetiver is another ally of sleep: by bringing us back to the here and now, the smell of Vetiver is conducive to mindfulness or mindfulness meditation. Vetiver is characterized by a warm and deep woody fern note. This scent reconnects us to the earth in a calm and serene way. From the pyrogen family, Vetiver is a base note. Give Vetiver a few minutes to warm up, become more rounded and warm. In a bedtime ritual, Vetiver calms stress and anxiety.
Cultivated in Reunion Island, Kenya, Madagascar, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia and India, the roots of this tall, bushy herb are dried and then distilled to produce its essential oil. Vetiver is a star among perfumers: Terre d'Hermès and the Kiss of the Dragon (Hermès), Vetiver (Guerlain, as well as Roger & Gallet), Sycomore (Chanel) or Eau de parfum White Vetiver (Abel).
The sense of smell, the most mysterious of our five senses
Breathing in certain well-chosen and appropriately formulated essential oils may allow some people to better condition their body and mind to fall asleep. In a future article, we will talk about orange blossom, the star of anti-stress (and anti-aging). In tumultuous lives, sometimes all it takes is an olfactory stimulus to put the brain in a special mood. We sometimes tend to underestimate the power of olfaction, the sense of smell remains the most mysterious, and perhaps the most powerful, of our five senses.
Canac Patty, The guide to olfactory emotions, Ombre editions, 2019.
Hirsch A.R., 1995, Effect of ambient odors on slot-machine usage in a las Vegas casino, Psychology & Marketing, 12(7):585-594.
Hirsch A.R., Zavala G., 1999, Long-term effects on the olfactory system of exposure to hydrogen sulphide, Occupational & Environmental Medicine,56: 284-287
Marchand Jacques, Utilisation de l'aromathérapie dans le traitement du stress et de l'insomnie, Thèse pour obtenir le Diplôme d'Etat de Docteur en Pharmacie, Université de Lorraine, 4 April 2019.
Millet Fabienne, Le grand guide des huiles essentielles, Marabout, 2015, 2nd edition.
Mueller Jonathan, 2006, Au coeur des odeurs, Revue Française de Psychanalyse, 3(70) :791-813
Vetiver Illustration: https://www.online.uni-marburg.de/botanik/nutzpflanzen/maximilian_sittinger/index.html