Occasionally, when I feel wired before bedtime, I will sprinkle a little lavender oil on my pillow. I believe its very soothing, pleasing aroma helps me relax and fall asleep faster. But how helpful is it?
According to the study, Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students, done at the Department of Nursing, Keukdong College, Chungcheongbuk-Do, Korea:
According to the study results, it can be concluded that the lavender fragrance had a beneficial effect on insomnia and depression in women college students. Repeated studies are needed to confirm effective proportions of lavender oil and carrier oil for insomnia and depression.
Interesting findings, though preliminary. Another study on lavender from Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine showed that:
Lavender aromatherapy reduced serum cortisol and improved CFVR in healthy men. These findings suggest that lavender aromatherapy has relaxation effects and may have beneficial acute effects on coronary circulation.
This sounds a little more convincing, since they measured blood cortisol levels and coronary flow velocity reserves, which are more objective measures of stress. If you have a little trouble sleeping, it certainly can’t hurt to sprinkle a little lavender oil on your pillow or to use lavender aromatherapy to help you relax. But if you have severe insomnia or depression, seek medical help immediately.