Found in parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia, lavender is believed to be a natural relaxant. Although there was initially some doubt about its effectiveness due to there not being enough modern academic research done on the subject, researchers have now begun catching up.
The potency of this plant has made its use widespread. It can now be found in cosmetics, home fragrances, and night-time beauty products. If this is not enough, the plant’s potency in inducing relaxation reflects in the fact that it has been used for thousands of years across various cultures- Egyptian, Chinese, and Roman.
Lavender is composed of different chemicals, a major one being linalool, and linalyl acetate. Linalool is a colorless fluid with a pleasant scent and it is found in abundance in nature- lemon, tangerine, cinnamon, and rose are a few examples.
These two chemicals are known to be absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and alter the body’s existing chemistry. When these compounds were tested on mice, it was found that they inhibit certain neurotransmitters and provide pain and stress relief.
Lavender does not directly impact the quality of sleep. Lavender aids in reducing stress levels and the by-product of that is it can help people to relax enough to slip into states of deep sleep.
A study was conducted at Wesleyan University to study the impact of lavender on people. Researchers discovered that just inhaling the plant’s scent before sleeping led to an increase in the quantity of deep sleep, or slow-wave sleep, that a person got.
Slow-wave sleep is crucial for relaxing our muscles and slowing down the heartbeat. The body’s essential healing happens during slow-wave sleep and getting an adequate amount of it ensures that the immune system stays strong.
There was another study conducted in Iran which involved 158 women who had just given birth. For a total of 2 months, they were given lavender to inhale before bed, while a control group was given some placebo. The results revealed that the women who inhaled the former had a better quality of sleep.
Although these study-samples are small, it must be kept in mind that the results across all samples have been consistent. The usage of lavender has clearly shown to create chemistry of relaxation in a human being. So it is not just because the scent reminds you of a pleasant memory that it is effective.
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There are plenty of ways in which lavender can be used. Given below are a few tips on how to make best use of it:
1. If you have the plant in your garden, then you can harvest the flower buds and place them in a bowl near your bed.
2. Sprinkle a few drops of the essential oil on your wrists and neck before sleeping. You could even sprinkle it on your pillowcase or add a few drops to a tissue and place it underneath your pillow.
3. Add a few drops of the essential oil to warm water for a bath.
4. Apply a lavender scented body-lotion before bed.