Most people are familiar with the scent of lavender and it’s one of the most popular essential oils on the market. The aroma of lavender is associated with relaxation and sleep and has a long history of being used in this way.
But what’s the evidence?
Fortunately for us lavender lovers, the essential oil has been very well researched over the years. And the results look promising, so let’s take a closer look.
Our biggest seller is the Lavender sleep pillow and it’s well known that lavender can help with sleep problems. So let’s see if the research can show us why.
In 2012 researchers gathered together the then available research on lavender essential oil. In particular, they were looking for studies that explored the inhalation of the essential oil and its effect on sleep. They found eight studies that fulfilled the criteria and further evaluated the studies to determine whether or not lavender was indeed beneficial. And perhaps not too surprisingly they found that it was, as the results showed that the inhalation of lavender, led to a mild to moderate improvement in sleep. (1)
A few years later, another trial found that it was the quality of sleep, that was in fact improved in individuals who inhaled the essential oil. And that the effects lasted for up to two weeks after the trial finished. Thereby suggesting long lasting benefits. (2)
But of course the research didn’t end there. Just recently in 2020, another study found that lavender ensured a deeper night’s sleep, by helping the participants to fall asleep in the first place. Plus, it appeared to help them with getting back to sleep, if awoken during the night. So they concluded that it enhanced the overall sleep quality. It was also noted that the frequency of awakening during the night decreased over time too. Alongside testing the participants sleep patterns, they also regularly checked their vital signs, throughout the study. And they found that lavender had no noticeable effect on vital signs, suggesting its safety as a sleep aid. (3)
This result was backed up by a study in the same year which concluded that the inhalation of lavender essential oil by diabetic patients, showed an improvement in both sleep and mood. As the participants experienced better quality and quantity of sleep, which in turn improved their mood and quality of life. (4) This is very encouraging and supports what we feel we already knew about lavender from historic use.
And lastly with regards to sleep, this study (5) may help us to understand why lavender makes us sleepy. The researchers measured the heart rate of the participants and found that the inhalation of lavender led to a decrease in heart rate. This suggests that the oil has a calming effect on the body as a whole, which would help with drifting off to sleep.
But what else can lavender be used for. As we have already seen, lavender can have a calming effect on both the body and mind and can help to improve mood. So let’s look at little closer at the evidence for this.
A study in 2001 (6) showed that Lavender had an anxiolytic effect on dialysis inpatients. The hospital patients reported reduced anxiety after being exposed to lavender oil twice a day for the duration of a week.
And a further study in 2005 (7) indicated that the aroma of lavender in a dentists waiting room could reduce the anxiety of patients awaiting dental treatment.
So all in all, it does seem fairly conclusive. Lavender really can help to calm the mind and body, helping with mild to moderate sleep issues and reducing anxiety too.
If you’d like to try out the benefits of lavender essential oil out for yourself, have a look at our Lavender essential oil room mist and other lavender products.