Sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s an essential part of life. When we sleep, our bodies have the chance to repair and regenerate, keeping us healthy and ready for the challenges of a new day.
However, if sleep is frequently interrupted, our quality of life can drastically deteriorate. Regular sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems—heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
While essential oils for sleep apnea should never replace conventional treatment from a medical professional or facility like us here at Sleep & CPAP Center, several oils have been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, making them a potentially beneficial addition.
We’ll explore commonly recommended essential oils for sleep apnea, and what the research indicates—so you can selectively incorporate some of them into your nightly routine.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by multiple awakenings throughout the night, far beyond the occasional disturbances we all experience. In cases of sleep apnea, these interruptions can occur up to 30 times or more per hour.
The root of these disturbances lies in pauses in your breathing, which can last anywhere from 10 seconds to about a minute. When your brain realizes that your oxygen supply is limited, it briefly awakens you, enabling you to breathe again before the cycle repeats.
Signs of sleep apnea include interrupted breathing throughout the night or long periods without taking a breath, loud and excessive snoring (especially in cases of obstructive sleep apnea), morning headaches, daytime fatigue, and problems with focus or attention span.
Best Essential Oils for Sleep Apnea
Essential oils can serve as a natural adjunct to sleep apnea treatment. They can create an environment conducive to relaxation and ease symptoms related to the condition.
Here are five essential oils that could potentially help manage sleep apnea symptoms:
Eucalyptus oil can be a natural way to reduce congestion often experienced with colds or allergies, conditions that can exacerbate snoring, and sleep apnea. The invigorating aroma of eucalyptus helps open up airways, making breathing easier. Many people use a diffuser to inhale the essential oil, or you can find over-the-counter chest rubs that feature eucalyptus as a key ingredient.
Peppermint oil is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can alleviate airway congestion. By clearing the sinuses, it promotes more comfortable nasal breathing during sleep. Many individuals have found that inhaling diffused peppermint oil lessens the severity of sleep apnea symptoms and can reduce snoring.
Lavender is renowned for its soothing properties and mild sedative effects, both of which can facilitate a calmer state of mind, making it easier to fall asleep. It can be particularly helpful for those with sleep apnea who struggle with initiating sleep. Additionally, studies have shown that people who use lavender essential oil often spend more time in deeper stages of sleep, promoting better rest.
Chamomile oil has a long history of use for its sedative effects. It’s believed to promote sleep by interacting with benzodiazepine receptors, which play a key role in helping the body relax. Inhaling the sweet, apple-like scent of chamomile before bed may help ease you into a peaceful slumber.
Bergamot oil, with its unique citrusy fragrance, can also contribute to better sleep. This oil may help lower heart rate and blood pressure, encouraging relaxation at night. Moreover, it has been reported to alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress, further fostering a tranquil atmosphere conducive to restful sleep.
Getting the Most Out of Essential Oils for Better Sleep
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways to help promote better sleep or help you fall asleep faster. They can be breathed in through a diffuser—which we recommend over topical application, or applied topically—often blended in with a carrier oil, like jojoba or grapeseed.
The journey to find the right oil or combination of oils might involve some experimentation, and possibly consultation with your doctor or physician to ensure there are no potential interactions with current prescription medications.
While they are not a definitive cure, essential oils can be an adjacent supplement to regular sleep apnea treatment. With their soothing aroma and potential to promote relaxation, essential oils might be a noteworthy auxiliary treatment. For more individualized treatment and assessment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at the Sleep & CPAP Center.