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The scent of sleep

Is bedtime a troubled time for you? You are sleepy, tired…but the moment you lie down, the ZZZsss bid goodbye? Sleep is the first casualty of everyday stress, but help is only a sniff away. We are talking about essential oils. “Once applied to the skin, essential oils are absorbed in the bloodstream within 3 to 5 minutes. Use just a bit on your ear lobes, wrists and soles to let the aroma lull you to quality slumber,” says aromatherapist Nikki Kapoor. Here’s a quick primer on what to sniff and sleep well.

Lavender oil for mild headache

This pleasant-smelling popular oil has been anointed as the super sleep oil in many studies and is used in many relaxing products such as aroma candles, bath salts and eye masks. Kapoor’s advice: Use it for mild insomnia and a light headache.

Clary Sage for blood pressure

Clary sage oil is renowned for its quality of bringing down blood pressure levels. “Elevated BP leads to sleep troubles and using clary sage helps in controlling it, leading to better sleep,” says veteran aromatherapist Blossom Kochhar.

Frankincense for pain relief

A 2016 study conducted on cancer patients found that 64 per cent reported improved sleep after using aroma sticks with frankincense. Kapoor, a two-time cancer survivor, swears by its healing power. A 2004 study said that using this oil reduces pain and anxiety of childbirth. “It has a sedative effect and is an anti-depressant as well,” adds Kochhar.

Jasmine oil for confidence

This quintessential Indian essential oil with its sweet aroma works as a confidence booster. “Those who bring back the pressures of work home will benefit by including jasmine oil as it helps one forget trivial worries and induces relaxation,” explains Kochhar.

Vetiver oil for arthritis

Vetiver or khus is a cooling oil. Extracted from vetiver grass, its oil is earthy and helps relieve aches and pains. According to Kochhar, “People with a history of arthritis have difficulty in sleeping because of the pain. A healing oil like vetiver applied on the affected area provides relief.”

Make your own sleep mists

1. In a small bowl, mix 3 drops of lavender oil, 2 drops each of geranium and sandalwood oil. Combine this blend with 200ml almond or grapeseed oil.

2. In a bowl, mix 3 drops of jasmine oil with 1 drop each of patchouli and sandalwood oil. Add this blend to 200ml almond, jojoba or grapeseed oil.

Now you have two DIY sleep mists. Apply 8-10 drops of either on your skin for good sleep.

— Blossom Kochhar, Aromatherapist

How to use

With the exception of lavender, don’t use essential oils directly on the skin. Always mix them with other carrier oils such as almond, coconut, grapeseed or cocoa and shea butter.

You can also add 2-3 drops to your regular lotion or body cream.

Don’t use essential oils on infants under three months. Lavender is best for them.

Pregnant women should consult their physician before using essential oils.

Create your own customised oil by mixing different essential oils, but be aware of the right quantity.

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