Sleeping well doesn’t just feel great! It can improve your life, relationships, health and well-being. But what if you can’t get good sleep? What if you have sleep apnea and wake up snoring or gasping for air? If that’s the case, you should try some essential oils for sleep apnea.
Why try them? It’s because they can improve your sleep and mood, therefore your life too. In this article, you can find out more about:
- The best oils that can help with sleep apnea, with scientific research to back up some of these effects.
- How to use these aromatic oils to get the best of their properties.
- The difference between snoring and sleep apnea, and how to tell if you suffer from it.
- Causes plus safety tips and a few other helpful tips to improve your sleep.
Best Essential Oils for Sleep Apnea and Scientific Proof (with Tips)
In the medical world, sleep apnea is also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
It is a chronic health condition that affects somewhere around 2 – 4% of the adult population. It is connected to snoring, but that’s not a rule. Also, if you snore, you don’t necessarily have to suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea has many causes. What really happens though is that your upper airway collapses during sleep. That means the air you breathe is reduced, making it harder on the brain and body.
This can happen many times an hour and if not corrected, it can lead to more serious health problems.
OSA can make you feel tired and sleepy during the day. Or it can lead to serious cardiovascular problems. The disease cannot be cured, unfortunately.
But there are plenty options to use to manage it. One of them is using natural remedies such as essential oils for sleep apnea.
These oils must be able to:
- Relieve mucus,
- Constrict the blood vessels,
- And soothe inflammations.
They should also be able to tone the throat muscles and open up the breathing passages. Some essential oils can do all that and more. They can also help you correct your snoring habits by hardening the tissue and reducing vibrations.
Some of the best essential oils for sleep apnea are Peppermint, Lavender and Eucalyptus. Let’s see why (with pros and cons) to decide which one(s) you would like to use.
1) Peppermint Essential Oil
Mentha piperita is one of the best essential oils for swollen tonsils and not only. This essential oil has a wide range of uses. It can be as useful in hair and skin care as it can be for oral health. But it’s its main chemical component that can help with sleep apnea too.
- The oil has significant antibacterial and analgesic properties. They can protect the nasal mucus and throat from infections and pain.
- Peppermint is great at clearing the nasal passageways and stopping coughs. It can also stop the itching of the nose that’s due to allergies, for instance.
- It can reduce the vibration and the snoring.
- Its relaxing effects can also help you sleep better.
- Peppermint essential oil is not recommended to people with seizures or epilepsy.
- Also, avoid using it if you have high blood pressure.
- In young children especially, the oil of Peppermint can cause respiratory arrest.
Why I like it:
I like Peppermint oil because it’s good to have around for any major situation. It can soothe the skin instantly and can work great for all kinds of pain. You can definitely try to have a more peaceful sleep with this oil.
2) Lavender Essential Oil
If you haven’t used Lavender oil yet, I suggest you do it right away. Studies have a lot of good things to say about this plant essence. They also have the proof to back up their claims.
- Lavender can increase the onset of sleep and make it last longer. This ability has been shown in a lab test on mice.
- The oil can improve a disturbed sleep caused by apnea and restlessness.
- Lavender has very relaxing properties, which in time will help you relax and unwind. Your quality of life could be even better this way, especially since it can also treat insomnia. Even if you wake up out of breath, the oil could help you fall back asleep.
- Men and women have reported being more energetic in the morning after inhaling Lavender essential oil.
- Lavender can cause allergic reactions to more sensitive people. You should test each new batch you buy before widespread or constant use.
- Buy only Lavandula angustifolia to improve your sleeping pattern and sleep apnea.
Why I like it:
Lavender is probably the best essential oil for sleep. There are others that can help too. But Lavender is also intensely studied and its effects proven over and over again. Its properties can also bring snoring relief.
3) Eucalyptus Essential Oil
There are many types of eucalyptus. The smithii variety makes the best essential oil for snoring relief and not only.
It is also very well-tolerated by most people, which makes it safer to use on a daily basis. Still, you should mix and match your oils to avoid using only the same ones all the time.
- The oil of Eucalyptus smithii can decongest your nose and limit the obstruction of the respiratory tract.
- If you also suffer from sinusitis or bronchitis, this oil can offer relief.
- Eucalyptus can improve the blood circulation. This means more oxygen to the tissue and brain, which may ultimately lead to less apnea episodes.
- Eucalyptus smithii may prove one of the best essential oils for sleep apnea. But it is not recommended to people with asthma.
- Avoid diffusing/inhaling this oil alone. It’s best to blend it with other lighter oils like citruses.
Why I like it:
If you want a good essential oil to sleep well and protect you from infections, Eucalyptus smithii is it. It can also be used for chest rubs to get rid of respiratory problems and chest congestion.
Of course, its benefits don’t stop there. It can also be useful in air purification and preventing viral infections.
Other good essential oils that may help with sleep apnea:
- Sweet Marjoram.
- Chamomile (Roman)
How to Use Your Essential Oils for Sleep Apnea
There are quite a few good ways to use aromatic oils to improve your sleep.
You can use any kind of essential oil (EO) diffuser and use up to 10 drops of EO per diffusion session. Keep them on for up to 30 minutes. The essential oils keep diffusing a long time after you’ve stopped the device.
Research shows that inhalations than last more than 60 minutes can make you more agitated and raise blood pressure. Under an hour, the oils will help you relax and unwind.
Also, make sure you diffuse essential oils for sleep apnea in a well-ventilated room. Otherwise, they can saturate the air and cause nausea, headaches, etc.
You should never diffuse oils throughout the night, for the above mentioned reasons. At most, you can pour 2 – 3 drops on a cotton pad and place it near your head. The oil drops will evaporate quite fast.
Use 1 – 2 drops of EO in a bowl of boiled water. Cover your head to preserve the steam inside and inhale deeply for about 10 minutes. This method will help clear your nasal passageways and ease up breathing. Luckily, steam baths can also open up pores, clear skin and kill bacteria.
The same principle as above applies for hot baths too. Hot water can disperse the active molecules into the air you breathe. Add up to 20 drops of EO per cup of salt (Epsom or Himalayan) and mix it with hot water.
Blend up to 6 drops of EO per Oz carrier oil and massage a small amount on your nostrils and along the sinuses. Never use essential oils for apnea undiluted around your eyes, nose or mouth! You can massage your neck too with this blend. The essential oils I mentioned here can help with swollen tonsils.
Sleep Apnea Essential Oil Blends
Make one of the following blends and start using them for a good sleep tonight. Some are for topical application, while others are for diffusion. You could use them both as long as it’s not in high dosages or long periods.
Good Night Sleep Diffuser Blend
- Lavender essential oil: 5 drops
- Sweet Marjoram essential oil: 3 drops
- Eucalyptus essential oil: 2 drops
Add all these oils into the (water) recipient of your diffuser. Keep the device on for half an hour before going to bed. Turn it off when you’re ready for sleep. Here are more diffuser blends for sleep.
Sleep Apnea Massage Lotion
- Olive oil: 1 teaspoon
- Valerian essential oil: 2 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 2 drops
Stir all the oils together and shake the blend well before each use. Apply a few drops on the nostrils and sinuses. You can also go down the neck, around the tonsils. These essential oils can offer snoring relief too. Apply and massage gently right before going to bed.
How to Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea, Causes and Tips
People who snore don’t necessarily suffer from sleep apnea. Yet, if you have sleep apnea you most definitely snore too. This dangerous health condition can have many causes:
- Genetic predisposition.
- Middle age.
- Male gender.
- Craniofacial features.
- Enlarged tonsils.
- Large neck circumference.
- Nasal congestion/obstruction.
As you can see, some can definitely be corrected or treated with the help of essential oils. Others unfortunately, cannot. But the good news is that there are management options for those too.
For obstructive apnea due to anatomical or genetic causes, management options can be:
- PAP devices (positive airway pressure).
- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure).
- Positional therapies.
- Oral appliances.
- Surgical treatment.
- Bariatric surgery.
- Weight control.
- Plus some new emerging therapeutic options.
Weight control is recommended to all people who snore or suffer from sleep apnea. There are no blood tests to diagnose this disease. That’s why it is very hard to find out whether you suffer from it or not.
There are however, a few monitoring options that count the stopping or cessation of breathing per hour. But the easiest method is probably asking someone else in the house.
The Difference between Snoring and Sleep Apnea
When you snore, the respiratory system vibrates while inhaling. This is due to the fact that while sleeping, all the organs (tongue, tonsils, etc.) relax completely. Thus, they obstruct the air passageways that go to the lungs. Snoring can be temporary.
Sleep apnea can’t be temporary. It happens almost the same as snoring, only that the air obstruction is total for a few seconds. This also happens very often. On a long term, the lack of air may lead to a sort of asphyxia and affect the brain and cardiovascular system.
If this repeats itself more times in an hour, you should consult a doctor immediately. Someone who suffers from cardiac problems or is predisposed may also develop sleep apnea.
The most severe case of sleep apnea is the Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). This is due to the fact that the brain stops sending (for a few seconds) the right signals to the body, to breathe.
But this is an entirely different disease, for which essential oils for regular apnea wouldn’t do much good.
You can suspect you have sleep apnea if:
- You snore too loud. Either you wake up because of your own snoring or the others tell you so.
- Constant tiredness.
- Sleepiness during the day.
- Lack of energy or focus.
However, these can be symptoms for other health concerns too. For instance, a stressful period or an emotional shock can make you feel just like that. You will need to consult a doctor to know for sure what causes your sleep problems.
Tips to Improve and Manage Sleep Apnea
A few good habits could make a whole lot of difference between a good sleep and a bad sleep.
- The body position is very important in correcting sleep apnea. Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid sleeping on your back.
- Take magnesium supplements. Make sure they are not magnesium chloride though.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid using essential oils without medical consent.
- Test all your oils for allergic reactions before any long term use.
- Consult your doctor if you suffer from other diseases and illnesses.
Sleep is an important part of anyone’s life. When it is disturbed by sleep apnea, you should take measures right away. If it’s milder, you can use essential oils for sleep apnea. If it’s more serious, you must go to the doctor and choose whatever management option is best for you.
Have you ever tried any natural remedies for this condition? Did they work for you?