Everyone needs sleep, for sure it is an aspect of daily life that goes beyond being a necessity. For sleep helps the brain to reorganise, recharge and ultimately eliminate accumulated toxins. Hence adopting good sleeping habits will aid in duration and quality of sleep. However, those experiencing insomnia or requiring a little bit more help in this department can explore readily available sleep aids on the market, such as aromatherapy.
To understand how sandalwood oil can aid in sleep, it is crucial to understand that inhaling aromatic scents activates our emotional brain. These aromas when taken in via smell receptors (also known as olfactory receptors) has a direct link with the amygdala and the limbic system. A set of structures in the brain that oversees a range of behavioural and emotional responses, regulating aspects of our life such as sleep, fertility cycles, memory storage or access.
To expand on this, sandalwood oil can regulate or stabilise your circadian rhythm to promote sleep. Circadian rhythm refers to our internal clock, a natural process that regulates our cycles of sleep and waking times. This is important because when our circadian rhythm is out of order due to stress, consistent jet lag and other issues like restless leg syndrome, it can cause “…damage to the body, leading to some diseases”. (Wang J et al, 2021, p.3240)
As an essential oil, sandalwood is ideal for relaxing the body, centring the mind as well as reducing anxiety. This is because within the volatile oils that is rich in sesquiterpenes- notably santalol, which its pleasing aroma is attributable to, also offers significant sedative properties. Research conducted back in 2007 found that when sandalwood oil is inhaled, sleep disruption or waking time is significantly reduced, whilst increasing total non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep time. (Ohmori A, Shinomiya K, Utsu Y, Tokunaga S, Hasegawa Y, Kamei C, 2007).
Another recent study investigating the use of aromatherapy via inhalation on elderly dementia patients uncovered that sustained sleep period was prolonged when sandalwood oil was used. This was done by applying sandalwood essential oil nightly on towels close to the subjects’ pillow. Further, early morning awakening was remarkably less with the use of sandalwood oil. The research results revealed much positive effects of sandalwood via inhalation. (Takeda, A., Watanuki, E., & Koyama, S, 2017). A wonderful way to do precisely this can be via our Mt Romance Relaxation Kits. A ready to use kit consisting 1mL of pure Australian sandalwood oil, an inhalation scarf and instruction pamphlet explaining the best method for use.
Interestingly, for those living a more high-stress lifestyle and finding it difficult to sleep may further receive help from sandalwood oil. Whether Santalum album or Santalum spicatum, the precious oil can “…alleviate the physiological reactions to psychological stress and facilitate recovery after exposure to stress”. (Hoferl. M, Hutter. C & Buchbauer. G 2016, p.1561).
It should also be considered that some pharmaceuticals used for the purpose of inducing sleep within certain instances, may “…aggravate physical and psychological symptoms” which could potentially lead to undesirable outcomes. Therefore, other non-pharmacological treatment strategies such as aromatherapy inhalation should always be explored first whenever help is needed for those experiencing symptoms of insomnia.
As nature’s bounty, sandalwood in all its form is indeed glorious- a god send for those facing sleeping difficulties. It is true to state that to sleep well, we need to let go of the day’s concerns and worries. If we take one step further into somewhat esoteric understanding, this is exactly what sandalwood oil can do- quiet our mind, soothe the living cells within our body in preparation for something of a transcendental release into a state of bliss.
Ohmori A, Shinomiya K, Utsu Y, Tokunaga S, Hasegawa Y, Kamei C, “Effect of santalol on the sleep-wake cycle in sleep-disturbed rats”, Nihon Shinkei Seishin Yakurigaku Zasshi, Aug 2007, Vol 27(4), pp.167-71. PMID: 17879595.
Takeda, A., Watanuki, E., & Koyama, S, “Effects of Inhalation Aromatherapy on Symptoms of Sleep Disturbance in the Elderly with Dementia”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, March 2017, Vol 2017, pp. 1-12. eCAM Vol. 2017 (2017): 1902807. doi:10.1155/2017/1902807
Huybrechts, K. F., Gerhard, T., Crystal, S., Olfson, M., Avorn, J., Levin, R., Lucas, J. A., & Schneeweiss, S, “Differential risk of death in older residents in nursing homes prescribed specific antipsychotic drugs: population-based cohort study”, BMJ Clinical Research Ed, 2012, pp.1-12 e977. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e977
Hoferl. M, Hutter. C & Buchbauer. G, “A Pilot Study on the Physiological effects of three essential oils in Humans”, Natural Products Communications (NPC), Vienna, Austria, 2016, Vol 11(10), pp.1561-1564, PMID: 30549622.
Wang J, Hou WT, Qin XM, DU GH, Gao XX, “Research progress of circadian rhythm”, Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi, July 2021, Vol 46(13), pp. 3240-3248. Chinese. doi: 10.19540/j.cnki.cjcmm.20210308.601. PMID: 34396743.