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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Lavender Oil: Improves Sleep in Hospital Patients New Research Shows

By Bronwyn Ward

A recent study on the possible effects of pure Lanender oil on patients in hospital has shown that this oil may well be an effective way to improve sleep in an intermediate care environment.

Sleep deprivation in hospitalised patients is common and can have serious detrimental effects on recovery from illness. Lavender aromatherapy has improved sleep in a variety of clinical settings, but until now the effect has not been tested in the intermediate care unit.

The objective of the study was to determine the effect of inhalation of 100% lavender oil on patients' vital signs and perceived quality of sleep in an intermediate care unit.

A randomised controlled pilot study was conducted in 50 patients. Control patients received usual care. The treatment group had 3 mL of 100% pure lavender oil in a glass jar in place at the bedside from 10 PM until 6 AM. Vital signs were recorded at intervals throughout the night. At 6 AM all patients completed the Richard Campbell Sleep Questionnaire to assess quality of sleep.

The findings from the study were very interesting. Blood pressure was significantly lower between midnight and 4 AM in the treatment group than in the control group. The treatment group had a decrease in blood pressure and the control group had an increase; however, the difference between the 2 groups was not significant.  Mean overall sleep score was higher in the intervention group (48.25) than in the control group (40.10).

If this is the benefit for pateints in a hospital environment, imagine how helpful it may be for your own sleep issues or for family members. A few drops of neat lavender oil on a tissue and tucked into your pillowcase could provide a similar effect. It is safe to use with small children and babies but best to avoid direct contact with the skin.


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