Do Essential Oils Give You Weird Dreams?- AAA
It’s become a common remark that we get at Edens Garden, “Your essential oils gave me weird dreams.” The first time I heard a customer make this comment, I didn’t think much of it. The second time I thought it was a coincidence, but by the third time, I put my investigative hat on.
As someone fortunate enough to get a consistent good night’s sleep, using essential oils at bedtime wasn’t commonplace for me. However, when I mentioned this customer feedback to other Edens Garden staff members they voiced that synergy blends like Good Night gave them an unusual, vivid dream as well.
So I set out to test this strange phenomenon and gain a better understanding of how essential oils affect dreams. Read on to learn more.
Do Essential Oils Give You Weird Dreams?
Aromatherapy training cultivated in me a desire to learn by being hands-on, and this was something you had to experience to learn about. With that mindset, I grabbed Sleep Ease and Good Night and headed home.
Here’s how I tested this theory.
- For three days, I wrote down the dreams I had the previous night. Note here that I can typically remember my dreams each night.
- After those three days, I put a few drops of Good Night or Sleep Ease on a cotton ball and placed it inside my pillowcase for three nights. In the morning, I recorded my dreams.
The result – I had better dream recall and my dreams were much more vivid when I used essential oil than when I didn’t. It was as though my dreams were memories of real events. On the contrary, I couldn’t remember many details about my dreams when I didn’t use essential oils.
In my opinion, the vivid dreams that Good Night and Sleep Ease gave me enhanced my sleep quality and facilitated a deeper sleep. Despite not having sleep deprivation, I now use these blends occasionally at night for these reasons.
The Science Behind Aroma And Dreams
Following this experiment, I searched for studies that explained my experience.
- According to a study in which volunteers were subjected to the aroma of roses then rotten eggs, it was proven that outward stimuli such as scents can affect dreams. In this study, the volunteers testified to having pleasant dreams when subjected to the aroma of roses, and nightmarish dreams when subjected to the scent of rotten eggs.
- In a similar study, researchers found that the aromas presented to sleeping test subjects were at times incorporated into their dreams, though this wasn’t always the case.
Essential Oils' Affect On Dreams
Though dreams can simply be described as images that pass through our minds during REM, they can also be described as the product of REM protein-synthesis. During this stage, a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (ACh) is in use. Essential oils high in 1,8- cineole like Eucalyptus oil, have been shown to block acetylcholinesterase (AChE) which prevents excessive production of ACh.
Now let’s put these pieces together. If ACh modulates REM sleep (the stage in which we dream) and essential oils have been shown to block AChE (an enzyme that inactivates ACh), could this be a clue as to how essential oils have the ability to produce vivid dreams?
It’s interesting to look at the comments on this blog post, where multiple people confessed to having strange, vivid dreams after diffusing or wearing oils of Eucalyptus and Peppermint, both AChE inhibitors. In other words, the next time you inhale essential oils known to inhibit AChE, prepare yourself for the dreams that might ensue.
Though we wish this was the answer to the mystery surrounding essential oils’ affect on dreams, it’s just a hypothesis. It also doesn’t explain the feedback we’ve received on dozens of other oils like Chamomile- Roman oil, Lavender oil, Clary Sage oil, Rose oil, and Bergamot essential oil provoking strange dreams, as none of these oils have been proven to inhibit AChE.
As more studies emerge and feedback from aromatherapy users continues, we hope to be able to answer these questions. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Has using essential oils at night helped with your sleep apnea, insomnia or frequent nightmares? Have you experienced better sleep, sleep disturbance or lucid dreaming with essential oils? Let us know in the comments!
- What You Smell As You Sleep Influences Your Dreams. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080921162021.htm
- Olfactory stimuli and their effects on REM dreams. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1989-10885-001
- Do substances like drugs, herbs and foods affect our dreams? https://stason.org/TULARC/mind/dreaming/1-5-Do-substances-like-drugs-herbs-and-foods-affect-our-dr.html
- Volatile Terpenes and Brain Function: Investigation of the Cognitive and Mood Effects of Mentha × Piperita L. Essential Oil with In Vitro Properties Relevant to Central Nervous System Function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116079/