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Sleep Apnea

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008

Summary

Sleep apnea is a condition where, during sleep, a person stops breathing for short period of time.  This may be a few seconds or even up to a minute.  There are three types of sleep apnea the most common (about 85% of the cases) being obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  Less common is CSA or central sleep apnea and finally mixed sleep apnea is when both conditions occur together.  CSA is caused by the brain not sending the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing whereas OSA is caused by a physical blockage of the air passages in the throat.

Sleep Apnea

In the more common OSA the tongue and soft tissues in the throat area relax such that air cannot pass easily or is complete blocked on its way to the lungs.  The brain, sensing the need for oxygen, arouses the body to bring more air through the oral passageway and the familiar snort or quick breath occurs.  At the same time the heart rate increases and blood vessels constrict as they attempt to send more oxygen to the body organs.  This increased activity is subtle enough the person does not fully wake but the restfulness of their sleep is disturbed.  Since cycle can happen many times (up to 100) during the night the person will find themselves tired and sleepy during the day.

One way to determine if a person is struggling with OSA or CSA is that the snoring and snort are common to the blockage type and typically do not occur with CSA. 

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Grounding Blend, Respiratory Blend, Invigorating Blend, Frankincense, Protective Blend, Calming Blend, Thyme, Ylang Ylang

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: Soothing Blend, LavenderC, Cleansing Blend, Sandalwood

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

Orally:

·   Gargle 2 tablespoons of bottled water with 5 drops of Protective Blend.  Prior to bed time, gargle for at least 60 seconds, then swish the mixture through your mouth and teeth for another 60 seconds, then spit.

·   Internal take 1 drop of Protective Blend at bed time.

This will reduce snoring and inflammation in the throat.

Topical (Foot):

·   20 drops of Thyme essential oil

·   5 drops of Frankincense essential oil 

·   5 drops of (...) Grounding Blend 

·  30 drops of coconut carrier oil  

Apply a few drops of this blend to the bottom of your feet, especially around the big toe before bed time.  I’m not sure how it helps, but I’ve heard a lot of stories of people that use a Thyme blend on their feet for sleep apnea.

Topical (Throat)

· 10 drops Invigorating Blend

· 10 drops Ylang Ylang 

· 10 drops Frankincense

· 30 drops coconut oil

Use 4-6 drops of this blend, massaging it into the throat and neck area prior to bed time. The properties will reduce the movement of soft tissue, and reduce inflammation to reduce snoring.

Aromatic

· Diffuse Calming Blend into the air for a more restful sleep

· Diffuse Protective Blend or Breath into the air to help keep sinuses clear. If you use a CPAP, you could put a drop directly in the mask.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Rex - My brother suffers from severe sleep apnea.  He's seen the doctors, has the machine, and still unable to rest well.  As a very new essential oils user I suggested Lavender and he was faithful in trying it, evening putting it in his breathing machine, but had no improvements.  Any suggestions?

Tamalu - We have had success with my husband's apnea of 20+ years by using Grounding Blend on the feet and Soothing Blend on the neck with gentle, Firm stretching and massage. We began working on a long-time neck injury by checking the spine for tender spots.  If you are not comfortable with doing this yourself, find a good spinal injury chiropractor and have an assessment done.  With Mark, the difference has been profound! In clients without neck injuries, we have seen some results with Frankincense and Sandalwood on the brain stem, as I have seen apnea to be hand-in-hand with brain fog, whether related to liver toxicity or heavy metal toxicity.  I add detox baths, Cleansing Blend and Protective Blend with Grounding Blend and citrus oils, and lots of water to drink.  

Rob - Kindly remember that there are different kinds of sleep apnea. ''Obstructive sleep apnea'' may represent cessation of breathing due to mechanical blockage of the airway; ''central sleep apnea'' is related to the brain’s malfunction of sending a normal signal to breathe. Symptoms of sleep apnea may include loud or heavy snoring (sometimes leading to cessation of breathing, followed by gasping for air),  restless sleep, morning headaches, loss of energy, falling asleep while driving and/or during the day (at work, watching TV, meetings, etc.), trouble concentrating, irritability, forgetfulness, mood or behavior changes, anxiety or depression, obesity, and decreased interest in sex. Serious problems associated with untreated sleep apnea include hypertension, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, psychiatric problems, impotence, cognitive dysfunction, memory loss, and death.

Essential oils have in fact found a place with those who suffer from sleep apnea. Because everyone is different and because there are different types and causes of sleep apnea, it is important to be patient and consistent as you try different oils and therapies.

First, because sleep apnea can be aggravated or exaggerated by obesity, if you are overweight, consider your efforts to loose weight… an effort to save your life.  Obesity and its associated problems can be helped by weight loss. To get started, consider starting with the Master Cleanse.  It is sometimes just what people need to begin to loose weight, and further, after 15 days of the Master Cleanse, people have reported relief from symptoms of sleep apnea.  (personally, I fall into this category)

Second, sleep on your side or abdomen rather than on your back. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway. To prevent sleeping on your back, some have even sewn a tennis ball in the back of their pajama tops.

Consider the following approaches to essential oils and sleep apnea that have historically helped people.  Attacking sleep apnea topically, orally and with a diffuser is your best bet.

first, orally:

·   Gargle 2 tablespoons of bottled water with 5 drops of Protective Blend.  Prior to bed time, gargle for at least 60 seconds, then swish the mixture through your mouth and teeth for another 60 seconds, then spit.

·   Internal take 1 drop of Protective Blend at bed time.

This will reduce snoring and inflammation in the throat.

Topical (feet) Sleep Apnea Foot. Mix:

·   20 drops of Thyme essential oil

·   5 drops of Frankincense essential oil 

·   5 drops of (...) Grounding Blend 

·  30 drops of coconut carrier oil  

Apply a few drops of this blend to the bottom of your feet, especially around the big toe before bed time.  I’m not sure how it helps, but I’ve heard a lot of stories of people that use a Thyme blend on their feet for sleep apnea.

Topical (Throat)

· 10 drops Invigorating Blend

· 10 dropsYlang Ylang 

· 10 drops Frankincense

· 30 drops coconut oil

Use 4-6 drops of this blend, massaging it into the throat and neck area prior to bed time. The properties will reduce the movement of soft tissue, and reduce inflammation to reduce snoring.

Aromatic

· Diffuse “Calming Blend” into the air for a more restful sleep

Or

· Diffuse Protective Blend or Breath into the air to help keep sinuses clear. If you use a CPAP, you could put a drop directly in the mask.

Protocols folks recommend for children

 

 

Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils

 

What Science & Research are saying

The influence of odorants on respiratory patterns in sleep.

Chem Senses. 2010 Jan;35(1):31-40. Epub 2009 Nov 16.;  Arzi A, Sela L, Green A, Givaty G, Dagan Y, Sobel N.;   Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.

Abstract

To assess the feasibility of using odors as a potential mechanism for treating sleep apnea, we set out to test the hypothesis that odorants delivered during sleep would modify respiratory patterns without inducing arousal or wake in healthy sleepers. We used 2 mildly trigeminal odorants: the pleasant Lavender and unpleasant Vetiver oil and 2 pure olfactory odorants: the pleasant vanillin and unpleasant ammonium sulfide. During sleep, an olfactometer delivered a transient odorant every 9, 12, or 15 min (randomized), providing 21-37 odorant presentations per night. Each of 36 participants was studied for 1 night and with 1 of the 4 different odorants tested. In addition to standard overnight polysomnography, we employed highly accurate measurements of nasal and oral respiration. Odorants did not increase the frequency of arousals or wake but did influence respiration. Specifically, all 4 odorants transiently decreased inhalation and increased exhalation for up to 6 breaths following odor onset. This effect persisted regardless of odorant valence or stage of sleep. These results suggest that the olfactory system may provide a path to manipulate respiration in sleep.

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.