Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy via Inhalation and Sleep Hygiene on Sleep in College Students with Self-reported Sleep Issues

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Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy via Inhalation and Sleep Hygiene on Sleep in College Students with Self-reported Sleep Issues

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<bold>Background</bold>: Sleep issues are prevalent and associated with physical, mental, and emotional health, accidents, and human errors and the related health care and work place costs. Both ineffective treatment and lack of treatment contribute to the prevalence of sleep issues and the development of chronic sleep problems. Two thirds of college students report having sleep issues. Better sleep for college students results in better moods, grades, and overall health, with benefits extending into adulthood. Providing safe and effective interventions for this age group has the potential to prevent ongoing sleep issues. Both sleep hygiene and inhaled lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) have been found to have a positive impact on sleep issues, but both treatments are under researched in this population.Objective: To compare the effectiveness of lavender and sleep hygiene versus sleep hygiene alone on sleep quantity, sleep quality, and well-being and to determine if any effect is sustained at 2-week follow-up. Method: This double-blind RCT included a convenience sample of college students with self-reported sleep issues. Standard sleep surveys, Fitbit® trackers, and a well-being survey were utilized to study the impact of five nights of inhaled lavender via patch and sleep hygiene compared to sleep hygiene and a blank patch at pre-treatment, post treatment, and 2-week follow-up. Results: The sample size was large enough to give the study sufficient power to detect statistically significant differences. The lavender and sleep hygiene group demonstrated better sleep quality at post treatment and follow-up. The sleep hygiene only group also demonstrated better sleep quality but to a lesser extent. Additionally a clinical effect on sleep quality was found for the lavender and sleep hygiene group at post treatment, along with a significant finding for waking feeling refreshed. There was a positive trend in well-being over time for the lavender and sleep hygiene group.Conclusion: This double blind RCT found sleep hygiene and lavender together, and sleep hygiene alone to a lesser degree, to be effective and safe interventions for college students with self-reported sleep issues, with an effect remaining at follow-up. A clinical effect was demonstrated for the group receiving lavender.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2014. Major: Nursing. Advisor: Linda Halcόn PhD. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 150 pages, appendices A-R.

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