How to Get Better Sleep with Terpenes
One part of maintaining your health that is often overlooked is getting a good night’s sleep. During sleep, the body rests and repairs itself while performing other vital functions. The benefits of sleep include boosting the body’s immune response, improving concentration and productivity, reducing the chances of weight gain, and lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
On the other hand, poor sleep has been associated with increased inflammation in the body, increased risk for prediabetes, and mental health issues like depression.
If you want to reap the full benefits of sleep, it is not enough to sleep for at least seven hours. You also need to get good-quality sleep on a regular schedule. Unfortunately, many things can get in the way of proper sleep—stress, anxiety, pain, certain health conditions, and some medications. Lifestyle changes are often necessary to establish good sleeping habits and create the optimal conditions for restful sleep.
While these changes can help some sleep problems, those struggling with more severe issues may need a better solution. This is where terpenes come in.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are compounds found in a wide variety of plants, with approximately 20,000 different terpenes existing in the world. These compounds serve as the foundation for the various smells and flavors present in multiple herbs, fruits, and plants.
Moreover, terpenes offer a host of medicinal benefits. Each terpene has a unique chemical structure that enables different terpenes to have distinct effects. For example, some terpenes can address pain relief and management, anxiety reduction, and focus enhancement. Research has also observed that other terpenes have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anticancer properties.
Many products are infused with terpenes or terpene-rich plants to enhance their smell and taste and offer potential health benefits. Further research is also being conducted to use terpenes in medication and other forms of treatment.
Which terpenes help with sleep?
In terms of aiding sleep problems, certain terpenes can help people get better sleep through their natural sedative and hypnotic effects. This means that they work to alleviate anxiety and pain, calm the mind and body, promote relaxation, induce drowsiness, or extend the hours of sleep.
You can enjoy these effects by using products infused with these specific terpenes or flowers with these terpene profiles.
Given the vast number of terpenes, there are five notable terpenes that work to encourage relaxation and better sleep. These include:
Myrcene is a terpene commonly found in fruits and herbs such as mango, basil, thyme, cardamom, and lemongrass. Plants that promote sleep, like hops and ylang-ylang, also contain this terpene. Its fragrance profile is described to be fruity, herby, and earthy all at once.
Current research has shown that myrcene has sedative and hypnotic properties. Ongoing studies are also looking into its potential for reducing inflammation and chronic pain. Overall, this terpene works by calming the mind and relaxing the muscles, delivering a more restful sleep.
Caryophyllene is a terpene present in cinnamon, black pepper, and cloves. Its aromatic profile is warm with peppery and spicy notes.
This terpene exhibits anxiolytic and analgesic properties, making it effective against stress, anxiety, and pain. Given how these factors affect the quality of sleep you get, caryophyllene works well to address insomnia. It also works best for those with sleep problems tied to chronic pain.
Lavender, clary sage, mint, and sweet basil all share the common terpene linalool. This terpene carries a sweet and floral aroma, making plants with linalool key components for aromatherapy products.
Linalool is one of the key compounds of lavender extract, with research backing lavender and its ability to improve sleep quality. The terpene itself was observed to lower symptoms of anxiety and depression, and protect the immune system from stress-induced damages.
In addition, linalool also has been found to increase adenosine, the hormone that helps the body fall asleep. Hence, this terpene is the ideal choice for people who want to sleep well, especially those who struggle with mental stress.
With an aromatic profile that is fresh and woodsy, pinene is a terpene found in coniferous trees, pine, rosemary, basil, and cumin. This terpene comes in two forms: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Alpha-pinene is ideal for achieving tranquilizing effects.
Specifically, alpha-pinene has been observed to provide anxiolytic and hypnotic effects. It also works to lessen the body’s desire to be active. This specific terpene has also been identified to increase the quantity of non-REM sleep and reduce sleep latency—or the time it takes for you to fall asleep, making it a good fit for people who want to sleep longer hours.
Terpinolene is a lesser-known terpene found in plants like lilac, lavender, allspice, and apples. Its aroma profile is more complex than other terpenes, combining pine, floral, and citrus scents. While it is present in several plants, it occurs in significantly lesser quantities than other terpenes, making it challenging to acquire.
This terpene has been found to have sedative effects, inducing drowsiness and lessening the desire to be active. Alongside this, terpinolene also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
How to use terpenes for improving sleep
The best thing about terpenes is that they exist in nature. You can incorporate terpenes into your nightly routine by having a mix of certain plants, spices, and flowers in your bedroom. Inhaling their natural aroma through a bouquet or potpourri can make it easier for you to relax and fall asleep.
For those who may want a more direct or concentrated effect, using terpene-infused products is the way to go. There are plenty of wellness products in the market that take advantage of the powerful effects that terpenes have to offer. From aromatherapy oils to tinctures and pure terpene isolates—selecting the right product is a matter of personal preference and comfort.
It is advisable to read the label and other information provided by the manufacturer to get the best effects from your preferred terpene products. Not only does this information make it easier to use the product as intended, but it can also prepare you for possible side effects.
For example, some terpene products may cause a feeling of grogginess or heaviness the next day. While this may be ideal for rest days or weekends, these effects may get in the way of your day-to-day routine.
Despite their natural origins, it is also essential to pay attention to the quality of the terpene product you buy. Only purchase products from knowledgeable and reputable manufacturers.
Reputable manufacturers observe the necessary safety precautions to infuse and create their products. They can also provide ample information on the types of terpenes they use and the concentration of the compounds in their products.
When trying new flowers or terpene-induced products, remember to exercise caution and watch out for any adverse or abnormal effects. If you find yourself experiencing negative effects or if the side effects are unbearable, stop using the product immediately.
Sleep problems go beyond waking up cranky. With poor sleep, you can put yourself at risk for certain medical conditions, lessen your mental focus and clarity, and even compromise your body’s immune system.
Recent research has allowed people to use terpenes to improve their wellbeing, including getting better, longer sleep regularly. The key is to find the right terpenes that provide effects that promote relaxation, lower stress, and aid with drowsiness.
Kalki is one of the master flavor chemists at Sauce Terps and Medical Terpenes. He is the director of sales and marketing at Sauce Terps and Medical Terpenes, he is also a major contributor to research and development. Amongst creating new and exciting, dank strains, he also manages the quality control of the manufacturing process in an ISO 9001:2015 and GMP compliant lab. He enjoys spice and pungent aromas with a heavy nose.