The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading nurses in psychiatry. Check back for more from APNA 2020.


Patients hospitalized due to a mood disorder who complained of sleep disturbances experienced an increase in number of hours slept following implementation of a patch that contained lavender essential oil on their chest, according to a poster presented at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30th to October 4th, 2020.

Kimberly Moner, DHA, MSN, RN, of the University of Detroit Mercy, facilitated the study in which 10 patients were observed. Participants were qualified to participate if they were diagnosed with a mood disorder, were admitted to the inpatient behavioral health unit, and complained of sleep disturbances.

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Over a 3-day period, nurses placed a patch that contained lavender essential oil on each participant’s chest at bedtime. Every 15 minutes, nurses checked on the patients and documented whether they were asleep or awake. On day 4, researchers interviewed the 10 patients to ask questions about their sleep quality and how they felt about the lavender patch.

On the first night of wearing lavender patches, participants slept for an average of 4.5 hours; on the second night they slept for an average of 5.9 hours, and on the third night the average sleep duration was 5.75 hours. With the exception of 2 patients who experienced a decrease in sleep duration over the study period, the lavender patch intervention was generally associated with increased sleep duration and improved ability to remain asleep throughout the night.

When interviewed, participants noted that they felt rested and refreshed after sleeping with the lavender patch. They also expressed interest in continuing to use lavender infused patches when they return home.

Despite the small sample size, Dr Moner expressed confidence in lavender essential oil’s ability to address sleep issues. “Nurse managers may want to suggest policy changes to reflect the use of lavender essential oil as an alternative to oral medication to help patients sleep,” she concluded. “This change would not require the use of aromatherapy but would allow it as another treatment protocol.”

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Moner K. Lavender essential oil: an alternative to sleep for individuals with mood disorders. Presented at: APNA 34th Annual Conference; September 30 to October 4, 2020. Poster 92.