A new study will compare different combinations of essential oils to test whether they can enhance sleep in children with autism spectrum disorder, as reported by US News & World Report.

At The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Nisonger Center, we’ve launched a randomized, double-blind crossover study comparing two different combinations of 18 essential oils to test which is the safest and most effective for improving quality of life, by increasing relaxation and enhancing sleep efficiency in children with autism spectrum disorder.

From personal and online testimonials, parents tend to have different opinions as to which oil blends work best for their children. Since autism spectrum disorder is truly a spectrum, no two children are the same, so the oil blend that works for one may not benefit another. We’ll be evaluating two oil mixtures that we believe will be useful for improving quality of life in children with autism spectrum disorder.

Over the next two years, we will enroll approximately 34 participants in our study. For the first three months, we’ll ask parents to apply one drop of an essential oil blend on the back of their child’s neck, and one drop into the child’s feet in the morning before starting the day. Twenty minutes before bedtime, we will ask parents to put approximately 8 to 12 drops of the same oil blend in a diffuser in the child’s bedroom, and let it run throughout the night.

Parents will be asked to keep a journal of their child’s sleep habits. Specifically, they will be asked to write down things like how their child transitioned to bedtime, how long it took him or her to fall asleep, how often the child got up after going to bed and how rested the child seemed the following morning.

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