Disturbed sleep is a prevalent symptom in anxiety disorders and a key diagnosis criterion for subthreshold and generalised anxiety disorders (GAD).

It is estimated that more than two thirds of patients with GAD suffer from insomnia, with even higher rates amongst the elderly, causing a detrimental effect on patients’ daily living skills and quality of life.

In 80 per cent of patients with diagnosed anxiety disorders, symptoms of insomnia appear simultaneously with anxiety symptoms highlighting the importance of targeting insomnia in the treatment of anxiety.  

Pharmacological anxiety treatments such as benzodiazepines carry a sedating effect. Although some patients may see a short-term improvement in sleep, common side effects of benzodiazepine use include daytime drowsiness and rebound insomnia – further intensifying sleep disturbances.

Benzodiazepines can also cause a physical dependence and withdrawal reaction when taken for longer than the recommended 4 weeks, a common withdrawal symptom is insomniax making it hard for patients to break the anxiety-insomnia cycle. 

A mediation analysis by researchers from the Universities of Zurich and Basel published this month in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, found that 98.4 per cent of patients saw an improvement in anxiety related sleep disturbances when taking a daily capsule of pharmaceutical quality lavender oil vs placebo.

The results indicate that pharmaceutical quality lavender oil exerts a secondary sleep improving effect almost exclusively through its anxiety relieving action rather than by sedation. 

Pharmaceutical quality lavender oil capsules are shown to decrease excessive neurotransmitter activity, reducing overstimulation and hyperactivity of the nervous response – improving symptoms of mild anxiety

More than 15 clinical trials show that a daily lavender oil capsule can be as effective as commonly used anti-anxiety medication, including the benzodiazepine lorazepam prescribed in GAD without the risk of sedation, dependency or withdrawal.

Professor of psychiatry, Professor Hans-Peter Volz says: ‘’This is a positive development for anxiety. Research demonstrates that the lavender oil capsules reduce both physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety (including sleep disturbances), without issues such as sedation, addiction or withdrawal. Lavender oil capsules provide a promising alternative treatment option to prescription drugs for subthreshold anxiety sufferers.”

The anxiety-relieving effects of uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical quality lavender oil are available in Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules.

Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, says: “Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the UK – one in five people report feeling anxious a lot or all of the time; and more than 45 million working days have been lost due to anxiety (combined with depression and stress) in the past three years. We welcome a range of treatment and support options, including the Kalms Lavender One-a-Day capsule and other non-prescription options such as talking therapies.”