Background: Sleep disturbances among child patients are a commonly reported problem. We aimed to review the effectiveness of aromatherapy on sleep disorders of children and infants.
Materials and Methods: This review was conducted with a systematic search of electronic resources in English such as Medline (via PubMed), Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and EMBASE, with no time limit from inception up to February 2019; using the following keywords alone or in combination: (Aromatherapy OR Smell OR Olfactory OR Essential oil) AND (Sleep Disorders OR Sleep OR Sleep Paralysis OR Sleep Arousal Disorders) AND (Children OR Infant OR Baby OR Neonate OR Pediatric).
Results: Four studies were included in the review. In the first study, a comparison of the nights with and without aromatherapy showed no significant difference regarding length of time the children were asleep, sleep onset time and number of interruptions during the night. In the second study, aromatherapy with Rosa damascena essential oil significantly improved sleep quality parameters in children except with daytime sleeping (p=0.059). In the third study, a significant decrease was observed in the sleep quality score in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in aromatherapy with oil of orange than in the controls (p<0.05). In the fourth study, the infants in the Lavender bath oil group spend more time in deep sleep and less time crying prior to sleep onset than in the control group (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Aromatherapy with Lavender and Rosa damascena essential oil and orange oil can improve group sleep quality, deep sleep and time crying prior to sleep onset. However, it was not effectiveregarding sleep disorder in children with autism.