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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:2856592. doi: 10.1155/2017/2856592. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

The Effects of Aromatherapy on Intensive Care Unit Patients' Stress and Sleep Quality: A Nonrandomised Controlled Trial.

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College of Nursing, Eulji University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.



Stress has both physiological and psychological effects and can negatively impact patients' treatment and recovery. We examined whether the aromatherapy alleviated patients' stress and improved their sleep quality and provided data that can be utilized in clinical settings.


This was a nonrandomised controlled experimental study. Participants included lucid adult patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit and had spent more than two nights there. The experimental treatment required participants to engage in deep breathing with essential oils as part of the aromatherapy. The control group was instructed to go to sleep without receiving the lavender aroma oil.


The experimental group and control group showed a significant difference in perceived stress (F = 60.11, p < .001), objective stress index (F = 25.65, p < .001), systolic blood pressure (F = 9.09, p < .001), diastolic blood pressure (F = 2.47, p = .046), heart rate (F = 5.71, p < .001), and sleep quality (F = 109.46, p < .001).


The results revealed that aromatherapy alleviated stress and improved sleep quality in intensive care unit patients after 2 days of the experimental treatment. These results demonstrate that aromatherapy affects stress and sleep quality, thus indicating its value in nursing interventions. This trial is registered with KCT0002344.

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