I. Why Use Essential Oils for Sleep
Essential oils have been used by our ancestors for various purposes. Among the most rewarding benefits of essential oil are relaxation and better sleep. Our everyday lives are filled with stressors such as hectic schedules, pollution, lifestyle and many more.
Everyone wants to take a break from stress and enjoy a more relaxing day ahead. One of the best ways to achieve a relaxed body and mind is through a good night sleep. The use of essential oils is one of the most natural ways to effectively achieve good rest and sleep for a better day ahead of you. These oils are not only fragrant; they also contain substances that nourish the mind, body and soul.
Technically, essential oils are not oils as they do not contain fatty acids that constitute actual oils. In essence, essential oils are concentrated components of a plant that possess cosmetic and medicinal properties. Most essential oils are antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. That is why some of them are great additions for homemade cleansers and household medical kit.
In addition, essential oils are minuscule in size, meaning the skin easily absorbs them. That is why they nourish, soften and heal the skin effectively. Since essential oils are 100% natural, pharmaceutical companies are not able to patent them. This is the reason why only a limited number of researches are done about them and most of the information referring to them are passed on from thousands of generations through personal experience and use.
II. Best Essential Oils for Sleep
Most people suffer from sleeplessness due to stress, insomnia, sleep apnea, emotional issues and other sleep-related concerns. Luckily, there are essential oils that have been used for thousands of years to deal with the mentioned issues due to their ability to induce sleep.
The majority of people know that lavender is associated with sleep, but what most people don’t know is that the reasons behind it aren’t just old wives’ tales. Lavender is a plant that derives from the mint family. There has been extensive research conducted into its effectiveness, and it has been scientifically proven that lavender induces sleep. You can use lavender to help you sleep by sleeping on a lavender-infused pillow, or by using pillow spray, sleep masks, sachets, candles, massage oils, and bath salts.
Vetiver is a very strong essential oil. It is extracted from the root of the plant. You might want to combine it with another oil such as roman chamomile and lavender because of its potent earthy smell. However, it is known to shut down the brain and send you to sleep very quickly.
03. Roman Chamomile
Roman Chamomile is known for its relaxing, soothing, and calming properties. It has a floral scent that is very light and it is great for creating a peaceful environment in your bedroom. You can use it as a diffuser, or dilute a few drops in a carrier oil and apply it to the bottom of your feet before going to bed.
You can make some calming salve for yourself with Roman Chamomile by mixing ¼ cup of beeswax with ¼ cup of organic coconut oil. Heat the mixture and stir it to combine thoroughly and then add 15 drops of lavender oil, as well and 15 drops of chamomile oil.
04. Ylang Ylang
Ylang Ylang is difficult to pronounce, but it will easily send you to sleep. The oil is extracted from a South-East Asian tropical tree. It has a fruity and floral scent that is very calming. Scientific studies have found that it calms the nervous system which reduces heart rate and blood pressure.
Bergamot is a citrus hybrid fruit; it is a cross between a bitter orange, and a lime or lemon. The oil is cold-pressed from the peel or rind. The majority of citrus oils such as wild orange or grapefruit tend to have a stimulating effect. However, bergamot is different. Although it’s vigorous, it also has a very calming effect on the brain. Studies have found that it relieves anxiety, tension, stress, blood pressure, and reduces the heart rate. All of which can have a negative effect on sleeping patterns.
Sandalwood is a little bit more expensive than the rest of the oils but it’s worth it. It is a sweet, exotic and woody smelling oil extracted from the sandalwood tree which is a member of the Santalaceae family. The reason for the increase in price of the oil is that supply is low. The oil has become so popular that the trees have almost become extinct. Massage a few drops into your chest or forehead and take deep breaths. The smell will send you to sleep.
Marjoram is known for silence and stillness. It brings peace to a restless mind; it is a fantastic remedy for insomnia. Marjoram has the ability to promote sleep better than any other essential oil. If you are lying awake in bed, pour a few drops onto your pillow; your breathing will become slower and your thoughts will disintegrate as you inhale the fragrance.
After a long day at work, you can vaporize your room with marjoram an hour before you sleep; this will ensure that you get a good night’s rest.
As well as being a powerful antiseptic, anti–inflammatory, and expectorant, cedarwood is also comforting, calming and relaxing. Its woodsy and warm aroma make you feel like snuggling up with your favorite book and a cup of tea. Cedarwood stimulates the production of melatonin, which is the chemical responsible for regulating sleep. Combine a few drops with a carrier oil and rub it where your head and your neck meet, the underside of your wrists, and on your forehead.
Valerian is probably one of the most commonly used oils for sleep. It will help you to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. This oil has a grounding and calming effect. It can be used topically either applied to the inside of your wrist or to the bottom of your feet.
If you are constantly tossing and turning during the night because of stress, orange essential oil will assist in reducing your anxiety so that you can sleep. All citrus oils contain uplifting properties which can help with depression. To use, dilute a few drops with a carrier oil and rub it onto your stomach. You can also use it in a diffuser.
This essential oil comes to use from traditional Mediterranean medicine, and is a super powerful essential oil, able to cure so many conditions. It’s known as an antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial, and is a potent pain reliever, too. Add to that its power to fight insomnia, it’s the perfect relief for those who suffer from aches and pains that prevent them from sleeping.
This is a very unusual oil, and is often only available to be purchased in a mix with other oils. It has a bitter smell, but is perfect for alleviating muscle cramping, and giving a relaxing effect. It has a mentally calming and relaxing effect too, but it can also decrease libido.
13. Benzoin Essential Oil
It comes from the extracts of the Benzoin tree. This Golden-colored oil is thick, resinous and aromatic. It has a vanilla-like aroma that makes it so relaxing and wonderful. This oil is used to relieve stress, tension, nervousness and anxiety. Its tranquilizing effect makes it a highly effective sedative, allowing you to doze off and wake up to a relaxed and happy morning.
This colorless to pale yellow oil is steam distilled from the gum resin of the Boswellia tree found in Africa and Middle Eastern countries. It has a slightly lemony, balsamic aroma with a hint of camphor. It calms and relaxes the body and soul, making it an effective sedative and stress reliever.
It is a favorite among many due to its sweet, citrusy scent that promotes feelings of happiness. It also relieves tension. The rind of the lemon fruit is cold-pressed to get the oil. It is also antibacterial and antiviral. It relieves mental fatigue, exhaustion, restlessness, insomnia and sleeplessness.
III. How to Use Essential Oils for Insomnia
There are various ways to use essential oil to get rid of your insomnia and finally have a good night sleep that you dearly deserve. Below are the methods you can use for achieving a relaxing and satisfying sleep at night.
Method 1 – Topical use:
Mix the essential oil of your choice to any carrier oil (jojoba oil, coconut oil or sweet almond oil) and rub a few drops on your wrists, back of your neck and on your soles. Do this for at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
Method 2 – Diffuser:
If you have an essential oil diffuser at home, simply add a few drops of essential oil into your diffuser with some water. It is best to diffuse essential oils in your bedroom an hour before you go to sleep.
Method 3 – Warmer:
Not everyone has a diffuser but everyone deserves a good night sleep. Simply pour hot water in a bowl and stir in a few drops of your favorite essential oil, 30 minutes before you go to bed. Alternatively, you can also use a restaurant platter (the one with a foot stand on each corner). Place some water and a few drops of essential oil. Place a candle underneath the platter and enjoy the sweet aroma of sleep coming your way.
Method 4 – Warm Bath:
For a quality sleep at night, you can also add a few drops of essential oil in your warm bath water. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy the scent with your eyes closed and feel your body tension drift away. This is best done 30 minutes before going to sleep.
Method 5 – Inhalation:
Mix a few drops of essential oil in any carrier oil. Put 1 to 2 drops on your palms and rub. Cup your palms on your nose and inhale the scent a few times before going to sleep.
Method 6 – Cotton Ball:
Add 2 to 3 drops of your favorite essential oil blend on a cotton ball and place it on your pillow, near your nose, so you can inhale the aroma as you doze off to sleep.
Method 7 – Aromatic Spritzer:
Add some water in the spritzer and stir in a few drops of your essential oil blend. Spray some on your pillow before going to bed. This will not leave a mark on your bed linen as it is water-based. You may also spray some on your entire bedroom to help you sleep faster.