Sleep, it can be an elusive thing. To some it might be a nightly struggle; to others, it might just be once in a while. Whenever the issue hits, it is nice to know that there is a natural solution. Essential oils are known to help with many ailments, and did you know that they can help encourage sleep as well? There are multiple oils that can help you relax, reduce stress, and even bring on those ZZZ’s.
So, where should you start when you are looking for oils to help you sleep?
Essential oils are made up of chemical constituents that determine what the therapeutic benefits are. You obviously would want to use calming oils when looking for a sleep blend. Essential oils containing sesquiterpenes or aldehydes are sedatives, so these would be a great option. They help quiet the central nervous system, relieve stress, and promote relaxation.
What are some of these wonderful soothing oils that can help make you sleepy?
You guessed it! The ever popular oil does it again. Lavender is an incredibly calming essential oil. There are several types of Lavender, and when it comes to relaxation, Lavandula Angustifolia is the best choice. It can help tame anxiety and nerves, reduce insomnia and irritability, and even balance your emotions. This beautiful oil is a powerhouse for easing tension and it smells amazing too! Many sleep blends include Lavender oil, and for good reason, but there are definitely more options as well.
This earthy oil is very high in sesquiterpenes and is known to be grounding and balancing. Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica) can help dispel anger, release nervous tension, and alleviate anxiety. The scent itself is deep and woody, which encourages a feeling of warmth and centering. Often times, this oil is used in focus or spiritual blends as well, due to its ability to clear your head and bring feelings of harmony and strength.
Origanum marjorana is fragrant, herbal oil that is a great sedative. This oil can actually help on a physical level, which, in turn, can help on a mental level as well. Sweet Marjoram can reduce heart palpitations, lower blood pressure, and ease sore muscles. Easing your body issues can have a really positive effect on your sleep patterns. In addition, Marjoram aids in reducing stress and can even be a very uplifting oil. Emotionally, this oil gives you an incredible warming feeling and may also help combat depression. I absolutely love this herbal scent when it is combined with citrus, it makes for an even more effectively relaxing blend. *Bonus, this oil is also helpful for snoring!
When you smell a Tangerine, do you instantly feel better? This is because citrus oils are fantastic at boosting your mood. When your emotions are balanced, it is much easier to calm down and go to sleep. Tangerine oil has high levels of limonene which have the wonderful benefit of lifting your spirits. It can reduce nervousness and jitters, soothe the mind, and alleviate mood swings. It is an anti-inflammatory oil as well, so it can actually calm the physical reaction to stress. All of these effects can help promote well-being and then bring on sleep. Tangerine is also an incredibly gentle oil and is a great option for children.
Other notable essential oils for sleep
Ylang Ylang – a sweet scented oil that brings a sense of comfort. It can lower blood pressure and even balance hormonal issues. Vetiver – a smoky, earthy scent that can ease an overactive mind and bring on some much needed R&R.
Roman Chamomile – a gentle oil with a sweet apple-like scent. This oil eases stress and tension. Safe for young ones and elderly.
What is the best way to use Essential Oils for Sleep?
Aromatherapy, by definition involves inhaling essential oils. When the molecules from the oils enter your limbic system, it tells your body how to react. So, of course, inhaling essential oils for relaxation is a great option. Many people find that running a diffuser next to their bed at night encourages rest and will help them fall asleep faster and remain asleep longer. An alternate option, would be to use a diffuser spray.
Another way to use essential oils for sleep involves unwinding from an added factor. Using essential oils in a warm, pre-bedtime bath is an effective option because you are receiving the benefits from the oils while calming the body with the peaceful setting of the bath as well. In addition, you can add Epsom salts to feed your body the magnesium it needs to relax and relieve muscle tension. Simply, add a few drops of your sleep essential oil blend to a tablespoon of carrier oil (almond, jojoba, olive, grapeseed oil etc) and disperse it into the bath while its running. Add one cup of salts if using.
If you want a “double whammy” of therapy when it comes to essential oils, topical application is best! When using oils on the skin, you are getting the aromatherapy from smelling the oils as you apply, but then you are also getting the absorption. Applying essential oils to your body with the use of a carrier oil allows the oils to be absorbed and go into your bloodstream. This is great for longer effects. An easy way to use oils topically is to use a roller. Simply roll on your ready-made blend and drift off the Dreamland.