Studies show that many people have trouble falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest. For those who struggle with sleep, there are usually multiple causes. Everything from daily stresses and responsibilities to poor lifestyle and eating habits can contribute to sleep imbalances.
Essential oils are botanical powerhouses and can be used for a wide range of mental, physical, and emotional (or “mind and body”) benefits. Research is actively being done and revealing more and more ways to utilize these aromatic wonders.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR PROMOTING A SWEET SLUMBER
This is probably the first essential oil many people think of when it comes to rest, and for good reason! Lavender is rich in linalool and linalyl acetate, which are compounds that have been well studied for their calming and relaxing effects. It is a must-have in any essential-oil sleep blend. Of course, this is only one of lavender’s primary therapeutic benefits, but it’s definitely an important one.
Lavender Foot Rub
1 tsp carrier oil of choice
3 drops lavender
Place ingredients in a small bowl and massage into feet and back of neck before bed.
Clary sage is another essential oil rich in linalyl acetate and full of calming and relaxing benefits. Although clary sage is often toted as a women’s oil for its emotionally balancing properties, especially during a woman’s cycle, the benefits remain available to all who utilize this oil.
Clary Sage and Lavender Pillow Spray
8 drops clary sage
10 drops lavender
Place ingredients in a small spray bottle. Shake before using, and mist pillows and linens before bed.
Bergamot is one of the most valuable essential oils when it comes to emotional health. Like lavender, it is also rich in linalyl acetate and one of the few citrusy essential oils that is actually calming and relaxing.
Try diffusing before bedtime:
4 drops bergamot
1 drop clary sage
2 drops marjoram
This essential oil, distilled from the roots of a tropical grass, is perhaps best known for its powerfully grounding and calming effects on the emotions. Its rich, deep, and earthy aroma is a perfect addition to any sleep-supportive aromatherapy blend.
Calming Bath Salts
2 oz. sea salt
1 tsp. carrier oil of choice, such as almond, jojoba, or avocado oil
3 drops vetiver
7 drops lavender
Mix ingredients together — yields enough for 2 baths.
The dry, fresh, woodsy aroma of this oil is also quite soothing and relaxing. It is known to be calming and supportive to the mind, and it helps promote emotional balance.
1.5 tsp carrier oil of choice, such as almond, jojoba, or avocado oil
3 drops cedarwood
3 drops sandalwood
Blend ingredients into 10ml roll-on bottle. Apply to wrists and behind ears before bed.
Sandalwood has been used for centuries as incense to assist in quieting the mind and settling the breath. Sandalwood essential oil is rich in components that are deeply soothing and calming, making this a perfect choice for any sleep blend.
It can be diffused after a long, stressful day or to aid in mediation. When in a pinch, the following formula works wonders:
Sandalwood Cotton Ball
2 drops sandalwood
2 drops bergamot
1 drop lavender
Place in your pillowcase or next to your pillow.
This common kitchen herb also produces an aromatically warming and herbaceous essential oil that can calm and soothe even on the most challenging days.
Marjoram and Orange Body Lotion
1 oz. unscented lotion
5 drops marjoram
5 drops orange
Mix well and rub into hands, feet, and neck before bed.
SIMPLE WAYS TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR A RESTFUL NIGHT
The easiest and safest way to use essential oils for sleep is to diffuse them. Diffusers disperse the aromatic molecules into the air, allowing you to inhale them.
If you don’t have a diffuser, you can opt for direct palm inhalation, or you can place a few drops on a cotton ball and place it next to your pillow.
It goes without saying that although essential oils can offer relaxing and calming health benefits, it is important to support the mind and body with lifestyle choices aligned with a good night’s rest. Some tips:
1. Get plenty of exercise. Not everyone is wired to be a hardcore athlete, but don’t let that stop you from getting up and moving. A simple walk around the block after dinner, daily stretching, or even going dancing with friends can work. The point is to get up and move that beautiful body of yours.
2. Watch what you eat. Overly processed and sugar-rich foods may cause you to fall asleep faster, but when your blood sugar levels crash a few hours later, your body can sense the imbalance and cause a disturbance in your sleep cycle
3. Set regular bed and wake times. This can really help regulate your body’s internal clock and create a rhythm for sufficient sleep.
4. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, especially a couple hours before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with the body’s recovery mechanisms that kick in while we are sleeping, thus interfering with a full sleep cycle.
5. Turn off the screen(s)! Instead of falling asleep while checking your social-media posts or watching your favorite reality series, try doing some mindful visualization and breathing exercises to ease yourself into that much-needed rest.
6. Use essential oils, such as those listed above.