Have you ever suffered from sleep issues, sleep deprivation or sleep disorders? Well, if you do, you are 1 of the 50-70 million people who don’t get the sleep their bodies need each night. Lack of sleep can be very detrimental to your health. It can cause fatigue, increased irritability, mood imbalance, trouble concentrating, not to mention yawning and drowsiness during the day. Any of these sound familiar? You may be suffering from sleep deprivation or a sleep disorder.
A great number of people turn to pharmaceutical sleep aids to help them get the rest and sleep they need. There are, however, many people who have chosen the more natural remedy of using essential oils for sleeping. Research has shown that essential oils to help sleep is a good option. Look at this study and this study.
I’ve put together my 6 best essential oils for sleeping. The oils I have chosen are oils that promote relaxation and calmness and have a sedative effect, much like OTC sleep aids or supplements. They can also reduce anxiety and relieve stress. The great thing about using essential oils for sleeping is that they have essentially no side effects like other sleep aids, such as benzodiazepines.
This would be my top pick because it is such a versatile oil and one of the most powerful. It can be used for so many other different things than sleep. Lavender essential oil can relax brain waves and calm nerves. You need to make sure it is pure, true lavender because it is more effective than the other varieties, such as lavandin. Also, there have been many studies (see 4.4 in this review) done on this oil and it has been proven to be great as a sleep inducer and produces better quality sleep.
Chamomile has been more popularly known as an herbal tea. People have used chamomile tea for centuries as a sedative to help them sleep. There is another option that might be more effective to help sleep and that would be as an essential oil. Chamomile essential oil works by relaxing the body and mind. There are many varieties of chamomile, but roman chamomile is the most effective for bringing on sleep. This study concluded that ‘chamomile extract can significantly improve sleep quality among elderly people’.
This essential oil is a citrus fruit, a cross between a lemon and an orange. Most of the citrus oils have a stimulating effect, but with bergamot it has the opposite effect. Bergamot essential oil has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, and reduce cortisol level. All of these help to give a higher quality sleep. Since bergamot is a citrus, it is photosensitive, so avoid this oil topically, before going outside.
This essential oil is a very grounding and calming oil. These both help the body to relax and get ready for sleep. Cedarwood produces serotonin, which in turn releases melatonin, which is the body’s natural sleep hormone. (Take a look at this study.) It has been shown to have sedative effects in which it lowers blood pressure and decreases the heart rate helping to prepare for sleep.
Ylang ylang is another oil that has sedative effects. It also, relieves anxiety and reduces stress. Blood pressure and heart rates are also lowered by this oil. Because it brings relaxation and is an antidepressant, ylang ylang is another great oil for sleep. This study (see section 15) shows that this essential oil does have all these great benefits that help us sleep and stay asleep.
Valerian essential oil isn’t as well-known as the previous oil, but it’s just as good. It is also, an herbal tea that is used at bedtime to help sleep. Valerian contains a constituent called valerenic acid. This acid produces a sedative effect thus, not only promoting good sleep, but improving the quality of sleep, as shown here.
Other oils to mention for better sleeping are sweet marjoram, clary sage, frankincense, and vetiver.
WAYS TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR SLEEPING
There are several ways to use essential oils for better sleep just as there are with any other health issue. When you do use them, take note of which ones work with your body and just because one works for your sister or friend, doesn’t mean it is the best for you.
To use topically, you want to make sure the oils are absorbed through your skin. It usually takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes to get totally absorbed. If you notice a reaction, stop using it and try a different oil. It is best to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, to lessen the risk of reaction or sensitivity. Lavender is an exception. It is such a gentle oil and is usually safe for everyone to use without dilution. Though, to be on the safe side, it is best to dilute for children. Some essential oils are stronger than others, so, overall, it’s better to dilute with a carrier oil.
A safe dilution would be 2-3%, which would be as follows:
- 2% dilution 6 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon carrier oil
- 3% dilution 9 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon carrier oil
To use the diluted oil, before going to bed, gently rub the oil on pressure points, such as; back of neck, inside of wrists, soles of feet, behind the ears, inside the elbows, and behind the knees.
Add 5-6 drops of oil to the bathwater and soak in it about 60 minutes before going to bed.
For inhalation, add 8-10 drops of essential oil, or combination of essential oils, to a diffuser (This one is good!) in the bedroom. Set the timer on the diffuser and enjoy the scent as you drift off to sleep.
Here are some diffuser blends you can try with these essential oils. You can adjust the strength by adding more, or adding less, depending on what is comfortable for you.
3 drops lavender
3 drops cedarwood
3 drops bergamot
3 drops lavender
2 drops ylang ylang
1 drop bergamot
1 drop lavender
1 drop roman chamomile
1 drop valerian
Blend 4: equal parts of valerian and lavender
Blend 5: 4 drops each of ylang ylang, sandalwood and clary sage
You don’t have to only use these blends. If you’re brave, you can create your own blend of essential oils for sleeping. It’s not that hard. Give it a try! (See my article on blending.)
In a 4 oz. amber glass spray bottle, which you can find here, add 20 drops of essential oil and fill bottle with water. You can make an adjustment if the oil is too strong, and just add less oil. Mist this on your pillow, or the top of your sheet closest to your head. We have used a combination of diffuser and misting when we’re having more stressful days. These just bring on the relaxation and calms the mind. Let the scent carry you off to sleep.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
The benefits of essential oils can give you a better quality of life. Getting the sleep you need is one of the best things that can give you that quality, and essential oils can help with that. I’m so glad I could share with you some essential oils for sleeping.
Things to remember: You want oils that will make you feel relaxed and calm, and even sleepy. Since each of us react to smells differently, it’s important to find the right scent for you. You do not want oils that make you feel alert and awake. It will not help you sleep.
You can start with one oil and see how it affects you and then use each one until you find the one(s) that will do the job. Try these oils, and find that right one(s) that will help give you the sleep you need and then try combinations. Leave a comment below with any questions and let me know what oils you tried and how you liked them.
As always, thanks for reading!
*It is advised not to use essential oils for babies 6 months or younger. Always, make sure the essential oil is diluted for babies and younger children. It is also advised that pregnant or breastfeeding women see a doctor before using essential oils because there are some oils that pregnant and breastfeeding women should never use.