essential oils and sleeping
Last Updated on June 6, 2022 by Peter

Essential Oils: Can They Help You Sleep Better?

When it comes to sleeping, most of us would like to have it easy both to fall asleep and to wake up refreshed. But that ideal condition is often avoided or difficult to achieve. According to research, tens of millions of dollars are spent on sleep aids yearly, and the percent of people with insomnia or sleep problems is between 30% and 50%.

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    Sleep debt

    Repeatedly not getting enough sleep leads to “sleep debt.” Chronic sleep debt can take serious toll on your health, including a lowered immune system, decreased concentration or alertness, weight gain, higher risk of diabetes, loss of libido, sped up aging, increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

    In fact, adults who sleep fewer than six hours per night are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack over those who sleep six to eight hours a night — regardless of age, weight, smoking or exercise habits.

    Tips for a better night's sleep

    If we need sleep for our health and prevention of more serious diseases, and sleeping medications come with risks and harmful side effects themselves, what can we do to ensure a good night’s rest? Actually, there are some of the advice for better sleep:

    • Keep going to sleep and waking up at the same time, even on weekends.
    • Have a bedtime ritual, a good 30 minutes of relaxing routine activity, far from any stress sources and technology.
    • Avoid naps. Yes, we know they are useful, but if you have problems with sleeping at night this will help.
    • Daily exercise helps too, at any time of day.
    • Reassessing your sleeping space is beneficial too. If you manage temperature, noise, level of light and allergens in your bedroom, it will mean a world for the quality of your sleep.
    • Obviously, a good mattress and pillow make a huge difference.
    • Last but not least, you should use essential oils.

    What are essential oils?

    These natural remedies have a variety of health benefits, but there are few well-known to help people sleep better.  The important thing to know is that high quality essential oils are 100% natural, with few side effects, if any. These oils are typically distilled from the leaves, flowers, and stems of plants, leaving a concentration of phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant chemicals) that are 40-50% more powerful than the plant itself.

    While many people associate essential oils with aromatherapy or even with mere making places smell nice, essential oils have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine.

    In recent decades they have been getting increased attention from researchers, in pursuit of proof to their efficacy for a wide range of treatments and conditions. Essential oils have been proven beneficial for every physical ailment under the sun, including digestive problems, anxiety, depression, pain, bacterial infection, viruses, headaches, heart conditions, cancer… and even sleep.

    There are several essential oils that can help you with sleep, and we’ll present you some of the best:

    Lavender

    This essential oil probably doesn’t surprise you. Lavender is well-known for its relaxing and calming effects on the body. The best thing about it is that it’s safe to use on all ages–babies through adults.

    In addition to supporting healthy sleep, this oil is also a great way to freshen up laundry and fragrance your home without harsh chemicals or synthetics.

    an image of lavander essential oil

    Frankincense

    This is one of the favorites for big families. It’s perfect for balancing emotions, supporting healthy sleep, calming your mind and supporting your body’s natural response to healing.

    It’s ideal choice when your kids are scared, or when your mind refuses to drift off. One of the reasons frankincense essential oil may be so useful for helping sleep is its known benefits for pain. Oil of frankincense is also one of the oils found to reduce both pain and anxiety in women in childbirth.

    frankincense

    Cedarwood

    This oil is really cost effective, but that’s not the only way it’s effective. Cedarwood essential oil supports healthy function of the pineal gland, which releases melatonin, the body’s natural sleepy hormones.

    This oil has a unique woodsy scent. If you aren’t keen on the smell, you can mix it with lavender or frankincense.

    Ylang ylang

    Ylang ylang means “flower of flowers.” Historically, the ylang ylang flower has been used to cover the beds of newlywed couples on their wedding night. That’s because this powerful oil helps to balance male and female energies, supports focus and restores peace. Ideal use would be to diffuse it some 30 minutes before going to bed.

    ylang ylang essential oil

    Marjoram

    Marjoram essential oil is steam distilled from leaves and it’s known as the “herb of happiness” to the Romans and “joy of the mountains” to the Greeks. This oil is extremely soothing and relaxes the nerves.

    marjoram essential oil

    Vetiver

    Because vetiver essential oil is distilled from the roots of the plant, it smells very rich and earthy. This is another great oil to try for sleep because it is psychologically grounding, calming and stabilizing. It can take you awhile to get used to the smell, so if you are a vetiver newbie, you can try mixing it with floral or citrus oil, such as lavender or bergamot.

    an image of vetiver essential oil

    Roman chamomile

    For centuries, mothers have used this oil to calm children. This oil is perfect for restlessness and anxious feelings. I love using this oil because it’s another one that is great for all ages.

    It has a light, floral scent and is great for creating a peaceful atmosphere in your bedroom.

    roman chamomile essential oils

    How to use essential oils

    There are three basic ways to use essential oils for improved sleep.

    Inhalation

    If you want to breathe it in, you can put few drops on the pillow, use cold diffuser, apply oils directly on your body like a perfume or add some drops to your laundry or bath.

    Skin absorption

    Essential oils could be absorbed by skin. You can rub it on your feet, or place a drop behind your ears. You can even mix it with other oils or use it for a massage. Of course, be careful not to stain clothes and keep it off your sensitive areas. It takes around 20 minutes for oils to be fully absorbed.  

    Ingestion

    Some essential oils are safe for ingestion. You can add a drop or two to your favorite drink, or mix it with water or juice then drink it like a shot. You can also mix it with food or gel caps. Common sense is needed, and the guidance of a professional aromatherapist is best.

    Conclusion

    Essential oils are very useful asset in achieving the quality of sleep. They have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine for helping with various kinds of health issues. Among those, there are some oils that can help people fall asleep. Of course, before using them, you should have a consultation with a professional aromatherapist.

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