Getting a good night’s sleep is so important to the body, mind, and soul. For most people, it’s easy to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. However, many struggle with falling asleep and resting soundly. Often times it’s difficult to shut off the mind from all the day’s thoughts and stresses and truly get into a restful state necessary for a good night’s sleep. Today I would like to share some of my favorite essential oils for helping to promote peaceful rest and relaxation.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is a common and well known essential oil related to relaxation and sleep and for good reason. Its effectiveness has been confirmed through numerous sleep studies. Lavender is rich in linalool and linalyl acetate. These compounds help with relaxation and when inhaled can have calm, soothing, and sedative effects.
Vetiver Essential Oil
Vetiver is a common oil used for relaxation. With a rich and earthy aroma, it is a helpful tool in alleviating emotional stress, anxiety, and insomnia. A recent study investigated the effects of Vetiver as a means for reducing stress and anxiety and found it to be as useful as Diazepam, a medication for anxiety.
Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile is another well known herb related to sleep and relaxation. Most people are familiar with the benefits of drinking it as a tea, however it is much more effective when using the essential oil. Chamomile has a light and floral scent that is very appealing to the senses. The oil is used as a method to calm nerves and reduce anxiety. This is a powerful oil for those moments when you just can’t seem to shut off your brain and rest.
Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot is a citrus oil with a sweet and fruity aroma. Most know bergamot as the oil used in Earl Grey tea, giving it its distinct citrus flavor. Similar to lavender, bergamot also contains compounds of linalool and linalyl acetate used to promote peace and relaxation. Bergamot is a powerful tool in creating emotional balance as it can stimulate hormones such as dopamine and serotonin and promote feelings of sedation and calm.
Valerian Essential Oil
Valerian is probably one of the most well known and natural sleep aids. Valerian has been shown to calm anxiety, lower blood pressure, and help improve stress levels. It is incredibly effective at helping the body and mind rest, fall asleep and stay asleep. The oil helps the body coordinate an ideal release of hormones promoting the natural sleep cycle. For this reason it has been used since ancient times as a helpful sleep aid.
Marjoram Essential Oil
While mostly thought of as a cooking spice, marjoram is also a powerful tool in promoting sleep. It creates a calm and sedative effect on the mind and body. It also helps to reduce nervous stress and anxiety. This is helpful when there is a specific trigger keeping you from sleeping like a presentation due at the office or a problem weighing heavily on your mind.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood has a warm and woodsy smell which is calming to the senses. It also helps to stimulate serotonin which the brain then converts to melatonin – the hormone necessary for sleep. The oil is very good at soothing the mind and helping to promote restorative sleep.
Essential Oils for Promoting Sleep
Applying oils topically is a wonderful way to experience their benefits. Usually I rub oils on the back of my neck, or to the bottom of my feet for the best effect. Keep in mind that some oils are too harsh to be applied directly to the skin so some kind of carrier oil should be used. Sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil are good options.
An essential oil diffuser is another wonderful way to use oils. Place a few drops of oil or a blend of some of the oils mentioned above with water and allow the scent to diffuse into the entire room. Another benefit of a diffuser is that it acts like a humidifier as it delivers a cool mist into the room.
Some oils can be taken internally such as lavender and bergamot. You can blend a few drops into a warm herbal tea in the evening before you go to bed to help promote a good night’s rest.
Another option for using the essential oils mentioned above is by adding them to a warm bath. A bath helps relax the mind and muscles and prepares you for a restful night. Just place a few drops of oil in the tub and soak for several minutes.
Sally Wong has been a manual therapist for over 15 years. Her grandmother first introduced her to the healing properties of essential oils and she continues to learn from her when she visits China twice a year. Sally believes strongly in the healing properties that oils can provide. Follow her on her blog.