In America, at least 60 million people suffer from some form of insomnia. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Americans spent $32.4 billion on something to help them sleep in 2012.
Clearly, something is wrong. But what is the solution?
To many, the solution is sleep aid medication. But, pharmaceutical sleeping pills are addictive and come with a whole slew of side effects. They can affect memory and attention span, as well.
If you’re looking for help sleeping but don’t want to take medication to get you there, there’s hope. Essential oils have been used for centuries to help people sleep.
Read on to learn more about ways to use essential oils for sleep.
Best Essential Oils for Sleep
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to separate essential oils into two different groups: essential oils that can act as a sedative and those that can act as relaxants.
These two categories will overlap. Most sedative oils will help you relax and the relaxation oils will lull you to sleep. But we’re going to separate them here to give you an idea of how they work.
Sedative Essential Oils
These oils can be especially important in helping you to relax more deeply. This is exactly where you want to be if you plan to settle in for the night and get into bed soon after.
Valerian is an essential oil that offers the most sedative power. It has a warm, woody, musky odor as its base note. It’s native to Europe and Asia and is distilled from an herb by using steam.
It’s generally used for nervous tension, over-excitability, and restlessness and it’s best used on people who are feeling stressed.
Valerian is nontoxic and it is not an irritant, but it’s a good rule of thumb to always do a patch check to check for any reactions you might have.
It blends well with patchouli, cedarwood, mandarin, and lavender.
This essential oil is arguably the most used for its sedative, sleepy-time properties. It has a beautiful, sweet, floral scent.
It’s from the Lamiaceae family, native to the French Mediterranean. Lavender is grown all over the world, today.
Lavender is a great oil to add to your toolbox for a variety of reasons. It’s great for use all around.
It’s great for people with shock, trauma, stress, panic, and anxiety because it acts like a relaxant. If you need an essential oil to get you relaxed and ready for bed, Lavender is the one for you.
Lavender isn’t everyone’s favorite, though. Some people don’t care much for the smell. If you can’t stand the smell of Lavender, sweet marjoram is a great alternative.
Lavender blends well with almost all essential oils. It works great with citrusy or floral oils. Mandarin, jasmine, vetiver, cedarwood, and patchouli are great ideas to start with.
Chamomile has major sedative effects and is one of the best-known flowers for calming people down. Chamomile tea is wildly popular all around the world as a night-time tea.
In oil form, it’s great for chilling out your nervous system, making it the perfect choice for your nighttime routine.
If you’re feeling angry, irritable, alone, aggressive, or you just need a little bit of a soothing feeling, this will calm you down. It’s also great for emotional burnout and any strong emotion that you need a break from.
Chamomile blends best with flowers like rose, jasmine, and lavender. But it also can hit just the right notes with bergamot, clary sage, and neroli.
This essential oil has a sweet but soft floral perfume smell. It’s native to tropical Asia and is distilled from freshly picked flowers.
Ylang ylang is a wonderful sedative that helps in dealing with nervous tension and stress. It can soothe and uplift.
If you’re trying to counteract negative emotions or you’re dealing with intense emotional suffering, this can really help to release that emotion and put you in a peaceful state of mind.
Ylang-ylang blends will with florals like sweet orange, vetiver, bergamot, and rose.
Ylang ylang can in some cases cause irritation. Make sure that you start with allow dilution, patch test, and use in moderation.
Patchouli has a sweet and very deep, earthy scent. This oil is great for exhaustion and stress feelings.
If you’re dealing with low feelings, anxiety, lack of confidence, anger, mood swings, and negative thoughts, this oil is perfect for you.
Patchouli blends well with vetiver, sandalwood, rose, and ylang-ylang.
Relaxant Essential Oils
Here are some of the best oils that are primarily considered to be relaxants. They can help you get loosened up for bed and calm you down.
Rose is a dynamic and multi-dimensional oil. There are so many different kinds of rose. We’ll be focusing on damask for the sake of this article.
Damask rose has a deep, rich floral scent. It’s a wonderful, relaxing oil. It can create calming emotions and cause you to feel at ease and happy in your surroundings.
Rose is a great essential oil for sadness and grief. Its a great essential oil for calming your mind and helping you to deal with the things that are keeping you awake. It’s closely related to feelings of peace.
Rose blends well with most essential oils. It tends to work wonders for sleep when mixed with lavender, jasmine, and ylang-ylang.
Bergamot has a fresh, sweet and slightly floral aroma with a balsamic undertone.
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, bergamot is the best relaxing essential oil for you. It’s also great for people who just can’t switch off their over-active mind.
Bergamot can be phototoxic. This means that if you apply it to your skin, you shouldn’t go into the sun for 12 to 24 hours. Also, it’s a good idea not to use old or oxidized oils.
Bergamot blends beautifully with lavender and this combination can be especially wonderful for a deep sleep and relaxation.
Vetiver is considered the ‘oil of tranquility.’ It has a deep earthy and woodsy smell. Vetiver is a great relaxant for your body, but it also helps to calm down the mind.
Vevitier is unique in that it is a relaxant but also stimulates worn out muscles and joints. This makes it a wonderful oil for full-body burnout.
Mix vetiver with sandalwood, rose, patchouli, and lavender. These are wonderful for sleep because their molecules complement each other in terms of their relaxing effect, but they also smell great together.
Sandalwood is a deep scent, often associated with a more masculine fragrance. It has a soft, musky, woody smell.
Sandalwood is uplighting, relaxing the nervous system and helping to relieve nervous tension and feelings of stress. It balances and connects, allowing you to meditate better and preparing you for bedtime by putting you in a semi-hypnotic state.
Sandalwood mixes great with rose, bergamot, patchouli, and jasmine.
Sweet orange is a wonderful, cheery oil that soothes and uplifts. It has an incredibly fresh, sweet citrus smell. It inspires happiness while also calming down your mind, allowing you to feel at peace as you settle in for the night.
If you’re feeling withdrawn, sad, or burned out, this is a great oil to use to counteract those feelings.
Sweet orange is mostly an uplifting oil, but a small number of its properties are incredibly relaxing. It’s so relaxing that it is actually considered a relaxing oil overall.
This oil tends to blend best with lavender, clary sage, and ylang-ylang when you are trying to use it for relaxation.
7 Ways to Use Essential Oils for Sleep
Now that you know the best essential oils for calming yourself down and getting your mind prepared for a sleep state, what are you going to do with them? There are so many different ways to get the benefits from essential oils and none of them are wrong.
But which ways are the best ways to get the most out of essential oils for night time use? Here are some of the ways you can work essential oils into your routine.
In a Diffuser
Just putting some lavender or ylang-ylang into your diffuser and letting it run while you go through your nighttime routine can be the easiest and most effective way you use them. Fill the room with relaxing smells and rest!
On Your Skin
For most essential oils, it’s perfectly acceptable to put a dab of it on your temples, the back of your neck, and your wrists. Make sure that you are using the right dilution if the essential oil you’ve chosen is an irritant.
Always patch test first. Nothing’s gonna keep you more awake than irritated skin.
There are so many different homemade massage oil recipes out there for you to use. This is great for little kids who are wound up and need a way to settle in before bed.
Also, don’t forget to pamper yourself! Rub some of this massage oil into your feet and cover them up with socks. This could be the trick you need to doze off.
Bath melts don’t have to be expensive luxury items. They are also super easy to do yourself! Adding essential oils to your bath melts can help to moisturize your skin and get you ready for sleep.
Add lavender to some distilled water to create a linen spray. Spritz your pillow a bit before bedtime to send you off to dreamland. This is also great for relieving headaches!
Do your kids have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket? Put a few drops of lavender on your kid’s favorite soft thing and tuck them into bed with it.
Adding essential oils to your bedtime routine can be as simple as adding a few drops to your bath or sticking your diffuser into your bathroom while you shower.
Using Essential Oils
There’s nothing more maddening than laying awake and not being able to sleep. Tossing and turning all night long leaves you feeling terrible the next day, sluggish and unable to fulfill your duties to the best of your ability.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s nothing wrong with seeking medical help, but there’s also no harm in trying out essential oils for sleep.
For more sleep tips and tricks, visit our blog today.