What About Essential Oils For Sleep? No More Tossing and Turning
Have you ever gone to bed, and you’re real tired, but your mind doesn’t seem to want to shut off and wants to keep you up worrying about tomorrow? Does it keep you up thinking about past experiences and how you should have handled them differently? How about your health. Is pain keeping you awake at night?
Well, some things in life are beyond our control, and no matter how much we worry about them, it’s not going to change anything. Even if it can, it’s not something that you’re going to be taking care of while you’re in bed trying to get some zzz.
What about essential oils for sleep? Can they make a difference? Well, when it comes to essential oils, if there is a problem, you will be able to find an oil to help with that problem.
“Good sleep is a reachable dream.”
Why do we sleep?
Despite decades of research and discoveries about different aspects of sleep, the question of why we sleep has been a difficult question to answer.
One theory suggests that inactivity at night, staying still and being quiet, was a survival function at times when one was particularly vulnerable to accidents and predators.
Another theory is based on the long-held belief that sleep serves to restore what is lost in our bodies when we are awake and is an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate.
And still another theory is the brain plasticity theory. It’s clear that sleep plays a critical role in the brain development in infants and young children. For adults, sleep deprivation effects the ability to learn and perform a variety of tasks.
Although these theories remain unproven, scientists have made great strides in discovering what happens when we sleep and how it affects our lives.
What Causes Lack of Sleep
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the US affecting nearly one out of every 3 adults at some point in life. Women suffer from insomnia more than men, and as people get older, insomnia happens more often.
Stress is the most common cause of insomnia. There are psychological reasons such as depression, negative memories or life changes. It can be caused by taking certain medications, including medications for high blood pressure, nasal allergies, asthma, etc.
Insomnia is also caused from physical problems such as an overactive or under active thyroid, hormone imbalance, pain or gastrointestinal problems. Extreme temperatures of hot or cold can also cause you to not be able to go to sleep.
After 40, our melatonin production in the brain starts to decline. Taking melatonin supplements can dramatically improve sleep cycles and combat insomnia.
6 Essential Oils To Defeat Insomnia
- Cedarwood: Cedarwood can be used in a diffuser or massaged into the skin to help relax a tense body. And with cedarwood’s woodsy and warm aroma, it can create a relaxing and calming atmosphere. Cedarwood is good for restless legs and to prolong sleep. Cedarwood is also good for pain, tight muscles and ADHD.
In one study, it was shown that cedarwood oil had noticeable sedative effects when inhaled. In yet another study, cedarwood oil was shown to induce an increase in parasympathetic activity in the body which conserves energy and slows the heart rate.
Apply 1-2 drops onto your pillow before going to bed, or a couple of drops in your massage oil. Put in a diffuser or add some drops in a bath or foot soak.
- Clary Sage: Clary sage promotes feelings of relaxation. It alleviates feelings of anxiety and stress. Clary sage lowers the stress hormone, cortisol. In turn, you become more relaxed and are able to sleep better.
Clary sage’s main chemical is linalyl acetate, which is an ester. Esters are cooling, anti inflammatory and relaxing. They are also balancing and soothing.
Add a couple drops to bath water. Use in a diffuser. Use a drop or two in massage oil or lotion. Clary sage has a heavy aroma, so use a small amount if you are sensitive to strong smells.
- Lavender: Lavender is well-known for its soothing and relaxing effects. It can calm or stimulate according to your body’s needs. Lavender has a long history of medicinal use and is suggested to possess anticonvulsant, antidepressant, anti anxiety, sedative, and calming properties.
In a double-blind, randomized study, 212 patients were analyzed. After 12 weeks of treatment with either lavender oil or a placebo, it was shown that lavender oil has a meaningful indirect effect on sleep by reducing anxiety as compared to a placebo.
Put a couple drops on your pillow at night. Use it in a diffuser. Add a few drops to a warm bath or foot soak.
- Roman Chamomile: Roman Chamomile reduces stress, depression, anxiety and PTSD. It works very well to overcome insomnia because it has a calming effect that helps prepare you for sleep. It is well-known as a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer.
Roman chamomile also has anti inflammatory and pain relieving properties. So if you can’t sleep because of pain, you should try this oil.
In a 2005 study, chamomile is a herb shown to have benzodiazepine-like hypnotic activity. In a single-blind randomized controlled trial, 60 elderly people were treated with chamomile extract capsules or a placebo twice a day for 28 days. After the 28 days, the results of the trial showed that sleep quality in the group given the chamomile was significantly better than the placebo group.
Add a few drops to bath water or foot soak. Use in a diffuser.
- Sweet Marjoram: Sweet marjoram has a warm, woodsy and spicy aroma. It helps reduce anxiety and stress hormones. It is calming and sedating and works directly with the peneal gland to release melatonin into the blood.
Sweet marjoram will help you relax before you sleep and will also lower blood pressure and ease hyperactivity. It soothes and provides comfort for feelings of loneliness or rejection. Sweet marjoram is also good for fatigue and muscle tension.
Put a couple drops on the corner or your pillow. Use in a diffuser.
- Valerian: Valerian has a tranquilizing effect on the central nervous system. It is effective in reducing restlessness and can treat sleep disturbances as a result of nervous conditions. It can help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.
There’s been research done on Valerian that shows that inhaling it can prolong and enhance sleep.
One study assessed the short-term and long-term effects of Valerian on 16 patients with psychophysiological insomnia. The study showed positive effects with use of Valerian on sleep structure and sleep perception in insomnia patients in comparison to the placebo. And when compared to the placebo, slow wave sleep delay was reduced after being administered Valerian.
Use in a diffuser. Put a few drops in a foot bath.
Essential Oil Sleep Blends
There are many blends out there that you can use. It all depends on what aroma you are looking for and what is appealing to you. Here are a few examples:
Diffuser and/or Bath Blends:
- 3 drops Cedarwood
2 drops Lavender
- 4 drops Roman Chamomile
3 drops Clary Sage
- 4 drops Lavender
2 drops Sweet Marjoram
- 2 drops Valerian
3 drops Lavender
2 drops Roman Chamomile
Worry-Free Sleep Aid
Now that you know which essential oils will help you fall asleep and stay asleep, try them out and see which one (or ones) work best for you. You don’t have to worry about becoming dependent, and you don’t have to worry about overdosing. Essential oils are a pure, natural sleep aid that will help you get a restful night’s sleep without side effects. So you can wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
If you have anything you’d like to share or comment about, feel free to do so below.