For the most part, I'm not a person who has much trouble with sleep. I'm pretty tired by the end of the day and usually I'm out pretty quickly until the next morning. But every so often I find it difficult to turn off my brain, making it difficult to fall asleep. During these times I find using essential oils helpful in getting me to relax and on the fast train to Slumber Town!
While one oil may have a calming effect on one person, it might not on the next, so if you're up for a little experimentation, you should find the right one or the blend that is right for you. Here's a list of scents that you might start with.
One of the most popular oils, lavender has a fresh calming scent which makes it an excellent choice for stress, anxiety, and insomnia. It can also help treat migraines, headaches, depression and minor burns.
Chamomile's warm, sweet, herbaceous scent creates a peaceful atmosphere. There are several kinds of chamomile on the market, but Roman chamomile is considered the most effective for sleep.
Distilled from the roots of the plant, vetiver relaxes the nervous system and helps with over-stimulation. In India and Sri Lanka it is known as the "oil of tranquility." Vetiver has a rich , strong, earthy smell. I love this one, but if you find it to be too intense, try blending it with a lighter oil such as chamomile or lavender.
Used extensively in perfume and aromatherapy treatments due to its pleasing floral fragrance, ylang ylang can be used to help fight depression, anxiety, and stress. It has an uplifting effect on mood and helps induce feelings of hope and joy. It has also been found to be effective in lowering blood pressure.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit and the oil is cold-pressed from the rind or peel. Most citrus oils tend to have a stimulating effect, but bergamot is different as it is bright, yet calming at the same time. The flavonoids present in Bergamot oil are nice relaxants. They sooth nerves and reduce tension, anxiety, and stress, all of which can help with sleeplessness, high blood pressure, and depression. This is one that I don't typically use at night, but I love having it around on a super busy day. But who knows? This might be the one for you!
Commonly used in aromatherapy and in perfume, sandalwood oil has been used in cultural and spiritual ceremonies for centuries to enhance meditation and healing due to its deeply relaxing effect on the nervous system. It has a rich, aromatic, scent that will trigger endorphins in your brain to help calm you down and induce a restful night's sleep.
Not only is marjoram essential oil great for muscles and joints, it also excels in creating peaceful sleep. Sweet marjoram oil has a calming and sedating effect on the nervous system that helps to lower blood pressure and ease nervous tension and hyperactivity, all of which can exacerbate insomnia. I've never used this one myself, but I'd love to hear your experience with it!
Because cedarwood oil is a natural sedative, it has a great soothing and calming effect on the mind, relieving tension and combating stress. Its scent encourages the release of serotonin, which is converted to melatonin in the brain. Melatonin induces restorative sleep and leaves you feeling calm and refreshed the next morning.
How to Use Essential Oils
Applying oil topically can be a wonderful way to reap its benefits. Most oils, however, should be blended with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, olive, or grape seed oil, before applying directly to the skin. Rub the oil on the back of your neck and collar bone, or the bottoms of your feet before bed.
Another method is to use an essential oil diffuser. There are many types and designs out there that are very easy to use. Just add a few drops of oil to a little water and set it near your bedside. You'll be off to the land of Nod in no time.
Essential Oil Bath
A couple of drops in a night time bath are particularly soothing. You get the aromatic effect, plus the benefit of a soak which can also help reduce brain activity. The gradual drop of body temperature after a hot bath can also influence how quickly you fall asleep. But be careful, too hot of a bath can make you dizzy, cause heat-stress, or put a strain on your heart if you have a cardiac condition.
A Little Goes A Long Way
Remember this, just a few drops can richly fragrance a room, so only use around four drops at a time. Too many could have the opposite effect and leave you over stimulated. Again, a little experimentation with scents and their amounts will do you right.