• Sleep Better With These 6 Essential Oils

    Aromatherapy

    Photo courtesy ABMP

    You’re lying in bed unable to sleep. There are 7 hours before you need to get up. Now there are only 5 hours left and you’re still awake. What do you do?? Well, if you’re like most people, it depends on whether this is a frequent or infrequent occurrence. But regardless of the frequency of insomnia in your life, it’s frustrating whenever it happens, plus it makes you cranky and less productive the next day. Drinking loads of coffee or tea may get you through the following day, but it’s not as good as getting a full night’s sleep in the first place. After all, sleep is the time that the body repairs itself and fights off infection. So to that end, here are the 6 best essential oils for insomnia.

    • Roman Chamomile – This plant &/or oil has been used for centuries to ease tension and anxiety as well as to soothe anger. It’s also an age old remedy for insomnia. The easiest way to use this oil is to place a couple drops on your pillow case so you can smell it as you’re going to sleep, but you can also place some in a diffuser 30-60 minutes before bedtime, close the bedroom door, and let the scent fill the room. AVOID this oil if you have ragweed allergies as it’s in the same plant family.
    • Lavender – Lavender is a wonderfully sedative essential oil. It’s well known for it’s ability to calm anger and reduce depression (see a Dr. if you have anything other than mild, situational depression), both of which negatively affect sleep. Place a couple drops on your pillow case so you can smell it as you’re going to sleep. If you prefer, you can also place some in a diffuser 30-60 minutes before bedtime, close the bedroom door, and let the scent fill the room. Lavender is one of the few oils that is generally regarded as safe to apply to the skin undiluted, so you could also wear it on you pulse points when you go to bed. Caveat: if you have low blood pressure, do NOT apply lavender to your body as it has been known to have a lowering effect on blood pressure.
    • Valerian – This herb &/or oil has been used as a sleep aid since medieval times. Many people find it relaxing, calming, and balancing.  The easiest way to use this oil is to place a couple drops on your pillow case so you can smell it as you’re going to sleep, but you can also place some in a diffuser 30-60 minutes before bedtime, close the bedroom door, and let the scent fill the room.
    • Clary sage – If you have a racing mind, or have pre-menstrual or perimenopausal issues that are disrupting your sleep, you might want to try clary sage. It has been used historically to balance the hormones and to calm the mind. To use it for hormonal issues, add 10-20 drops of clary sage essential oil to 1 ounce of grapeseed, apricot, sesame, coconut, or jojoba oil; or to 1 ounce of unscented lotion and apply a small amount to your lower abdomen. This oil is also used to relieve muscle spasm, so you can apply your diluted oil to any cramping or spasming muscle that’s keeping you awake. For a racing mind, place a few drops of undiluted essential oil on your pillow case or place some in a diffuser in the bedroom 30-60 minutes before bed.  CAUTION: it’s been known to cause nausea when used in conjunction with alcohol. If you can’t avoid alcohol for whatever reason, please use another oil.
    • Sandalwood – This historically relaxing & sedating oil is often used to soothe anxiety and nervous tension. Many people find it useful in dealing with obsessive thoughts, which of course interfere with sleep. This oil is thick and resinous so it’s best to apply a few drops to a tissue and place the tissue inside your pillowcase, unless you don’t mind a small stain or lingering smell on your pillowcase after laundering. AVOID this oil if you are feeling even a little sad or depressed as it might make you feel worse.
    • Geranium – This oil is often used to soothe anxiety, depression (see a Dr. if you have anything other than mild, situational depression), and many consider it a tonic to the nervous system. The easiest way to use this oil is to place a couple drops on your pillow case so you can smell it as you’re going to sleep, but you can also place some in a diffuser 30-60 minutes before bedtime, close the bedroom door, and let the scent fill the room. Geranium can irritate sensitive skin, so do NOT apply without proper dilution (10-20 drops into 1 ounce of carrier oil or lotion).

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