Even if you’re not into essential oils, you’ve probably heard of them, and not only because three or four of your friends have started selling them. People make all sorts of claims about essential oils. They’re supposed to do everything from healing burns to fighting MRSA, balancing hormones, and more.
Researchers are still studying whether or not oils can help with all sorts of conditions, but they have concluded that some of the oils (jasmine, for example) can help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. If you struggle with insomnia or you’d just like to get better rest when you’re asleep, it may be worthwhile to try an oil.
How Essential Oils Help You Sleep
When it comes to sleep, essential oils work mainly through aromatherapy. We all know just how powerful scents can be. A certain smell can remind you of a particular person or a whole period in your life. Scents work this way because they stimulate the amygdala and the limbic system, both of which work to control memory and mood.
They do this by controlling two bodily systems: the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. The autonomic nervous system is the nervous system that exists outside of our conscious knowledge, at least most of the time. This system regulates respiration, heart rate, body temperature, digestion, and more. When it is excited, we feel anxious and may go into fight or flight mode. When it is calmed, we feel relaxed, happy, and at peace.
The endocrine system controls the hormones in the body, which in turn regulate everything from sexual function to mood, growth, and metabolism. In fact, there’s not much that the endocrine system doesn’t have a hand in regulating.
Together, these two systems can play a huge part in helping you sleep. If you can use the right aromatherapy tools, then, you can help yourself relax and feel good about who and how you are.
How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep
There are several ways to utilize essential oils for sleep. One of the most popular is to put them in a diffuser. You can purchase one of these online, most for less than $40. A diffuser is basically a small humidifier that also disseminates the oil. You put in the required amount of water, then add 5-10 drops of an oil of your choice. Turn on the diffuser and, within a few minutes, you should smell the oil throughout your room.
Diffusers come with all sorts of options. Some last longer than others, while others offer automatic shut-off after a certain amount of time. Many have a light that will change colors, or where you can pick one color to use as a nightlight. If you go this route, make sure that you choose a diffuser that is the right size for your room. Most of them will have a maximum square footage number in their product description.
If you don’t have a diffuser and you don’t want to get one, there are other ways to use essential oils for sleep. You can mix a few drops with water and put it in a small spray bottle. Spray your pillow and your sheets with enough time to let it dry before you go to bed. You should smell the oil wherever it was sprayed.
You can also use the oil on your body, though you’ll want to mix a few drops with a carrier oil first. Never put undiluted essential oils on your body unless you are an expert because some of them can burn your skin. Use something like jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil. Mix just a drop or two of essential oil and rub it on your skin. Popular places include the bottoms of the feet, the wrists, and the temples. You should then smell the oil as you are drifting off to sleep.
The Best Essential Oils for Sleep
There are many oils that can help you rest and relax, and here are some of the most popular and best-researched options.
Lavender essential oil not only makes your bedroom smell like a garden, but it also calms your autonomic nervous system. This means that it helps lower your respiration rate, heart rate, and body temperature. Since these usually happen when you’re falling asleep anyway, this can help aid the process. Lavender also helps alleviate anxiety and depression, both of which can interfere with sleep.
Officially known as Roman Chamomile, this oil is one of the most popular natural sleep aids. Most people, however, brew it in tea and drink it, rather than inhaling it directly as an essential oil. No matter how you take it, chamomile will help you get rid of stress so you can sleep better than you ever have before.
This unassuming oil has been used to help with sleep since the 17th century. It will not only help you fall asleep, but it can raise your sleep quality, too. This means that you will feel more rested and energized in the morning.
This little-known essential oil is a big hitter when it comes to sleep. Combine it with lavender and chamomile, and you just might have found the cocktail that will work for you. It has a very distinct smell, so, if you like it, mixing it might help you tolerate other oils that you wouldn’t otherwise choose to use. It may be especially effective for women…
When you’re choosing an essential oil to help you sleep, it’s not only important that it aids in rest and relaxation, but also that it is a scent you enjoy and can tolerate. Some people don’t like certain oils, and that’s fine. There is usually another oil with similar properties that will work just as well. Some oils may also help you sleep better than others will, and you may need to experiment with several before you find the one that will solve your insomnia problems for good.