What are Essential Oils?
Before you start looking for the best essential oils, you will need to know what these oils are first. If you are not familiar with essential oils, these are compounds that were extracted from plants. The oils are able to capture the plant’s flavor as well as scent, which basically means the plant’s essence, through distillation (water or steam), or through cold pressing or other mechanical methods. Once the aromatic essence has been extracted, it is then be mixed with carrier oils, like olive oil, for essential oils ready to be used and applied on the skin <1>. If you want to get your hands on quality essential oils, make sure that they were processed properly through distillation or cold press. Essential oils have been used for centuries by the Egyptians, Romans, and even the Chinese as part of their medicine. Even today, aromatherapy is still being touted for its numerous health benefits to its users.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Are there any benefits to using essential oils as part of your daily routine? It appears that there are several health benefits that are associated with the use of the best essential oils on the market, and these are:
Reduced anxiety and stress
Anxiety and stress can prevent you from getting the best night’s sleep as evidenced by countless individuals who suffer from these two factors and aren’t able to sleep a wink. It appears that the use of oils for sleep can help reduce anxiety attacks and stress levels which can improve one’s sleep quality.
Improves sleep quality
Research shows that the use of best essential oils for sleep can improve one’s sleep at night. According to a study that was conducted in 2017, researchers compared the effects of acupressure massage and aromatherapy in terms of sleep. What they learned was that a blend of essential oils for sleep can improve your sleep better than those who received acupressure massage. As a matter of fact, the blended oils worked better than just using a single oil, such as lavender essential oil.
It is a common occurrence that when you are not sleeping well, your mood can take a downturn, and in the more severe cases, can lead to depression. There are several studies that showed that there was a correlation between the use of aromatherapy and improved mood in patients who are suffering from anxiety and bouts of depression <2>.
How Essential Oils Help You Sleep
The smell of food, a bunch of flowers, or even dessert can transport us to a time and place that we have associated with these things. Now apply this to the smell of essential oils and you’re probably wondering how essential oils that help you sleep work?
People tend to use essential oils when they can’t fall asleep easily; that’s because when compared to sleep medications, these oils don’t have some of the side effects of other sleep aids such as daytime sleepiness and rapid heart rate. As a matter of fact, a 2010 study showed that inhaling the scent of jasmine has been found to calm the nerves just like a sedative or sleeping pill does -- minus some of the side effects.
Since most essential oils are adaptogens, they will have different effects on each individual. For example, in the case of vetiver essential oil, some take it to relieve their insomnia, while others experience the feeling of wakefulness and being refreshed when they smell its scent.
Simply put, the best essential oils for sleep are typically divided into two: oils that prevent insomnia by reducing anxiety and calming the mind, and oils that are designed to treat sleep disorders like sleep apnea and snoring by removing an obstruction in the airways <3>. However, you need to be aware of synthetic fragrance oils as they lack the necessary benefits that are found in pure essential oils. This is why you should be careful when shopping for one.
Best Essential Oils for Sleep
Now that you have an idea on the benefits of oils for sleep, you’re probably wondering which essential oils to help sleep you should get. There are dozens of different essential oils that are being sold today for aromatherapy purposes, but you need to keep in mind that they are not all for sleeping. If you are planning on using essential oils for sleep, make sure that you dilute them first since they are quite strong to be applied directly to your skin.
The good news is that there are several ways in which you can enjoy essential oils that help you sleep such as using essential oil diffuser, mixed in a spray bottle and spritzed on your beddings, or add a few drops to your favorite nighttime lotion. So, which essential oils for sleep should you get? Here are a few options to consider.
Valerian may not be as strong a sleep inducer compared to chamomile or lavender oil, but it has been used to treat insomnia since the 17th century. Using this oil to deal with any sleep issues like insomnia may be good for you as it still works effectively as it did centuries ago. When using this oil, you will find that you will be able to fall asleep faster and that the quality of your sleep will be considerably better too.
When it comes to sleep and relaxation, neroli essential oil is often overlooked by many. This oil is extracted from the flower of the bitter orange tree, where its spicy scent made it into a useful ingredient in many perfumes. When combined with other calming and soothing oils, such as lavender and chamomile, neroli has been found to create a calming effect as well. It can even help with reducing one’s stress levels and blood pressure, which is especially true in women who are using this combination of essential oils for sleep.
If you are looking for essential oils that help you sleep, you’re probably reaching for lavender oil. Lavender, also known as Lavandula angustifolia, is one of the most effective oils to help promote relaxation and sleep. Sleep lavender oils can be applied directly on the skin since they are mild when diffused in the room to help you get peaceful sleep. You can apply a few drops on your wrist, or even in your bath before going to sleep <4>.
Bergamot is a type of citrus fruit where the peel or rind is cold-pressed to extract the oil. Although citrus scented oils tend to have a stimulating effect when inhaled, bergamot essential oil does the opposite. It can give you that brightening effect, true, but it can help you feel calm and relaxed as well. You can use this to bring balance to your mood or blend it with other sleep essential oils to help promote better sleep. A word of caution though, bergamot is quite photosensitive, so don’t apply it if you are going outside your home during the day.
Sandalwood may be a bit pricier compared to other essential oils for sleep, but it is well worth it, especially when you gain restful sleep from it. When using this oil, make sure that you are using just a small amount since it is quite strong. The woodsy scent is sure to help make your space feel cozy and conducive for some much-needed relaxation on your part <5>.
If falling asleep is hard for you, diffusing some cedarwood essential oil may help you get a good night’s sleep. Cedrol, which is a component found in cedarwood oil, may function as a sedative. Adding a few drops of the oil on your pillows can help increase your total sleep time while reducing waking up early in the morning.
Another example of essential oils to help sleep is frankincense essential oil. There are many benefits linked to frankincense essential oil aside from making you feel calmer and more relaxed at night. It can also be used to help reduce an overactive brain and other nighttime worries. Hey, if it’s good enough for the three wise men, right?
Essential oils to help sleep like roman chamomile have been found to be effective in making children feel calm. If you are feeling restless or anxious, diffusing some chamomile essential oils can help correct them. The light floral scent that is coming from this essential oil, not only helps create that peaceful atmosphere, but it can also promote good sleep <6>.
Tips on How to Sleep Better at Night
Using essential oils for sleep is all well and good, but you also need to consider other steps to help you stay asleep throughout the night. Here are a few tips that you can try out.
Have good sleep hygiene
Your sleep hygiene, or bedtime routine, should be about promoting sleeping well at night. Among the bedtime routines that you can incorporate are taking a warm bath before bedtime or even meditation. This can include diffusing essential oils to help sleep in your bedroom to help you feel more relaxed.
Transform your environment
If you want your time in your bedroom to be calm and relaxing, you will need to spend some time clearing up the clutter. A disorganized room can disrupt your sleep and can cause stress even especially when you see the amount of clutter that you have to deal with. Start with making your room dark, quiet, and cool. If your mattress is lumpy, you will need to get one that is firm and more comfortable since your sleep will improve significantly because of it.
Choose your food wisely
Does the food you eat before you sleep can affect the quality of your sleep? Yes, it can. Eating foods that can trigger inflammation, such as spicy foods, can increase your body temperature. This prevents you from feeling relaxed and ready to sleep. If you eat close to bedtime, choose a light meal instead. Salads are recommended because they are light and easy to digest.
Learn how to go back to sleep
There are times when we suddenly wake up in the middle of the night, then can’t go back to sleep afterward. This can be stressful for sure, for those who are seeing their clock tick and tock steadily. Unfortunately, this can prevent you from sleeping more which is why you need to learn how you’ll be able to go back to sleep. First of all, don’t stress yourself or keep your eyes closed tight in the hopes that this will make you drift off to sleep. Not only will this cause your brain to remain active, but it can be hard on your eyes too. If you find yourself awake at night, a better option would be to get out of bed and move to another room where you can read a book until you feel sleepy <7>.
Sleeping is an important part of our day to day routine, but when we find it impossible to do so, we need to start looking for ways to help us drift off to sleep. Fortunately, the use of essential oils for sleeping has been found to be quite effective in helping you feel calmer and more relaxed which can induce you to sleep well at night. And when you combine it with other relaxing routines, you won’t have a hard time sleeping at all. Good luck!
What Causes Headaches Resources:
<1> Healthline; What Are Essential Oils, and Do They Work?.
<2> The Sleep Doctor; 7 Essential Oils For Relaxation And Better Sleep, Dr. Michael Breus, June 12, 2018.
<3> Tuck; Essential Oils for Sleep, August 09, 2018.
<4> The Thirty; 6 Essential Oils That Will Make You Fall Asleep in 5 Minutes Flat, Sabrina Paparella, October 11, 2018.
<5> The Prairie Homestead; 8 Essential Oils for Sleep, Jill Winger.
<6> The Military Wife; 7 Best Essential Oils to Help Your Family Sleep All Night, Lauren Tamm.
<7> Develop Good Habits; 19 Best Essential Oils for Sleep (Aromatherapy Oils, Blends and DIY for the Rest you Deserve).
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