Are you one of those lucky people who falls asleep the moment your head hits the pillow?
Or do you toss and turn, struggling to get comfortable, trying desperately to turn off the million thoughts racing through your head? Or wake up in the middle of the night – staring at the ceiling, wondering how you’ll make it through the next day on 4 hours of sleep?
You’re not alone. For too many of us, a good night’s sleep can seem as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Missing out on sleep is more than just annoying. Lack of quality sleep affects your physical, mental, and emotional health and can suppress your immune system.
Did you know that essential oils can be the secret weapon to getting more sleep – naturally? Unlike prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids, many essential oils contain properties that help your body drift off to dreamland without the groggy side effects.
So let’s take a quick look at 4 essential oils that can help you sleep tonight:
Many studies have confirmed lavender’s potential as a sleep aid.1 One study using oral lavender oil showed that it improved the quality and quantity of sleep, as well as general physical and mental health.2 Lavender oil aromatherapy also increased daytime wakefulness and caused more sustained sleep at night.3
Lavender oil aromatherapy has even been shown to relieve the insomnia symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal. “Benzos”, as they’re often called, are psychoactive drugs often prescribed for insomnia and anxiety.4 So having an alternative that can ease the symptoms of coming off these drugs is very promising.
If you’ve had trouble sleeping for a while, you’ve probably tried drinking a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile is known for its calming effects and its ability to help manage anxiety and stress.5
In a study of 80 postpartum women with sleep issues, chamomile improved their sleep quality and also reduced their symptoms of depression.6 Another study among elderly residents of a nursing home showed that chamomile significantly improved sleep quality with no negative side effects.7
Roman Chamomile is a great choice as a sleep aid. It has a sweet aroma, similar to an apple, and is often preferred by folks who don’t love floral scents.
Sweet Marjoram has a warm, nutty aroma so if you’re a sleep-deprived guy, you may opt for this over a more flowery scent. It is another great choice as a sleep aid as it contains several compounds that can calm emotions, relieve tension, and relax muscles.8,9
One study among night-shift nurses demonstrated that aromatherapy massage using sweet marjoram oil improved their sleep quality.10
Many people swear by sweet marjoram essential oil to help them sleep, even when lavender and chamomile haven’t been effective for them.
Jasmine has an appealing sweet floral scent. Studies have demonstrated Jasmine’s potent sedative effects, including decreased heart rate and increased sense of calm.11
Jasmine also has the ability to increase parasympathetic nervous system activity. This is SO important for sleep because the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for your body entering the “rest and digest” phase.12 So it’s easy to see how this oil could help you get into a deep sleep faster.
How To Use Essential Oils for Sleep
The simplest way to inhale essential oils is by placing a couple of drops into your palms, rubbing them together and inhaling. You can also place 2-3 drops onto the corner of your pillowcase. Using a diffuser is a great way to spread the benefits to multiple people. Add 2-3 drops of oil to your diffuser just before bed.
Before applying essential oils topically, you’ll want to dilute them with a carrier oil – at least at first. Good carrier oils include coconut oil, avacado oil, and jojoba oil. A good rule of thumb is to dilute 1 drop of essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Then rub 2-3 drops of the mixture onto your wrists, chest, behind your earlobes, or on the soles of your feet.
It’s always a good idea to do a patch test before using an essential oil to be sure there are no reactions. Dilute your essential oil, then apply it to a quarter-sized patch of skin. The inside of your arm is a good spot to do this. Then wait 24 hours before applying to a larger area.
Some essential oils can even be taken orally. Young Living's Vitality Line is the only non-prescriptive essential oil brand that is FDA-approved for dietary use. Simply add a few drops of Lavender oil to a glass of water and drink after your evening meal. Or add 2 drops of oil to a capsule and take an hour before bedtime. These dropper tops are better than most! Be sure you choose the right size - either for a 5ml bottle or 15ml bottle.
A lack of quality sleep can make you feel like the walking dead. Hopefully, these tips will put the zombie to bed, and resurrect a more alert and refreshed version of you.