A few months ago, I wrote an article on essential oils for anxiety and stress. Because I am prone to experiencing both, I often tend toward having sleep problems.
Once I’m asleep, I’m good. But it’s the getting to sleep part that I’ve found increasingly difficult in recent years.
It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to use natural sleep aids (like melantonin) in ever-increasing dosages just to fall asleep.
The problem is that 1), I am a night-owl by nature, but the world doesn’t operate on the noon to 4AM schedule that my body want’s to operate on.
And 2), my mind gets really active late at night. It’s like laying my head on my pillow is a cue for my brain to go into overdrive! I will lay there, with the house quiet, my wife and kid sound asleep, and I will remember everything I didn’t do on my “to-do” list, or looming deadlines, or the fact that the car is overdue for an oil change.
Something that has completely changed my life, however, are essential oils! I use them throughout the day to promote calm, alleviate stress and anxiety, and enhance focus and productivity. Certain aromas boost my mood.
But my very first experience with essential oils quickly demonstrated the power they have to promote deep, relaxing sleep.
Here are 12 essential oils that can help you reclaim your ZZZZZ’s:
Lavender is my go-to essential oil for a good night’s sleep. In fact, it was the first essential oil I ever tested for its calming properties.
What really blew me away about lavender essential oil is that it replaced my nightly sleep aid (melatonin).
I often struggle with getting to sleep at night. I’m a natural “night owl”, and my mind often races at night. Most nights, I have a hard time drifting off with out a sleep aid.
When I tested lavender, I was able to drift off 5 out of 7 nights without a sleep aid! I find that lavender is calming, reduces stress, and makes me feel at rest.
It helps my own kid get to sleep at night, and we’ve recommended it to other parents we know who have toddlers who want to stay up past bedtime. It’s worked well for them, too!
I diffuse it in the bedroom about 20 minutes before going to bed.
Cedarwood is the other “sleepy oil”.
Cedarwood has a rich, woody smell that just mellows me right out. It’s a fantastic alternative to the floral aroma of lavender, but pretty much has the same calming effects before bedtime.
Vetiver has a woodsy – earthy scent with a touch of smokiness. It is said to calm the mind and promote relaxation, making it a good choice for diffusing in the bedroom at night.
Some people might find the scent a little strong, so go easy with it in your diffuser, or mix it with other sleep oils like bergamot, frankincense, lavender, sandalwood, or marjoram.
4) Roman Chamomile
Chamomile is a well-known relaxant, and you can find it in many herbal teas for taming anxiety, while promoting relaxation and sleep.
The slightly floral/apple-like scent with an overall “green” tone promotes a sense of deep calm and relaxation when diffused at bedtime.
One of the pricier oils, sandalwood is my favorite aroma. It’s good for promoting sleep and relaxation.
However, it would get too expensive for nightly use.
While I find most citrus stimulating, bergamot is different. It’s calming and promotes peaceful relaxation.
Frankincense is one of the top essential oils useful for a variety of purposes, but it can also promote calm and relaxation, helping you shake off daily stresses so that you can sleep better.
8) Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang essential oil promotes relaxation and sleep. The warm floral scent carries your imagination away from the daily stresses that keep you up at night.
Ylang ylang is also an aphrodisiac, and may promote a fun and relaxing pre-bedtime ritual.
Valerian has been used as an herbal sleep aid and supplement for anxiety and stress. As an essential oil, it can be diffused into the air at bedtime to promote calm and better sleep.
Neroli essential oil helps you shake off the burdens in life, while promoting relaxation and calm. It’s a good oil to use when you are going through some upheaval in your life.
The aroma is vibrant and floral.
Marjoram’s fresh, sweet, herbal aroma may conjure up some of your favorite recipes, but it is also an effective relaxant and sleep aid when diffused.
12) Tea Tree
Those of you who are familiar with essential oils may find it surprising that I include tea tree in my list of calming, sleep-promoting oils. Some people love the scent (me!) while others are not a fan at all (Tracy).
When I inhale the cleansing aroma of tea tree, feels calming. I sometimes take a few sniffs right from the bottle and imagine that the aroma is cleansing away any stress, drama, and worries from the day. It washes away any lingering negativity before bedtime.
I don’t often diffuse it because a little goes a long way, and my wife is not a fan of the scent when diffused. =(
How To Use These Essential Oils To Promote Sleep
There are two ways that you can use essential oils to promote calm and relaxation at bedtime.
1) Diffuse Them: This is my favorite method for using essential oils. I have an InnoGear bamboo aromatherapy diffuser that I absolutely love. Simply place a few drops of your favorite oil and set it to run for one hour.
2) Apply Topically: I have not yet experimented with using essential oils topically. When using them topically, you MUST dilute them in a carrier oil in a carrier oil like almond or jojoba oil. Follow the instructions on the bottles, or consult with an aromatherapist.
In most cases, essential oils should NEVER be applied directly to the skin, or taken internally.
Where To Buy
The brand I typically use is Plant Therapy, which test each batch for purity. They are one of the most budget-friendly essential oil brands with high-quality, and PURE oils.
I typically use either lavender or cedarwood (or a blend of the two). However, Plant Therapy now has essential oil formulations for sleep, which I can’t wait to try.