Getting some quality sleep is something we all look forward to after a long day. Sadly, there are nights when the only solution that comes to mind is counting sheeps. Rest assured, you are not alone.
Sleeping disorders are very common nowadays and they are often associated with our lifestyle full of stress and over-stimulation. Of course, there are several solutions for this problem and one of them is the use of essential oils which stood the test of time as a natural remedy for sleeplessness.
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, or roots of a plant. Here is a list of essential oils that can really help you with your sleep, but I would recommend you try a few in order to find the one/ones that work best for you.
Is well known and loved for its fragrance. But lavender has many other benefits for our health and beauty. The essential oil is extracted from the fresh flowers and it’s one of the most used oil in aromatherapy and beauty industry. From ancient times lavender is known for its calming properties and as aid in sleep problems.
Modern research confirms what our grandparents already knew: lavender oil improves sleep quality, slows the activity of the nervous system and can even lift the spirit of people with sleep disorders.
Is another plant that was used as a medicine since ancient times. There are a few species of chamomile, but two of them are most common: German chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) which is the more effective species in treating insomnia.
Roman chamomile oil has sedative and relaxing properties and one study revealed its antianxiety effect. So, use it to relax and prepare for sleep, and mix it with lavender oil for better results.
Is next on our list. As you may have guessed already, the essential oil is distilled from the root of the valerian herb (Valeriana officinalis).
The extracted oil has sedative properties and is successfully used to replace sleeping pills by quite a number of people with insomnia. It also has a calming effect on the nervous system therefore offers relief in conditions connected with anxiety and psychological stress. However, may I warn you it doesn’t smell too pretty, so give it a try and if you can’t tolerate it experiment with some of the other essential oils featured in this post.
Marjoram or sweet marjoram
(Origanum majorana) has even better results on insomnia than lavender and chamomile according to some people. The essential oil is distilled from the flowers and it is used also in beauty industry as fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.
Marjoram essential oil acts as a sedative on the nervous system which helps lower blood pressure, reduces nervous tension and hyperactivity. It calms your mind and senses and gives you a peaceful sleep.
(Vetiveria zinazoides) essential oil is distilled from the root of the plant and it is widely used in the perfume industry and aromatherapy.
Vetiver oil has an earthy, musky smell which has a calming and balancing effect on the mind, reducing nervous irritation and restlessness and helping you get a restful sleep.
(Cananga adorata) is the common name for the oil distilled from the fresh picked flowers of the cananga tree. Everyone loves it for it’s sensual, sweet, intense floral fragrance which makes it the perfect oil for a romantic massage.
What you probably didn’t know about ylang ylang is it contains linalool, a compound with stress-reducing properties, as discovered by some recent studies. The scent of ylang ylang is thought to influence the limbic system, which is the part of the brain in charge with controlling emotions. So, say goodbye to the nights spent lying awake with your mind racing. Keep some ylang ylang essential oil nearby just in case.
(Santalum album) essential oil is the result of steam distillation of powdered wood soaked in water for 48 hours.
Sandalwood essential oil was used successfully from ancient times in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Another use for this essential oil is in religious and spiritual rituals, for example buddhists use it in meditation.
Recent studies revealed that sandalwood oil has a stimulating effect on the pineal gland which releases melatonin, an important hormone that regulates our sleeping patterns. And not only it helps you fall asleep easier, it also prevents you from waking up during the night which is extremely important in order to get the rest you need to go through the next day.
How to use them
Before you use an essential oil for the first time, it is important to do a skin patch test on a small area of skin. Even the oils that are considered very safe to use may cause an allergic reaction or a skin sensitization. The test is very simple: apply 1-2 drops of diluted oil to the inside of your elbow and wait for 24 hours. If nothing happens, then it is ok for you to use that oil on your skin.
Add 5 – 15 drops of essential oil in your warm bath before you go to bed. Add the oil as the water runs in the bathtub for a better distribution and make sure the water is not too hot – you know that’s bad for both skin and hair !
Who doesn’t like a relaxing massage before going to bed? And if you use an essential oil, you are certainly going to have a restful sleep. Blend a few drops of an essential oil of your choice from the list above, with a carrier oil and gently rub your feet, legs, wrists, temples. Or you can ask your partner to give you a massage. The secret is to keep it gentle, because you don’t want to activate your circulation and get the opposite result.
A carrier oil, as you might have guessed, is a vegetable oil used to dilute the essential oils before using them on your skin. Example of carrier oils: olive oil, sweet almond, grapeseed oil, etc.
If you don’t want to use the oils directly on your skin, there are a few options.
Mix 30-40 drops of essential oil to 1,5 ounces of distilled water in a clean spray bottle. Shake it well, then spray it on your bed linens. Or you can spray it around your bedroom, avoiding polished surfaces. The aroma will help you relax and give you the right mood for going to sleep.
Using aromatherapy diffusers is another popular method. You can choose between electric diffusers and candle aromatherapy diffusers, but for the latter alternative you should be careful not to leave the candle burning all night.
As you can see, there is a great variety of essential oils that can help your occasional sleeplessness. You should also take a look at your daily routine to see if you don’t lessen/sabotage your own sleep without even knowing it.
For example drinking too much caffeine based drinks or having a heavy meal just before going to bed can affect your sleep quality. Even working out before bedtime can overstimulate your body and make it very difficult to fall asleep, although some gentler forms of exercise can have exactly the opposite effect.
In fact there are so many small things that can interfere with your nightly sleep that we recommend you analyze your daily routine (especially the last few hours of your day) to find the possible causes of what might be ruining the quality of your sleep.
In the mean time, you can try some of these wonderful essential oils to get some quality rest throughout the night. Did any of them help managed to improve your sleep? Which ones? Let us know all about it in the comments section below or give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
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