If you struggle to get to sleep, you’re not alone. A truly staggering 68% of Americans struggle to get to sleep at least once a week. And if you’re one of them, you know how agonizing it can be to lay in bed at night, unable to nod off. When you have plans or work waiting for you the next day, it becomes even more stressful.
You’re lying in bed, wide awake, trying to convince your brain to relax and let you drift off — but the stress of not being able to makes it even harder to relax. We certainly know this feeling!
There are a lot of recommendations out there for how to get your overactive mind to catch up — or slow down to meet — your body’s need for a good snooze. Whether it’s reducing your exposure to blue light, meditating, or cutting coffee out after a certain hour, there’s no shortage of advice on how to best catch those z’s. But one tactic you may not have tried is the usage of essential oils.
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways and provide a variety of benefits depending on the type of essential that you use. It makes them a very versatile, natural implement to add to your nighttime toolbox.
Why Would An Oil Help Me Sleep?
Essential oils primarily help you sleep through aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses natural extracts, namely essential oils, to promote emotional and physical well-being. It’s an ancient practice that exists in many cultures— so while it sometimes seems to be everywhere and might seem a bit trendy, you can (hopefully) rest assured that it’s a tried and true method, tested over thousands of years.
The exact effects of aromatherapy depend on the essential oil you use, but in general, the reason essential oils can have such a big impact on you is the same. Inhaling essential oils allows them to pass from your mouth or nose through the rest of your body. Once the particles of essential oil in your body get to the brain, they impact the limbic system. This, in turn, means they could possibly have a positive effect on everything from your emotions to your heart rate.
But this is good news for you! Because if you’re dreading your bedtime, essential oils can help you by promoting good sleep and everything that leads to it. There are a variety of different ways to get the benefits of aromatherapy, and selecting the right one for you is an important part of adding essential oils to your routine.
How To Use Essential Oils
There are a number of ways you can work essential oils into your evening routine to help you fall asleep faster and have a more restful night’s sleep once you do.
Use An Essential Oil Diffuser
Using an essential oil diffuser is one of the more common ways of reaping the benefits of essential oils. Essential oil diffusers come in many different colors and shapes, so it’s not some clunky piece of equipment that’s going to ruin your aesthetic — you can easily find a diffuser to suit your lifestyle and complement your decor if that’s a concern.
Essential oil diffusers are very simple devices and are extremely straightforward to use, even for the uninitiated. Your diffuser will have a water reservoir, which you top up to the fill line. You then add a few drops of your chosen essential oils to the water. The amount of essential oil you add depends on your personal preference and the size of your diffuser’s water tank, and the diffusing can begin.
Ultrasonic diffusers diffuse the water and oil mixture through super quiet vibrations, so they’re great to use while you’re trying to sleep because they won’t keep you awake. By using an essential oil diffuser, you get the benefits of the essential oils by aromatherapy, and as a bonus, your room will smell divine.
Apply Essential Oils To Your Linens
If a diffuser isn’t for you, you can also use essential oils to help you sleep by applying them to your pillow. You can put the desired combination of essential oils and water into a spray bottle, atomizer, or even a plant mister if that’s what you have on hand.
After you’ve filled your spray bottle, you can lightly mist your bed linens with the essential oil mixture. If you have sensitive skin and are worried about having a negative reaction to having direct contact between your skin and essential oils, just pray the underside of your pillow. This way, you get the benefits of soothing aromatherapy without any irritants contacting your skin.
If you want to be even more thorough, you could add a couple of drops of essential oil to your favorite laundry detergent, so every time you get into your covers, you get a whiff of your chosen essential oil.
Apply To Your Body Directly
Although undiluted essential oils can be highly irritating when applied directly to your skin, when diluted with water or a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil, they can be perfectly safe. You can also buy essential oils that have already been diluted and are safe to be applied directly to the skin. You can even purchase roll-ons or lotions that are infused with relaxing essential oils if you’d like to incorporate these sleep aids into your nightly routine in a different way.
A dab of your preferred oil mixture to pressure points, like behind your ears, on your temples (though be careful not to get it too close to your eyes!) or your wrists can work wonders as far as getting you in the right headspace for a full, restorative night of sleep.
Once you’ve decided on your method, you’ll need to decide which essential oils you’d like to use. You’re not limited to just one, of course! You can pick and choose your preferred oils to create a mixture perfectly attuned to your night owl needs.
Essential Oils That Promote Sleep
There are many essential oils that can help you sleep better, and they work in different ways. Finding the ideal essential oil for you will be as much about the benefits of each individual oil as it will be about your experience with that oil. Basically — there’s no accounting for taste (or sense of smell).
You might have to experiment a bit to find your ideal combination: one that is both effective and nice-smelling enough that you look forward to getting into bed each night. But we’re happy to give you a head start and make a few recommendations!
The following essential oils are thought to contain compounds that promote restful sleep and are thought to have a mild natural sedative effect on your body. They’re some of the best essential oils to foster a quick trip to dreamland.
- Lavender essential oil
- Vetiver essential oil
- Roman Chamomile essential oil
- Valerian essential oil
- Jasmine essential oil
There are many other essential oils that are thought to have a calming effect on the body. If it’s stress keeping you awake at night, these oils will give you a leg up in unclenching from a long, difficult day and relaxing into a night of rest.
- Frankincense essential oil
- Bergamot essential oil
- Geranium essential oil
- Ylang Ylang essential oil
- Marjoram essential oil
Other essential oils are used to promote mental and emotional wellbeing. If racing thoughts and worries about what’s to come or concerns about what’s already happened, these oils can help foster a feeling of emotional comfort, making it that much easier for you to drift off without resistance.
- Clary sage
Not getting enough sleep at night can hurt almost every part of your day. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your mood, as well as your physical health. It can make you irritable, forgetful, and unfocused, not to mention affecting your nervous system and even blood pressure. So not getting enough sleep can be a huge problem! And some of the solutions seem equally huge — and not in a good way.
But essential oils are completely natural and can promote the mental and physical wellness you need to get a good night’s sleep.
They’re also a very versatile thing to use. There’s a long list of essential oils to choose from, and each one features a bevy of its own health benefits, not to mention the multitude of ways you can choose from to incorporate essential oils into your nightly routine. Not only can essential oils help get you where you need to be to fall asleep naturally, but they do it in a perfect way for you.
Whatever your problems, preferences, or lifestyle, there’s almost definitely an essential oil — and a way to benefit from it — that can help put an end to your endless counting of sheep.