The benefits of quality sleep are far reaching– productivity, weight loss, heart health, and happiness… just to name a few potential benefits. It’s no reason how much time and effort we spend finding ways to wind down, relax, and get better sleep. Essential oils are one low cost and powerful technique to help you sleep. In fact, studies have shown the positive impact that inhalation of essential oils can have on those with mild sleep disturbances. In this post, we’ll cover the 8 most powerful essential oils for improving sleep quality.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils that are extracted from plants through distillation using steam or water. The power of essential oils is due to the fact that they are so highly concentrated. In fact, it is estimated that one 5 mL bottle of lemon essential oil takes 25 lemons to make! Some essential oils, like lemons, may have familiar names and scents. Others, like Hinoki, Cistus, and Elemi, may be scents you’re unfamiliar with. Each essential oil has it’s own benefits ranging from energy, focus, sleep, disinfecting properties, and more.
How To Use Essential Oils for Sleep
There are many different ways you can add essential oils to your bedtime routine. Whichever you choose, it’s important to note that you should always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, like olive oil or almond oil. Remember, essential oils are extremely concentrated on their own. A few ways to use essential oils for sleep:
- Maybe the most common way to use essential oils is through aromatherapy using a diffuser. These diffusers disperse essential oils in the air so they can work through inhalation.
- Spray essential oils on your pillows. This one works well for sleep for obvious reasons! Mix your essential oil of choice with some water and use a spray bottle to give your pillows an upgrade.
- Add Essential oils to your bath. If you have an evening bath ritual, adding essential oils is a great way to get the benefits of aromatherapy without a diffuser.
- Apply the essential oil to part of your body– like your feet, arms, or chest. To do this, mix your essential oil with a natural moisturizer like coconut oil and massage into your skin. You’ll only need a few drops.
8 Best Essential Oils for Sleep
Scent: floral with a fresh & almost minty undertone.
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils and has some of the most well documented positive effects on sleep. In one study, inhalation of Lavender essential oil increased slow wave sleep. This type of sleep, which slows the heart rate and relaxes the muscles, was accompanied by reports of feeling more energetic the next morning, according to the study.
Scent: strong, earthy
The smell of Valerian is definitely not for everyone, but the powerful effects may make it worth it.
Valerian root is a popular ingredient is stress reducing tea blends. You can also enjoy the benefits through valerian essential oils. The benefits of Valerian root stem from it’s ability to increase GABA levels, which are linked to stress reduction and sleep quality. Increased GABA levels can lead to a noticeable feeling of calmness and tranquility. If you’re worried about the strong smell that some describe as “pungent”, you can always use only a drop or two and mix with more pleasant oils for a better smell and added benefits.
Jasmine Essential Oil
Scent: sweet, Feminine, Floral
Jasmine, a popular scent used in Womens’ perfumes, may also have sleep related benefits. One study showed that sleeping in a room with Jasmine aromatherapy led to more peaceful sleep and increased alertness the next day, even compared to those who slept in a room with lavender oil.
Scent: spicy, floral, Sweet
Did you know Ylang Ylang is one of the main scents that makes the famous Chanel No. 5 perfume? This oil, which comes from rainforest trees native to south Asia, can help calm your nervous system and prepare your body to sleep. It can naturally lower your blood pressure and heart rate, allowing you to wind down and sleep soundly.
Scent: earthy, green, peppery
Anxiety, especially at night, can make it extremely difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that aromatherapy using Geranium essential oil can significantly reduce anxiety markers. If dealing with anxiety has caused your sleep to suffer, Geranium essential oil may make a positive difference.
Scent: woodsy, sweet, citrus
Many people describe the effects of cedarwood as creating a feeling of comfort, safety, and tranquility– perhaps due to its woodsy scent. This, coupled with its potential sedative effects, make it a great essential oil to get in the right mood for sleep.
Scent: herbal, fresh, tea-like
If you enjoy the effects of chamomile tea, you may also enjoy using chamomile essential oils as part of your bedtime routine. Interestingly, chamomile may be especially helpful for you if you experience nightmares. In one study, chamomile reduced nightmare occurance in participants. One common practice for using chamomile is by applying it to the bottom of the feet, where it can be absorbed into your blood stream.
Scent: orange, honeyed, floral
Neroli is known for inducing a relaxed and almost hypnotic feeling that can spark creativity and vivid dreams. When combined with lavender and chamomile, studies show it improves sleep, reduces anxiety, and regulates blood pressure. Additionally, Neroli may have added benefits for women, like reducing post-menopausal symptoms and increasing sexual desire. Even further, neroli moisturizes the skin. This makes it a great option to mix with a moisturizes and apply to your skin.
Use of essential oils dates back to ancient medicine. Today, studies are beginning to unveil the vast positive effects of these oils on sleep, energy, focus, and more. Not only is their scientific benefits to using essential oils, but many find joy in the pleasantry of the scents themselves.
All in all, essential oils provide an effective, affordable, and easy way to get in the right mindset for sleep and wake up the next day feeling refreshed and alert.