The 9 Best Essential Oils for Sleep
When your sleep patterns are interrupted, both your body and mind suffer the consequences. Not only can you feel fatigued and sluggish during the day, prolonged sleep problems also increase your risk of developing serious health issues, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Many people rely on potent sedatives to help with their restlessness, although they do come with some side effects. Prescriptions like Lunesta or Ambien have been known to cause headaches, daytime drowsiness, balance issues, and even sleepwalking. Benzodiazepines are also used to help people fall asleep at night. These anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, can be extremely addictive and, in many cases, cause problems with attention and memory.
Instead of relying on prescription drugs to relax at night, you may benefit from more natural alternatives. Aromatherapy relies on your sense of smell to send signals to your brain that trigger different emotions and feelings. While some essential oils can be uplifting and energizing, others promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. In fact, a 2014 study proved that the inhalation of essential oils could be “a safe alternative to pharmaceutical interventions for mild to moderate sleep disturbances.”
If you suffer from insomnia or just need to relax, try one of these calming essential oils to catch up on your sleep:
Vanilla Essential Oil
Vanilla can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you’re baking a cake or lighting a candle, vanilla is typically an ingredient or scent found around your house. As an essential oil, vanilla is just as versatile, boasting both mental and physical health benefits. This oil is packed with antioxidants that help your body ward off illness and strengthen your immune system. It has even been known to lower blood pressure and alleviate pain caused by inflammation.
Vanilla essential oil also comes in handy after a tough day at work or you’re struggling with depression. Studies have shown that aromatherapy with vanilla essential oil calms anxiety, helps you relax, and reduces feelings of anger or tension. Due to its tranquilizing properties, it is often used as a sedative when you’re feeling restless.
If you can’t seem to fall asleep, add a few drops of vanilla essential oil into your diffuser for some much needed shuteye. You can also sprinkle some on your pillow at night to really feel the full effects.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Although it comes at a hefty price, sandalwood essential oil has been used for centuries in herbal medicines and religious ceremonies. These precious trees take over 60 years to mature, so harvesting has become scarce and the need for preservation is higher than ever. Therefore, you’re going to pay a pretty penny for a small bottle of sandalwood essential oil, but we think it’s worth it.
Sandalwood is best known for its ability to fight infection and calm inflammation. It is also used in vapor therapy when you’re suffering from a cold or allergies, as it helps clear up persistent coughing and protects the respiratory system. This can be especially beneficial if your allergy or cold symptoms are keeping you up at night.
Speaking of restless nights, sandalwood essential oil is also an effective relaxant when anxiety is affecting your sleep. In Hindu and Buddhist cultures, sandalwood is used for its calming effect and has been thought to encourage inner peace. This can help to silence negative thoughts that may be running through your head in the middle of the night.
Jasmine Essential Oil
The smell of sweet jasmine can make anyone melt into a state of relaxation. Studies have shown that jasmine essential oil is beneficial for the nervous system and helps maintain blood pressure, body temperature, alertness, and normal breathing patterns. These are all factors that can affect your stress levels.
Jasmine essential oil has been used for centuries to help people overcome anxiety and balance hormones. It can be applied topically or through aromatherapy to improve your mood and boost your energy, when needed. Although jasmine can help you stay alert at times, it also acts as a natural sedative to help you relax.
Jasmine can be mixed with other oils to create a blend that works for your specific needs. For a good night’s sleep, you can combine lavender oil with jasmine oil and diffuse the mixture in your bedroom. In the morning, you may feel an energy boost from a combination of jasmine and wild orange essential oil.
Rose Essential Oil
Rose is frequently referred to as the “queen of essential oils”. The scent alone can create a romantic atmosphere that promotes feelings of comfort and relaxation. Rose essential oil effectively suppresses negative emotions and anxiety, both of which can keep you up at night. In fact, a 2004 study has proven that rose oil can produce similar anxiolytic-like effects as prescription antidepressants.
Not only does rose essential oil calm your nerves, it also decreases your breathing and heart rate so you can further relax at night. Additionally, rose oil helps prevent muscular spasms, balances hormones, and relieves headaches.
Lavender Essential Oil
You can find lavender oil on just about any list of essential oil favorites. Not only is it a great antiseptic for cuts and scrapes, it also alleviates nausea, hay fever symptoms, and anxiety. In our opinion, everyone should have a couple of lavender oil bottles on hand; one at home and one for your purse or briefcase.
Diffusing lavender essential oil before bed can help you calm down and settle in for a good night’s sleep. When you inhale this scent, your amygdala– the region of your brain that is responsible for emotional responses– is told to relax. You can also relieve tension in your body by applying lavender oil on areas where your muscles feel tight.
Like vanilla, sprinkling a few drops of lavender on your pillow before bed can help improve your sleep patterns. You can avoid stains on your bedding by diluting lavender oil with water in a handy spray bottle.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang ylang may be a difficult word to pronounce, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Ylang ylang is one of the most effective oils when it comes to regulating your heartbeat and lowering blood pressure. It is also great for your skin, as it helps prevent wrinkles and even fights off the formation of melanoma cells.
Mentally, ylang ylang enhances your mood and can serve as a remedy for depression. Studies have shown that using this essential oil boosts your self-esteem and eases feelings of anger and jealousy. Ylang ylang is often recommended for people with insomnia or chronic fatigue, as it helps your body and mind to relax.
If you’re already dealing with the after effects of a bad night’s sleep, ylang ylang can be mixed with other essential oils and used as a refreshing energizer. Along with a few drops of citrus oil, ylang ylang has the ability to wake you up and even boost your confidence.
Neroli Essential Oil
Produced from the bitter orange tree, neroli oil has a faint citrus smell, but it’s often described as strongly floral. Used in ancient Egypt, neroli was a physical, spiritual, and mental healing remedy for priests and priestesses. Even then, it was understood that neroli oil offered powerful health benefits for a variety of ailments.
Neroli essential oil can help regulate your heart rate when you’re suffering from anxiety or stress. You can find relief from insomnia through aromatherapy, as neroli has a tranquilizing effect on the body and mind. Many people have discovered that neroli essential oil can even help ward off feelings of depression.
A 2013 study has proven that neroli oil, combined with other essential oils, can improve your sleep quality and calm your nerves when you’re feeling anxious. You can experience these benefits by diffusing neroli essential oil before crawling into bed for a deep sleep. It is also helpful to mix neroli oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, and massage the solution on your body to boost circulation.
Valerian Essential Oil
When you go through menopause, your estrogen and progesterone production decreases dramatically. Men can also experience hormone imbalances as they age, leading to a variety of health issues. One of the most common complaints that patients have when dealing with hormonal problems is sleep deprivation or restlessness. While many people turn to prescription drugs for treatment, you can treat insomnia in a much more natural, safer way with valerian essential oil.
Valerian oil helps regulate your hormones and restores balance to your body’s cycles so that you can finally sleep through the night. Not only does it help you fall asleep quickly, valerian also improves the overall quality of your sleep. That way, you wake up well rested and ready to take on the day.
If it’s negative emotions or stress that are causing you to toss and turn at night, valerian essential oil can also calm anxiety and promote happy thoughts. To maximize your relaxation, sprinkle a few drops of valerian essential oil into your diffuser, turn out the lights, and experience an entirely new level of peace and stillness.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile is best known for soothing skin rashes or itchy chicken pox. However, chamomile essential oil boasts a variety of other physical and mental health benefits. If a sinus infection or respiratory problems are affecting your ability to sleep, chamomile can relieve coughing, break up mucus buildup, and ease pounding headaches.
To further improve your sleep patterns, chamomile essential oil acts as a mild sedative and promotes relaxation. Research has shown that inhaling the scent of chamomile reduces anxiety and promotes drowsiness. Whether you suffer from insomnia, depression, or both, diffusing chamomile essential oil can boost your mood and help you sleep through the night.
Daily Habits to Help You Sleep Naturally
To help increase the effectiveness of essential oils, there are everyday habits that can also improve your sleep. Consider trying these natural remedies along with your aromatherapy to encourage a more relaxing bedtime routine:
- Light therapy: If it’s difficult for you to fall asleep at night, you may more light exposure in the morning. Conversely, if you wake up before your alarm goes off every morning, you should try light therapy for a couple of hours in the late afternoon.
- Diet: It’s obvious that caffeine and sugar can disrupt your sleep, but some foods can actually encourage relaxation. Snacks high in vitamin B6 and carbohydrates are recommended if you’re feeling hungry before bed.
- Meditation: Today’s society is so attached to instant satisfaction and technology that it’s rare for people to just stop and sit in silence for a few minutes. Meditation can regulate your breathing and lower your stress hormones so that you can sleep soundly at night.
- Melatonin: Taking melatonin supplements is much safer than using prescription medications. Although they come in pill form, melatonin is actually a hormone that your body naturally produces, so the side effects are minimal. It is most effective if jet lag or a major schedule change is the cause of your sleep problems.
Before using essential oils or any of the sleep-inducing habits above, consult a medical professional to find out if its safe for your health. If you can’t find a natural sleep remedy that works, you may be suffering from a more severe sleep disorder. In this case, your doctor might suggest a CPAP machine, or possibly even surgery, if he or she diagnoses you with sleep apnea.
Have you tried any of the natural sleep remedies listed above? If not, comment below and let us know what helps you sleep at night!