Sleep is as important for our health and wellbeing as eating, drinking and breathing. It enhances our body’s ability to recover and repair itself, allowing our brains to shut down and consolidate the enormous amount of information processed every day. We should spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping, so not getting enough sleep has the same impact on our bodies as eating poor-quality food. Discover how to use essential oils to get a better-quality sleep.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are a highly concentrated natural oil, traditionally extracted from a plant via distillation. This highly concentrated version has the characteristic fragrance and healing properties of the parent plant. Essential oils have been used as a core part of medicine since ancient times and have been adopted by modern science as a more natural, holistic approach to wellbeing and mental health. According to the Mental Health Foundation’s sleep report, up to one third of the population suffers from insomnia, which directly impacts our mental health, concentration, mood and our relationships. So let’s take control of the most comfortable third of our lives and boost our roost with oils designed to reduce insomnia, anxiety and clear our airways. Even snoring can be improved!
How Essential Oils can help with sleep
Essential oils are adaptogens, meaning their benefits are specific to the person using them. The olfactory nerve (a nerve that conveys sensory information related to smell) is linked to the emotional centre of the brain; this is why smell is so intrinsically linked to memories and has such a direct impact on your mood.
Let’s look at vetiver oil as an example. Vetiver is a tropical grass native to India, and vetiver oil is extracted from the roots to create one of the finest perfumes known – a perfume that’s an important ingredient in around a fifth of male fragrances. A 2016 study found that inhaling vetiver had stimulating effects for some, but significantly improved sleep quality and reduced insomnia for others. All-natural alternatives to sleep supplements can help reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure, all of which are directly linked to our ability to have a good night’s sleep. In fact, a 2010 study on vetiver found that the sweet smell of jasmine could be as good as Valium at calming the nerves, with none of the side-effects.
“The sweet smell of jasmine could be as good as Valium at calming the nerves, with none of the side-effects.”
Top 5 types of Essential Oils to aid sleep
Native to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, lavender is one of the most widely used and reputable natural sources for inducing a peaceful sleep. There is growing evidence to suggest lavender is an amazing mood stabiliser, sedative, analgesic and anticonvulsive
Method of use: Lavender is one of the few essential oils you can dab undiluted onto the pressure points of your skin for maximum impact via the olfactory nerve receptors and direct passage into the bloodstream. If you have sensitive skin, try sprinkling a few drops onto your pillow or a nearby tissue for gentle diffusion while you sleep.
Clary sage is a tried and tested sedative and its relaxant properties are perfect for late night aromatherapy. This study on menopausal women over 50 also confirmed clary sage’s anti-depressant effects.
Method of use: Apply to pulse points when combined with a carrier oils (sweet almond or coconut oil are good options) to help improve your hormonal balance, or combine with Roman Chamomile for the ultimate stress-relieving bath.
A member of the daisy family and one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind, chamomile is a renowned sedative and anxiety treatment. Commonly used for many ailments including insomnia, inflammation and muscle spasms, both the German and Roman varieties are therapeutic agents that promote human health. Widely regarded as a mild tranquiliser and sleep-inducer, chamomile is a fantastic oil used to treat insomnia and relieve anxiety.
Method of use: Add a drop or two into herbal teas to soothe body and mind or add a couple of drops into your diffuser before bed for a peaceful night’s rest.
Jasmine is such a wonderful smell that it’s used in 83% of all women’s scents and literally means ‘a gift from God.’ Steeped in history, it was pioneered by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks and has been used as a natural remedy for stress, anxiety and depression. Jasmine is even akin to Valium in its soothing properties.
Method of use: Mix a couple of drops with a carrier oil and add to your home diffuser before bedtime. Alternatively, mix with Epsom salts in a warm bath. A warm bath increases your body temperature and tells your body’s circadian rhythm that it’s time for bed. Adding jasmine to the mix makes for an ever-so-pleasant snooze.
Well known to help alleviate stress, depression and anxiety, geranium’s natural sedative action helps overcome insomnia and promotes deep sleep. It’s been proven to improve sleep quality and reduce nasal obstruction, making it ideal for snorers.
Method of use: Massaging 2 or 3 drops into your pulse points using a carrier oil will almost instantly induce a restful state. Or you can add a few drops to a diffuser for a longer-lasting effect.
How to use essential oils safely
- Always dilute essential oils before applying to skin (only lavender is the exception). You need to use a base carrier such as almond oil or coconut oil.
- Do not apply around the eyes, lips or nose.
- If you have sensitive skin or if skin irritation occurs, stop using the oil and seek medical advice.
- Keep out of reach of children
- If you are pregnant, check if the oil is suitable for use in any format.
- If you’re using a diffuser, ensure the diffusion area is ventilated.
- Store away from direct heat and flame as the oils are flammable.
- Use in very low concentrations (if at all) during pregnancy, or with children and seniors
Ashleigh & Burwood Essential Oils
Our Essential Oil Blends are 100% pure and natural and are the perfect accompaniment to your bedtime routine. We have a fantastic range of Essential Oil Blends we love that are designed to blend together the perfect mix of essential oils to improve your sleep and mental state.
Shop our Relax Me Essential Oil Blend – made with lavender and geranium for the ultimate in relaxing sleep
Shop our Bedtime Essential Blend – made with clary sage and lavender for a soporific doze