Essential oils are bonafide holistic rock stars. They are easy to use, readily available and come in a wide enough variety of scents to delight the senses no matter what your preference.
So, if you've been having some issues getting your beauty rest lately, this might be just what you need. From lovely lavender to calming chamomile, the perfect combination of essential oils is out there and will ensure sweet dreams almost as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Essential oils are a core component of aromatherapy, a centuries-old holistic practice. Derived from plant extracts, the scent molecules found in essential oils traverse nerve pathways to the brain.
These molecules specifically impact the amygdala, which is responsible for emotions and the body's stress responses. Different oils can trigger specific responses in this area of the brain, from well-being to stimulation to sleep.
The plant molecules found in certain oil types send a calming signal to the brain. This triggers it to send signals to the body to enter a state of rest. In fact, many of the molecules in essential oils for sleep are the same used in sleep medications.
This is one of the reasons many people prefer essential oils to sleep medicine. They offer a natural alternative for sleep without the side effects that sometimes accompany prescriptions.
Lavender is one of the safest and most commonly used essential oils. Pure lavender essential oil is cultivated from the flowers of the English lavender plant (Lavandula angustifolia).
This scent promotes relaxation and calm. It is one of the few essential oils that can be used neat — no dilution is necessary — though you'll still want to test it on a small area first to make sure you aren't personally sensitive.
Diffuse it, rub a small amount on your skin or pour a few drops into a warm bath right before bed. You can also make or buy a spray to spritz your pillow at night.
Distilled from one of two types, Chamaemelum nobile (Roman) orChamomilla recutita (German), this essential oil eases anxiety, promotes calm, and induces relaxation.
Chamomile essential oil requires a carrier oil if you plan to use it in a bath or on your skin. However, you can diffuse it on its own to help you fall, and, with any luck, stay, asleep.
Ylang ylang is one of the more potent essential oils. Derived from the flower buds of the Cananga tree (Cananga odorata), this essential oil regulates mood, reduces anxiety and promotes sleep.
Avoid using this one directly on your skin. Diffuse it or mix it with a carrier oil to add to your bath. It is poisonous for pets, so don't use it anywhere your pet might lick, and give the tub a rinse after the water drains.
Clary sage essential oil is derived from the leaves of the Salvia sclarea herb. It is also a potent essential oil for sleep and promotes relaxation and calm and reduces anxiety.
This oil is best diffused or combined with other essential oils in a room spray blend. It should always be combined with a carrier oil because of its strength.
If falling asleep in the middle of a flower field sounds appealing to you, this is your go-to blend.
Add equal amounts (five to six drops each) of lavender and chamomile essential to a diffuser. Then, lay back and let the oils do the rest as you drift off in a peaceful, floral-scented slumber.
If a lasting deep sleep is what you need, this blend will get the job done.
Blend eight drops of ylang ylang and two drops of clary sage in a diffuser for a long night of rest. This is an ideal option for those who have trouble staying, rather than falling, asleep.
Blending essential oils depends on how you plan to use them. Most oils cannot be used neat and require the addition carrier oil before any topical application. The best options for carrier oils include coconut, hemp seed, vitamin E, avocado and jojoba.
Diffusing is different and only requires a mix of the oils of your choice and distilled water. These days, there are many beautiful diffusers on the market that will blend perfectly with your bedroom or living room decor.
Diffusing essential oils is an ideal way to use essential oils. This method makes the scent — and the oil — last longer. Here are a few tips for successful diffusion: