Catching some zzz’s at night is crucial to good health and wellness. Unfortunately, hectic lifestyles, long to do lists and limited time often make getting good sleep difficult.
WebMD identifies nine reasons getting enough sleep is important. These benefits include everything from improved health, to better weight control, improved mood, increased memory, clearer thinking, and stronger immunity.
So what do you do if you are desperate for a good night sleep but can’t get the rest you need? The risk factors to prescription and over the counter sleep aids such as odd behavior while asleep, allergic reactions, dizziness, heartburn, and stomach pain make these a poor choice for some.
If these risk factors are stopping your from trying them but you still need help getting restful sleep, essential oils may be an option to consider. These natural oils often have few, if any side effects, and can help you get the restful sleep you need. (1)
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In short, essential oils can help you get a better sleep that will leave you more relaxed and refreshed so you can face your day with more energy and clarity.
The best essential oils for your better sleep may vary some based on other issues you might have.
Best Essential Oils for Better Sleep
To relax better and fall asleep faster check out these oils:
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are natural, aromatic oils made from plant products, such as herbs and fruits. Typically, these oils are distilled from the plant. Essential oils smell like the plant they come from, in most cases, however; some oils have a more intense smell than their source.
Homeopaths and other natural lifestyle enthusiasts as well as people searching for alternate treatments for common problems many of face have all used essential oils for a variety of uses.
These uses include:
How Can Essential Oils Help You Sleep Better?
Chances are, you don’t give much thought to your sense of smell unless you smell something pleasant or gross. In those cases, suddenly you realize just how powerful the sense of smell can be in increasing or decreasing your appetite.
But beyond these common effects, the sense of smell can have a far more important role in affecting mood, memories, behavior, and emotions. This is accomplished, in short, by triggering neurons that send messages directly to your brain. (2)
In that regard, smell is biologically linked to our emotions. Therefore, it makes sense that certain smells can boost good feelings, helping you manage stress and anxiety better.
And reducing stress - one of the leading cause of sleeping problems - can help you get a much better night sleep. Essential oils’ rich smells and other benefits have long been known and studied for their effects on sleep. (3)
Essential oils often contain linalool and other compounds that, when inhaled, have been shown to have hypnotic (sleep inducing) and sedative effects resulting in increased sleep time and sleep quality.
For example, studies show that lavender oil causes significant decreases in blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature. What this means is a decrease of autonomic nervous system arousal, which is associated with relaxation (4, 5, 6).
Typically, essential oils are used as aromatherapy when it comes to helping you improve your sleep. However, there are other uses including massage oils and baths that take advantage of smell and other natural compounds within the oils.
What are the Best Essential Oils for Better Sleep?
With so many essential oils to choose from, it may seem hard to choose which oils will best help you improve your sleep. While many oils may have anxiety fighting and sleep promoting properties, there are some that are better than others.
The best essential oils for getting a better night’s sleep include the following:
Each oil has different benefits, often that go far beyond simply improving sleep, and ways it can be used. Let’s take a look at each oil.
Lavender Oil is well-known for its soothing aroma and is generally associated with serenity. You may be surprised to know, lavender studies have shown that lavender has excellent calming effects.
In fact, it can help to fight against the general feelings of anxiety and stress. Studies of lavender oil also indicate that the same general compounds that help anxiety, also help with sleep. (7)
Benefits of Lavender Oil for Sleep
With its reputation for relaxation, calming, and general sedation proven, let’s take a look at how lavender works. It helps you fall asleep by:
- Promotes Relaxation - Lavender helps you unwind at the end of a long day. The act of relaxing helps your body fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
- Reducing Cortisol - Lavender reduces the body’s production of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. A team of doctors proved this reduction of serum cortisol with the use of lavender aromatherapy in the International Journal of Cardiology. (8)
- Eases Pain - Lavender oil can help reduce chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and migraines, as well as some common body aches and pains. Reducing pain also contributes to sleeping better.
How to use Lavender Oil for Sleep
You can use lavender oil in a number of different ways to help you relax and fall asleep. The most popular ways to use lavender oil include:
- Bathing - For many, the simple act of bathing in a hot tub - or better, a jetted tub - helps relax away sore muscles and helps you forget the day. Adding a few drops of lavender oil to a bath helps you breathe in vapors and take fuller advantage of this relaxing activity. Preferably do this before bedtime and after the chores of the day are done.
- Inhaling - Adding two to three drops to a diffuser and putting that in your bedroom can help you fall asleep as the scents help relax you.
- Topically - Try mixing a few drops of lavender oil with an unscented carrier oil, for example olive oil. You can the create a massage oil or lotion out of the mixture. The combined scent and natural pain relieving effects will help ease your stress and muscles, which will help you fall asleep.
Good lavender oil products to try include:
- French Lavender 100% Pure
- Lavender 100% Pure, Undiluted Essential Oil
- Art Naturals® Lavender Essential Oil
Bergamot oil comes from a citrus fruit in southeast Asia, and has been used in local Italian medicines. The sweet and slightly spicy scent promotes relaxation.
In fact, according to 5 out of 6 clinical studies, bergamot oil has been found to reduce heart rate, anxiety, and blood pressure.
By reducing these symptoms, you can have a much better, more relaxed night’s sleep. (8)
Benefits of Bergamot Oil for Sleep
Bergamot oil can help you sleep better by:
- Reduce Heart Rate - When you fall asleep, your heart rate naturally slows. If you have a racing heart, it is difficult to fall asleep.
- Aiding in Relaxation - The pleasing scent of bergamot oil is soothing and helps eliminate stress. The less stressed you are, the easier it is to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Lowers Blood Pressure - The effect bergamot oil has on blood pressure helps you if you have high blood pressure to better your condition. Overall reduced blood pressure can help you fall asleep faster.
- Topical Massage - Add bergamot into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and use in a massage lotion or body lotion for a calming massage before bed. Be cautious though, one of the few side effects is that it can make your skin more sensitive to light.
- Inhaling - Breathe in this soothing oil by placing a couple drops on a cotton swab or your hands and inhaling deeply. You can also add a few drops to a diffuser. Use the diffuser over night.
- Soaking - Add a couple drops of bergamot oil into a bath for the ultimate in relaxation prior to bed. This combined with a massage can greatly help you in your effort to fall asleep.
How to Use Bergamot Oil for Sleep
To use bergamot oil try:
Bergamot oil products to try include:
Marjoram might make you think of cooking turkey or chicken, you probably don’t associate it much with sleep. However, marjoram has been shown to help you with falling asleep.
In a recent study, marjoram oil was shown to have excellent calming effects that can help with sleep when used as part of aromatherapy.
Marjoram was shown to further reduce anxiety and naturally boost energy levels, in part, because it can help you have a more restful night sleep. (9)
Benefits of Marjoram Oil for Sleep
Marjoram oil works to give you sleep inducing benefits by:
- Relaxing - In times of intense stress, marjoram oil can help reduce the stress of the day and help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
- Boost Energy - In helping you sleep better, you will find a general boost to your overall energy. The more energy you have throughout the day, the better you will be able to sleep at night.
How to Use Marjoram Oil for Sleep
To use marjoram oil try:
- Bathing - Add a few drops, 5-6, of marjoram oil to a bath and enjoy a soak. In the hot water For extra stress relieving benefits consider adding some additional oils mentioned above.
- Inhaling - Add some marjoram oil to a diffuser or mix a few drops of marjoram oil with water to create a sleep inducing aroma that you will be thankful for in the morning. Mix the scent with a few of the other oils on this list for additional benefits.
- Topically - Rub a drop or two on your hands or near your nose to help with inhaling the relaxing scent.
Marjoram oil products to try include:
With a name like Ylang Ylang, it has to be good, right? If you are not familiar with this oil, you are not alone. However, this floral smelling should become a part of your sleep time vocabulary, that is, if you can pronounce it.
Studies have shown that this ylang ylang oil can help you reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. Also, the components in the oil act as natural sedatives. These combined effects can help you get a better night sleep that is more restful and helps you feel refreshed in the morning. (10)
Benefits of Ylang Ylang Oil for Sleep
Ylang ylang oil can help you sleep better by:
- Regulating Blood Pressure - The scent of ylang ylang oil can help you, over time, lower your blood pressure. Lower blood pressure, combined with reduced stress, can help you sleep better.
- Decrease Heart Rate - When you use ylang ylang oil through aromatherapy, studies showed that it can help you reduce your heart rate. Decreasing your resting heart rate can help you sleep better and fall asleep faster.
How to Use Ylang Ylang Oil for Sleep
To use sweet orange oil try:
- Inhaling - Mix a few drops of this sweet smelling oil with water or through a diffuser can help you fall asleep. Left overnight, it can help you stay asleep if you become restless or need to get up for any reason.
- Topically - Add a few drops of sweet orange oil to a carrier oil and use it as a massage oil or apply a drop of oil to your pulse points to start getting the benefits of ylang ylang oil for sleep.
Ylang ylang oil products to try are:
Like marjoram oil described earlier, lemongrass oil is used in aromatherapy as well as cooking.
Lemongrass has been shown to have muscle relaxing properties, antifungal properties, and antibacterial properties, to name a few. More importantly for sleep, it is stimulating, relaxing, and soothing.
The University of Maryland Medical Center released information about citrus oils and their effects on sleep for people. They found that citrus oils used in aromatherapy helps participants to sleep better, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation. All these help to improve sleep and give you more restful nights. (11)
Benefits of Lemongrass Oil for Sleep
Lemongrass oil can help you sleep better by:
- Soothes and Relaxes - Lemongrass acts as a mild sedative for people, which helps to promote sleep.
- Relaxes the Body - Lemongrass oil may help remove tension from your body and reduce pain throughout it.
How to Use Lemongrass Oil for Sleep
To use lemongrass oil you can try:
- Inhaling - Adding the citrusy smelling lemongrass oil to a diffuser gives you the benefits for a better night sleep.
- Bathing - Add a drop or two of lemongrass oil to a hot bath. This will help soothe the aches and pains in your body and help you relax prior to bed.
- Topically - You can use lemongrass oil mixed with carrier oils as a lotion or rub. Combine the oil with a massage or place around your pulse points to reap the benefits of this refreshing oil.
Lemongrass oil products to try include:
- Beauty Aura Lemongrass Essential Oil
- Lemongrass Essential Oil by AromaOils
- Now Foods Essential Oils
Essential Oils: Tips and Tricks for Fighting Sleep
Use these tips and tricks to best reduce anxiety.
- Use oils in warm baths or use them as a massage oil in the evening after getting ready for bed. Both baths and massages have soothing properties by themselves that essential oils can boost.
- Try mixing the oils together to create new fragrances that can help you relax and and fall asleep faster.
- Add the aroma to your bedroom as a room spray, diffuser, bowl of water mixed with an oil, or by dabbing a drop on your pillow to help you sleep more soundly.
- Look for oils that can help fight other issues with sleep. Have a lot of aches and pains? Some oils are better than others at fighting inflammation and pain. One oil not working well for you? Try another.
Conclusions: Can Essential Oils Help Me Sleep Better?
Essential oils may help you fall asleep and stay asleep naturally, leading to a better night’s sleep. However, they are not the way to help you fall asleep, and often they can enhance the benefits of things you might use most nights anyway.
If you find you have continued sleep problems, be sure to consult with a medical professional to make sure you are doing all you can to sleep better.