Is there anything worse than not being able to sleep? Not only is it annoying and frustrating, lack of sleep is actually dangerous to your health. Many suffering from sleep-deprivation turn to prescription or over-the-counter pills to counter the problem first. While some may gain relief this way, sometimes a subtler and more natural approach works just as well. In this post, we’re going to look at one such natural example to help you sleep better, namely essential oils.
Before we dive into the details of using essential oils for sleep, let’s briefly discuss why sleep is so important in the first place.
Dangers from Sleep Deprivation
On top of making you very tired and cranky, sleep deprivation has some real serious health consequences. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you could suffer from:
- Decreased performance
- Memory problems
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Mental illness
- Higher risk of an automobile accident
If you suffer from another illness — especially a chronic illness like arthritis or fibromyalgia — sleep deprivation can worsen your symptoms. In total, sleep deprivation can lower your quality of life significantly.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia
Trouble falling and staying asleep affects as many as 35% of adults, according to SleepEducation.org. As many as 10% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia — the inability to fall asleep at least three times a week for three months or more. If you suffer from sleepless nights, you’re clearly not alone.
So what causes you to toss and turn? Well, it could be any number of things, but some of the most common reasons are:
Medical condition or illness
A wide gamut of conditions fall under this category including sinus issues, gastrointestinal disorders, asthma, chronic pain disorders, mental illness, and any other condition that makes you feel uncomfortable.
A huge contributor to sleepless nights is stress. Have you ever had a night where you just can’t “shut your brain off?” Ruminating about our lives whether it’s work, family, money, or other concerns exacerbate stress.
Non-traditional work shifts
Do you work a 2nd or 3rd shift at your job? Working non-traditional hours (being awake at night when most people are sleeping) can alter your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Your body uses light to regulate when it’s time to be awake vs. time to be asleep and we’ve evolved that way over millions of years.
Food or drugs
Certain foods and medication can cause sleep problems. For instance, drinking caffeine too close to bedtime or taking medication that contains stimulants can cause insomnia.
The human body requires certain conditions for optimal sleep. If your bedroom is too noisy, too light or too warm, sleep patterns may be disrupted.
How Can Essential Oils Help for Sleep?
Now that you understand what’s keeping you up at night, how can essential oils help? For starters, let’s first define essential oils…
Essential oils are highly concentrated versions of the natural aromatic oils produced by plants.
Just as we eat plants for nourishment, the human body can also benefit from the oils of plants in various ways. When it comes to helping with sleep specifically, the right combination of essentials oils can promote relaxation, reduce stress, promote healing, and act as a disinfectant (killing germ-causing illnesses).
Which Essential Oils Help to Promote Sleep?
The best essential oil to help you sleep depends on what keeps you up at night. Here are some of the best oils for the most common causes of sleep deprivation:
Relaxation and stress relief: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Chamomile, Frankincense, Bergamot, Marjoram, Rose.
Improved breathing: Lemon, Peppermint, Sandalwood.
Germ-killing: Sandalwood, Tea Tree, Lemon, Clove, Oregano.
Anti-inflammatory: Lavender, Sandalwood, Rose, Bergamot, Chamomile, Marjoram.
Stomach soothing: Lemon, Peppermint, Clove.
Pain reducing: Chamomile, Peppermint, Lavender, Frankincense.
How to Use Essential Oils for Better Sleep
Once you’ve chosen the oil or essential oil blend you’d like to use, your next step is to decide how best to use them for better sleep:
Essential oils can be applied directly to the skin if diluted properly. Take your essential oil blend and add a couple drops to a carrier oil such as almond, avocado, olive, coconut, or jojoba oil. Then use the carrier oil to rub onto the skin.
Besides being absorbed, the chest and neck are great areas to apply essential oils because they can be easily inhaled from there. Apply oils at bedtime to relax, open airways, and kill germs to promote a restful night of sleep.
One of the most popular ways to use essential oils for sleep is through diffusion. Diffusing turns the oils into vapor which can then be inhaled to help put you in a more restful state. Going this route requires an electronic diffuser that uses either heat or ultrasonic waves to evaporate water.
All you have to do is add two or three drops of your essential oil blend to water and then enjoy the vapors! Your bedroom will also smell heavenly — a nice added bonus which promotes relaxation and sleep.
Many essential oils can be taken orally as a sleep aid. But be careful to choose an oil safe for ingestion and always dilute properly in a carrier oil or water. Good choices for essential oils to ingest are lemon and peppermint. Simply mix one or two drops of lemon and peppermint oil into hot water or hot tea for a soothing drink to help prepare you for sleep.
Reviews of the Best Essential Oils for Sleep
To help you get on the path to a more restful night, we’ve pulled together a list of five essential oil blends targeted towards better sleep:
The Plant Guru’s blend offers a multifunctional blend of Bulgarian Lavender, Spanish Marjoram, Ylang Ylang Oil, Copaiba Oil, Roman Chamomile, Rue, and Sandalwood oils. The scent is earthy and grounding which some will love while others won’t. For the price, it’s hard to find another oil blend of such high quality. This one gets high marks as a diffuser oil but could cause irritation if applied to the skin in some people.
- High quality
- Pleasant fragrance (for most people)
- May irritate skin when applied directly
doTERRA Serenity Essential Oil Blend
doTerra is one of the leading brands of essential oils. The brand is well-known for its dedication to pureness and gathering plants from their natural habitats. The Serenity blend contains Lavender, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Hawaiian Sandalwood, and Vanilla Bean. You can’t beat the quality or the delicious smell of this blend but at more than thirty dollars per bottle, it’s the most expensive on this list. But if you have the budget, go ahead and treat yourself!
- Exceptional quality
- Soothing scent
- Cost prohibitive
Aura Essential Oil Tranquility
The Tranquility blend from Aura Essential includes Lavender, Blood Orange, Frankincense, Bergamot, Valerian, and German Chamomile oils. Out of our list, this is the only blend to offer Frankincense oil, which we love. Frankincense is a perfect germ killer so if your sleep problems are caused by sickness, consider this blend. One drawback is the smell which isn’t quite as pleasant as the others.
- Includes Frankincense, a desirable oil absent in others
- Scent not as pleasant as others
Edens Garden Good Night Essential Oil Blend
Eden’s Garden Good Night blend is full of Chamomile, Clary Sage, Copaiba, Lavender, Peru Balsam, Sandalwood, Sweet Marjoram and Ylang Ylang. Another example of great value for the quality of oil. Its scent is pleasant enough but we didn’t like it as much as some of the other choices. We’d like the lavender to be stronger but overall the value is good.
- Great value
- Relaxing aroma
- Concentration of lavender isn’t high enough
Now Foods Peaceful Sleep Oil Blend
Now Foods Peaceful Sleep blend contains Orange Oil, Tangerine Oil, Lavender Oil, Chamomile Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil, Sandalwood Blend. The blend is citrus-heavy and smells fresh and delightful. But in our experience, citrus smells tend to stimulate rather than relax the senses. While we like this blend, it may not be the best option for some people.
- Appealing scent
- Citrus oil may be too stimulating
Which Essential Oil Blend is the Best for Sleep?
Now that you’ve had a chance to understand how essential oils aid in sleep and read our recommendations, which one is best for you? Well, the only way to truly know is to try out different essential oils for yourself and see what works. But that can get expensive.
In our professional opinion, the best essential oil with the best value is the Plant Guru’s Sleep Tight blend. doTerra’s blend certainly has its advantages but with that high of a price point, it’s out of reach for many people.
Plant Guru’s blend, on the other hand, will do the same job for a fraction of the price. Plus, we love the smell and ingredients. The lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang will relax you and put you in the mood to sleep. The sandalwood and rue will kill germs and the copaiba oil will help ease inflammation. Combined together, you’ll get your solid eight hours in no time.
Now Over to You!
What are your thoughts about using essential oils for sleep? Leave your comments below!