Sweet sleep – aromatherapy oils for sleep and relaxation
It’s been an exhausting day. You want nothing more than to collapse into bed and sleep for a decade. But you just need to check Facebook one last time before you close your eyes… And compose that email to your colleague in your head… And worry whether you snapped at the kids too much over dinner… And try to figure out how you would run the country better if you were prime minister. Before you know it, it’s 2am and you’re still tossing and turning.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, you’re certainly not alone. But a lack of sleep really does affect so many parts of our waking life, from our ability to concentrate, to our metabolism. If you don’t fancy trying a sleeping pill just yet, you might want to consider aromatherapy. While aromatherapy oils can’t cure insomnia, it can certainly help your mind and body to relax enough to get a good night’s sleep. Oils to try include…
Lavender gets added to lots of baby bath gels, which isn’t surprising, as it really is one of the best essential oils for helping you to sleep. It’s also anti-bacterial and very calming.
Ylang ylang’s beautiful floral smell has been used in perfumes for millennia, but it’s also a great stress reliever, helping you to relax and unwind.
Chamomile is well known for its calming properties; who hasn’t dabbed it onto chicken pox spots, or an irritating skin rash at some point? What’s less known is that the smell itself can help to calm and soothe the senses.
Spikenard has an earthy, woody kind of smell. It’s used to aid relaxation and is one of the best oils for promoting a good night’s sleep. Spikenard is ideal if you’re not keen on floral fragrances.
Another earthy fragrance, vetivert is known as the ‘oil of tranquility’ in India. It can help you to relax and is an effective stress reliever.
Rose otto has antidepressant qualities and can help to alleviate anxiety. So, if you can’t sleep because you’re feeling stressed or worried, you may well find that rose otto can help.
Of course, you don’t have to use individual oils on their own. Chamomile, lavender and ylang ylang is a great combination, as is vetivert, lavender and ylang ylang. Half the fun of aromatherapy is creating your own blends – a few drops of this, a couple of drops of that, until you find a fragrance that works for you, and that you love to inhale.
How to use aromatherapy oils for sleep and relaxation
- Many people find that a warm bath aids relaxation and makes it easier to drop off to sleep. If you’re one of them, try adding a few drops of your chosen oil to the bath. Or, even easier, just add a spoonful of our Fragrant Tranquility Bath Salts, which contain several pure essential oils, including lavender and ylang ylang.
- How about adding a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil and asking your other half for a massage?
- You can also try an electronic aroma diffuser, which works by releasing a light mist of water mixed with essential oil. These diffusers also add moisture to the air, which can help to improve sleep. Do look for one with a timer however, in case it works too well and you fall asleep before turning it off.
- Some oils can be dabbed directly onto the skin – to the pulse points or solar plexus. Do be careful not to overdo it, however, or you risk irritating your skin.
- One of the simplest ways to use essential oils is to just dab a few drops on a hanky and keep it beside your pillow.
- Try our Lavender Aromatic Roll-On, which can be used on pulse points before bed, or at any time of the day when you need help relaxing.
- While an oil burner or candle is a great way to help the scent to fill your room, there are obvious dangers with using them straight before sleeping. So, it’s best to light one in your living room in the evening, making sure to blow the candle out before you go to bed.
Still struggling to sleep? The tips below might help:
Ditch the technology
Studies have proven that technology can affect sleep, so try to turn your phone, tablet, laptop and so on off before you go to bed. Both the light and the mental stimulation can keep your awake.
Forgo the cocoa
Hot chocolate is a real treat, but it’s packed with sugar and caffeine, so may be stopping you from sleeping.
Write down your worries
If you wake up in the night plagued by worries about the next day, it can sometimes help to keep a notebook to hand. Write down anything you’re worried you might forget, whether it’s paying a bill or an email you need to send. Your brain may then find it easier to take a rest.
Time to switch off
If your mind is still racing, you could try some gentle relaxation exercises. A friend of mine swears by picturing herself entering a pool of water. With each step, she visualises the stresses of the days as golden light washing off her body. Other people find that gentle music helps them to drift off.
What are your top tips for relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep? Leave a comment below or tweet me @Akamuti and I’ll share the best tips!
Please note that some essential oils are not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you’re in any doubt, do contact us before buying as we’re always happy to offer advice.