The Benefits of Essential Oils for a Peaceful Sleep
5 Essential Oils to Help You Sleep
Shakespeare called sleep the ‘balm of hurt minds’ and ‘the chief nourisher in life’s feast’. He knew about the importance of sleep for ensuring optimum health.
This has been increasingly studied in recent years. Science now shows that sleep deprivation leads to all sorts of nasty side-effects, including high blood pressure and a greater risk of heart disease.
Do you toss and turn all night, or experience difficulty going to sleep? Why not try essential oils? These have been used since ancient times to assist people to have a restful night.
Make essential oils part of your bedtime routine by taking these five steps to help you sleep peacefully.
1. Calm Yourself with Chamomile Oil
Chamomile essential oil, derived from the bright yellow flower, has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years. A soothing cup of chamomile tea was recommended as a remedy for insomnia for centuries. However, the soothing properties of chamomile oil have not been studied until recently.
Chamomile contains the flavonoid apigenin which has sedative effects, and it also promotes benzoidizepine-like hypnotic activity.
A 2006 study shows that it releases hormones which help reduce stress and induce drowsiness.¹
Here are some ways to try chamomile essential oil:
- Add five to ten drops to a warm bath
- Fill the bedroom with chamomile scent in a diffuser
- Mix the oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or sunflower oil, and massage into the soles of your feet before going to bed.
2. Defeat Insomnia with Lavender’s Heavenly Scent
The beautiful scent of lavender has long been known to have relaxing and soothing qualities.
The Romans discovered its medicinal uses thousands of years ago, and used it to scent theirs beds, baths and hair. The name of the stunning purple flower derives from ‘lavare,’ the Latin word meaning ‘to wash’.
Recent studies show that lavender essential oil helps to defeat insomnia. A University of Southampton study of the sleeping patterns of 20 adults indicated that lavender could enhance sleep.
Ten of the participants slept in a lavender-scented room, while ten stayed in a room without scent. 20% of the people in the scented room experienced improved sleep.
Another study found that lavender essential oil increased slow-wave sleep, important for slowing the heartbeat and relaxing muscles. The participants in this study also felt more energetic the next day.²
Lavender also contains analgesic effects, so it helps ease aches and pains which often prevent a peaceful night’s sleep.
Here are some ways to try the soothing effects of lavender oil:
- Place attractive purple lavender flowers in a vase so that the scent wafts through your bedroom.
- Fill a bowl with buds, and place it next to your bed.
- Place a few drops in your bath, or on your pillow, so that you breathe in the heavenly scent.
3. Soothe Frazzled Nerves with Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary Sage essential oil, derived from pretty purple flowers, is closely related to the sage plant. It contains the chemical linalyl acetate, which has relaxing and soothing qualities. Many aromatherapists recommend the oil for a restful night’s sleep, because of its powerful sedative effect.
Clary Sage oil helps calm frazzled nerves, and may even help to lower blood pressure. It has been shown to help people relax during dental procedures, and a study shows that it also has anti-depressant effects.³
Some ways to try Clary Sage oil are:
- Mix a few drops of the oil with sweet-smelling lavender oil and enjoy a comforting bath
- Place a few drops of the oil on the soles of your feet before bed.
4. Relax Your Body and Mind with Cedarwood’s Woodsy Aroma
Cedarwood, derived from the bark of the cedarwood tree, was first used by the ancient Egyptians to repel insects, help cure coughs and colds, and even in mummification procedures.
The Egyptians and other historic cultures also used cedarwood in religious ceremonies and spiritual practices, because it was known to relax the body and mind.
Although there are many different species, all of them contain cedrol, a chemical with mild sedative effect. The oil promotes the release of serotonin which converts to melatonin, a hormone which helps to regulate sleep.
Imagine that you are in a forest by:
- Enjoying the woodsy aroma of cedarwood in your shower or bath before bed
- Mixing 10 drops of cedarwood oil with 10 drops of eucalyptus oil onto your hands and rubbing them together. Then breathe deeply.
5. Let Jasmine Give You a Peaceful Night’s Sleep
The name ‘Jasmine,’ derived from the Persian ‘yasmin’, means ‘a gift from God’.
Jasmine’s healing qualities have been known since Egyptian times, and several studies show that the fragrance has a calming effect, and improves the quality of sleep.
Wheeling Jesuit University researchers found that participants experienced less tossing and turning when they slept in jasmine-scented rooms, and they had a more positive attitude when they woke up.⁴
Another study showed that jasmine calmed mice, causing them to sit quietly in a corner instead of scurrying about.⁵
There are several ways to introduce the scent of jasmine to your bedroom:
- Buy the plant. Jasmine is an easy-to-care for houseplant.
- Diffuse jasmine in your bedroom.
- Use as a massage oil.
Try one or two of these essential oils for a good night’s sleep with peaceful dreams.
It is best to avoid essential oils if you are pregnant, nursing or suffer from allergies.