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Use essential oils to help you sleep

Use essential oils to help you sleep

“But [Pooh] couldn’t sleep. The more he tried to sleep the more he couldn’t. He tried counting Sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps. And that was worse. Because every Heffalump that he counted was making straight for a pot of Pooh’s honey, and eating it all. For some minutes he lay there miserably, but when the five hundred and eighty-seventh Heffalump was licking its jaws, and saying to itself, “Very good honey this, I don’t know when I’ve tasted better,” Pooh could bear it no longer.” (From Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne)

Man snoozing at deskSound familiar? Yep. Insomnia is frustrating. You’re tired, you lay there and can’t sleep, you’re tense because you can’t sleep which makes the tension worse, and you dread night time because you know you are just going to lay there and not sleep again, thereby exacerbating the problem. And then you get frustrated because you can fall asleep at work or school within seconds when you don’t want to sleep and yet when you do want to sleep, you can’t.

There can be many reasons why people don’t sleep. It can be stress, worry, a snoring partner,  anxiety, ADD/ADHD issues, parenting small children, depression, hormonal changes, menopause, Fibromyalgia, arthritis, extreme medical issues, etc. Whatever the reason may be, here are a few ideas to help you settle your mind and body so you can hopefully get some rest.

(This article does not address sleep apnea issues. That is a separate medical issue that needs to be addressed by a medical doctor)

Lavender, essential oil bottle and droppersBest Oils and Herbs

  • Oils: Lavender, both Chamomiles, Neroli,  Sandalwood, Red Mandarin, Marjoram, Melissa, Patchouli,  Ylang Ylang, Petitgrain bigarade, Rose, Nutmeg, Clary Sage, Vetiver, Valerian Root
  • Herbs: Lavender, Chamomile, Hops, Lime Flower, Valerian, Orange Flower, Passion Flower,

Points of Interest

  • The easiest way to get started is to try one oil for a few days and then another for the next few days, etc. Put a couple of drops on your pillowcase at night (keep away from where your face will be) and breathe in the aroma deeply. Test out the different ones and find what works best for you. Don’t expect to solve this in one night, though. You are retraining your mind and body and it’s going to take a little while to fix this.
  • It is important to remember to vary the oils or blends you use if you are treating long term insomnia. Your body can get used to the blend and it might stop working as well for a time.
  • Woman receiving shoulder massageMassage and baths are some of the best ways to apply the oils. If you use either method, make sure you go to bed immediately after you are finished. Keep the bath warm, not hot. Warm helps calm the body while hot can stimulate it.
  • Yoga, meditation, and bio-feedback, are all good ways to help you overcome the stresses involved in our day-to-day lives so you can calm down enough to sleep. Find what works best for you.
  • If you find that you keep coming up with things you need to do the next day, keep a notepad by your bed and write them down. Make a list before bed, get it all down on paper, then you can stop fretting over it.
  • Take the oil or blend of oils you like and diffuse them in your bedroom at night.
  • Man with insomniaCounting sheep was something I never understood as a child. I thought it sounded pretty stupid and I never was able to do it because it took me forever to try to visualize the sheep and make them jump over the fence. However, as an adult I realized it isn’t the sheep that’s important. It’s giving yourself something else for your mind to focus on. One woman I know will silently name off all of the books, in alphabetical order, of a favorite author. (There are over 40 books in the list.) She does that when her mind is racing and won’t let her settle down. It focuses her mind and helps her body settle down and she usually falls asleep before finishing the list.  I like to do sudoku when I go to bed. Just 5-10 minutes is usually enough.
  • This should go without saying but be sure you avoid caffeine and alcohol within at least 3 hours before bed. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and try to set a schedule that is consistent.
  • Eat a good diet, especially dark leafy greens. Particularly in your last meal of the day.
  • There are extreme medical issues like heart problems, Diabetes, and Fibromyalgia that can be causing your insomnia. If you suspect you might have a medical reason, you need to get in to a doctor and get tested. The same friend of mine  up above did finally learn that her insomnia was caused by SVT. (Supraventricular Tachychardia) The electrical nodes in her heart would malfunction sometimes and her heart would race at 180+ beats per minute for any length of time. Once she had a heart oblation surgery that took care of the problem, nearly all of her sleep issues disappeared. So please, if you think the problem could possibly be a medical issue, go get it checked. Don’t ignore it.

Student asleep on deskRecipes

As always, test on a small portion of skin first before applying to a large area, to make sure your skin can handle it. If it burns the skin, add more carrier oil.

Sleep Pillow

  • 1 part Dried Chamomile
  • 1 part Dried Hops
  • 1 part Dried Lavender
  • 1 part Dried Roses
  • 1-2 drops Lavender oil

Mix the herbs together, add essential oil and mix well. Stuff into a small pillow or pouch. Sleep with it tucked into your pillowcase. (5)

Insomniac’s Friend: Herbal Pillow Drops

  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 5 drops Marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon Lavender

Mix oils together in a dark colored, glass bottle. Shake well for 2 minutes and set aside in a cool, dark place for 24 hours before using, to allow oils to synergize. Label bottle. Place 2-4 drops on your pillowcase, not where you will plant your face, however. When you lay down, breathe in the aroma as deep as you can. This will also help relieve tension headaches. (2)

Sleep Restfully Massage 1

  • 4 drops Petitgrain Bigarade
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 4 drops Lemongrass
  • 3 drops Bay Leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Carrier oil

Before going to bed, massage blend into upper chest, back of neck, shoulders, and along the back. Do not drive or do anything that requires full attention after applying formula. (4)

Sleepless woman staring at clockDream Weaver’s Relaxing Rub

  • 25 drops Lavender
  • 15 drops Bergamot
  • 15 drops Pink Grapefruit
  • 15 drops Orange
  • 1 cup Almond oil

Add all ingredients to a dark colored, glass bottle. Close lid and shake well for 2 minutes. Label and set aside in a cool, dark place for 24 hours before using, to allow oils to synergize. Gently massage a small amount into your chest, back, shoulders, behind ears, and temples. Use within 2 years. (2)

Sleep Easy Blend

  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 3 drops Lavender
  • 1 teaspoon Carrier oil

Massage into shoulders, neck, and upper back before going to bed. Can  add to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. You can also diffuse just the essential oils in the bedroom. (1)

Sleep Restfully Massage 2

  • 4 drops Orange
  • 3 drops Anise Seed
  • 3 drops Cedarwood
  • 3 drops Neroli
  • 2 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 1 tablespoon Carrier oil

Before going to bed, massage blend into upper chest, back of neck, shoulders, and along the back. Do not drive or do anything that requires full attention after applying formula. (4)

Woman sleeping peacefullyFor Insomnia, Shock, and Grief

  • 2 drops EACH of Rose, Petitgrain bigarade, Lavender, Benzoin, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Neroli, Rosewood, and Vetiver
  • 2 tablespoons Jojoba

Add all ingredients to a dark colored, glass bottle. Close lid and shake well for 2 minutes. Label and set aside for 24 hours to allow oils to synergize. To use, massage into face and hands daily. (6)

Sleeping Beauty Cream

  • 1 tablespoon Grated Beeswax
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 1/4 cup Light Sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Orange Flower water
  • Pinch Borax Acid
  • 5 drops Neroli

Mix together beeswax, vitamin E, and sesame oil. Heat gently until beeswax is melted. Combine orange flower water and borax and heat until barely warm. Add to oil mixture and stir well. Remove from heat. Add essential oil and stir for 1 minute. Pour into a clean container and allow to cool completely before closing lid. Label and store in a cool, dry place. Apply to face at night before going to bed. The scent will help you relax and sleep, while the cream moisturizes your face. (3)

And finally,

These are just a few things to help you get started. What do you think? What essential oils or other natural methods do you like to use to help you sleep? Which ones of these recipes do you like the best? Tell us in the comment section at the bottom of the page. Each one of us is going to need something slightly different than the person next to us and it’s good to share what works for you because it might help someone else. And happy sleeping!

Couple sleeping peacefullyReferences

  1. The Essential Oils Book: Creating Personal Blends for Mind & Body, by Colleen K. Dodt
  2. Hands On Healing Remedies: 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments, and other Topical Therapies, by Stephanie L. Tourles
  3. Natural Beauty for All Seasons, by Janice Cox
  4. 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy, by Carol Schiller and David Schiller
  5. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family, by Rosemary Gladstar
  6. The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy, by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.
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About JC Shannon

I am a writer. I was first introduced to this world of natural health in 2005 when I was asked to write an article about using essential oils. Since I like to know what I'm writing about before I do it, I immersed myself in the essential oil and aromatherapy world and found I prefer it. I never left it. In a quest to educate myself and others in more alternative and safer ways to make our world a better place, I am always looking for good information to share.

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