Aromatherapy is one of the most popular natural sleep remedies out there.
The rise in cases of insomnia and sleep apnea among the adult population has also caused an increase in the demand of essential oils to sleep peacefully. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang and cedarwood give out the most soothing fragrances that helps in calming down nerves.
With over one-third of all adults suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, the trend of turning to natural remedies instead of Over-The-Counter medications is on the rise.
One of these options is preferring aromatherapy. Research studies prove that using essential oils to sleep reflects a marked improvement in promoting deeper and more qualitative slumber that leaves one refreshed.
The popularity of essential oils has been growing recently as several research studies have found that they help in improving circadian rhythms.
It is advised that essential oils to sleep should be used with a diffuser or by mixing it with a carrier oil and using it for aromatherapy.
However, people often believe that applying essential oils directly to skin, hair or even ingesting them might be the most beneficial.
Some users are also wary of using them as they have heard of certain horror stories where essential oils have resulted in burns.
This is why using essential oils to calm anxiety swings between fanaticism and fear, both of which are to a degree ill-informed.
With several brands offering essential oils to use for aromatherapy, it is important to opt for the best and the most effective.
Most of all, it is imperative to know about how to use essential oils if you wish to reap its benefits without jeopardizing your health.
This article will inform you on all the aspects of using essential oils as natural sleeping aids that will shush those night-time blues.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are derived from natural compounds that are obtained from plants.
The reason why essential oils are called so because they contain the essence or the extract of the plant itself. Such oils are different from fragrant or synthetic oils that are used in scented candles and pouches.
Essential oils are one of the most sought after products in the beauty and lifestyle industries due to their myriad benefits. Besides smelling great, essential oils are famous for improving the quality of slumber and their healing properties.
Since the earliest times, these plant-based oils have not only been used as a beauty solution, but also as an effective medicine for fungal infections, common cold and treating sleep disorders.
People subscribe to essential oils for sleep and to relieve their anxiety.
Considered as a common mood booster, the demand for calming essential oils to use in beauty treatments has risen.
Other benefits of these cold-pressed oils derived directly ‘from the lap’ of the nature are reduction in inflammation, maintaining the texture of the skin and relieving nausea and headaches.
Essential oils for anxiety and stress are particularly effective.
According to a study, oils such as lavender, chamomile and peppermint work the best when they are coupled with other natural remedies and alternative options for therapy- yielding positive effects for people who are afflicted with crippling disorders.
Excessive anxiety results in restlessness and it is also one of the many reasons why people are losing out on sleep.
While essential oils are some of the best remedies to relieve sleep disorders and tension, people are still unaware about how do these oils work and effect your body.
Due to the general level of unawareness among consumers and patients, it is highly possible that unmindful use of such remedies can result in more problems rather than benefits. We will dwell upon these reasons in the following sections after understanding how essential oils work on our systems.
How do Essential Oils Work?
We are so charmed by the immediacy of all the remedies circulating in the market that we want nothing less than quick fixes.
However, when we are considering sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, we must remember that mere quick fixes will not work.
Besides improper guidance, even self diagnosing and medicating can prove to be dangerous. People using essential oils for sleep also suffer from the same thought process which is quite harmful. This is why it is important to know about such remedies inside and out.
As far as essential oils are concerned, they are NOT meant to be ingested in any form. Users often think that eating essential oils is a normal practice since they are virtually harmless products that are derived from plant sources.
Such oils can cause poisoning even when a few drops are ingested. Essential oils are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as they are highly potent. Moreover, it is difficult to determine the exact amount of oil that should be sprayed onto food which is why you should stay away from trying putting it in your edibles.
Coming back to the point, essential oils are made for external use such as inhalation and application on skin. When you apply these oils to your skin, the plant compounds are effectively absorbed. Upon inhalation, the scent of the essential oils can stimulate the limbic system.
The limbic system is in charge of our emotional balance and even memories which is deeply connected to our olfactory senses. For those who don’t know, olfactory sense is the sense of smell.
Thereafter, the olfactory system induces the brain to secrete neurotransmitters. Ever heard of Dopamine and Serotonin? These are the feel-good chemicals the body releases when you encounter a pleasurable sensation- your body secrets them the most when you are watching cute baby animal videos on YouTube or are munching on your favorite low calorie snacks!
Calming essential oils aid the release of such neurotransmitters. If used along with natural melatonin supplements, people afflicted with sleep disorders will find themselves more relaxed and attuned to proper sleep routines.
While such remedies will not be immediately effective, their sustained and informed use can improve circadian rhythms. A medical study proved that participants who slept after being exposed to the scent of lavender essential oil had markedly improved sleeping routines.
What Should You Be Wary of While Using Essential Oils to Sleep?
Several people still confuse essential oils as the original product extracted from the plant and are completely clueless when it comes to separating the products from the process. And such mistakes lead us to opt for the wrong kind of ‘essential oils’. Many a times, people attempt to use the oils available with room fragrance diffusers with the kind that are specifically made for aromatherapy and for direct use on the skin. Doing a patch test on your elbow will be wise before you actually use such products.
As we have mentioned before, essential oils should be used carefully if one has to derive their best benefits. There are a fair share of horror stories associated with essential oil use- the most popular has been the one concerning 24 year old Emily Smith. Smith suffered severe chemical burns when some undiluted Patchouli essential oil was sprayed on her face.
The result was disastrous, as Smith underwent excruciating agony due to the chemical burns. According to her, she had went near the diffuser filled with essential oil blends to switch it off when the incident happened. Within a few hours, Smith’s face was unrecognizable, her once beautiful skin was scarred beyond belief.
While this was a case of an accident eve when the person was using essential oil via a diffuser, people tend to make a mistake of directly applying essential oils to the face without mixing it with a carrier oil. People are attracted to essential oils because of their aroma.
As a result, they tend to use it as a perfume too by applying it to their skin without diluting it. While such products can be beneficial, their misuse can cause unwanted skin allergies, which is why you should do a patch test before using any essential oil.
Another myth is that any and every essential oil suits everyone. This is something one should steer clear of. Even when you are using the best essential oil for sleep, every essential oil might not work for you. It is a matter of knowing about which scent soothes you. Some oils can come off as too strong and pungent, which can irritate you instead of soothing your nerves and calming anxiety.
Another factor to consider is keeping essential oil outside the reach of children. Many users think that an essential oil massage will aid blood circulation in young infants. However, using it on them is not advisable as they might be irritated due to the pungent odor of some oils. Children’s skin is also quite sensitive. Therefore, they should be kept away from essential oils as much as possible.
If you are pregnant, you must consult your physician before using any essential oil, even via aromatherapy as they are absorbed into the bloodstream and might harm the fetus.
How do Calming Essential Oils Help with Anxiety and Sleep Disorders?
We have already dwelt upon the way in which essential oils work on people and how they soothe nerves. While their effects have been established by researchers, the efficacy of essential oils to sleep are yet to be explored.
We mentioned before that inhaling the scent of essential oils via steam or a fragrance diffuser can help the body absorb plant compounds without being exposed to concentrated chemicals directly. This leads to the release of sleep-inducing melatonin and other endorphins.
Melatonin indicates the body that it is time to get a few prized hours of sleep. Have you ever felt comforted and drowsy enough when you have listened to some chill EDM beats or are subjected to a spritz of sweet scents? This is the time that melatonin kicks into action, prompting you to sleep as soon as you are feeling comfortable.
Essential oils also help with calming down anxious nerves. According to a study published in the reputed National Library of Medicine, aromatherapy involving calming essential oils relieves anxiety. The study analyzed the effects of inhaling rosewater in hemodialysis patients.
Another research experiment conducted on students established that inhaling a blend of rosewater and lavender essential oils resulted in a significant decrease in anxiety and depression compared to the levels prior to the experiment. The anxiolytic properties of essential oils make them a premier remedy for anxiety and stress induced by a hectic lifestyle.
How Do You Find Out the Best Essential Oil for Sleep?
Unfortunately, the essential oils market is not averse to fake replicas of original products. Considering how popular these potent oils are, it is highly possible that several manufacturers have resorted to making fake essential oils that can do more harm and might not treat your sleep and stress blues.
But, with a few tips and research, one can learn to distinguish genuine products from fakes and select the best essential oil for sleep. You must note that despite their popularity, there is no grading standard or hallmark that establishes the veracity of essential oils. And this makes it extremely hard to find if they are real or not.
People who have worked with these essential oils for years are confounded with the level of similarity between bad and good EOs. In a world where even diamonds are graded before they sit in rings and other jewelry pieces, determining a grading standard for EOs is an undiscovered domain.
The key to look for a genuine bottle of essential oil depends on how strong your olfactory senses are, the packaging, labels and doing some research on where the oil was sourced from.
Common indicators of a fake product will be using the word ‘fragrance’ instead of the Latin name of the plant from which the oil was derived. Another fact is that essential oil labels also mention the part of the plant they were extracted from and through which processes.
If you are looking for a pure extracted product, you must look for a ‘100 percent pure essential oil’ label specifically mentioning that it is derived from only one plant. As for blends, check all the metric measurements. Nothing is better than a brand that is transparent about its ingredients and policies.
How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep?
There are several ways in which you can use essential oils to induce sleep. According to the American Sleep Foundation, essential oils can be used via inhalation, ingestion (food-grade EOs only please) and direct application by diluting them with a carrier oil. Take care that the scent doesn’t burn the hair inside your nose or cause headaches. Such occurrences are common while using essential oils, so take precaution and make sure you are keeping your physician in the loop about what you are using.
For the best results, use a diffuser, Put a few drops of the oil into the machine, switch it on for an hour and then remember to switch it off. Don’t leave the diffuser running all through the night. You can also put a few drops of Bergamot or Lavender EO in a boiling pot of water and inhale the steam emanating from it.
As for direct skin application, do a patch test by applying the essential oil and carrier oil blend to your elbow first. If you observe any irritation within a few hours of use, maybe you should skip to the next alternative. Proportions are the most important while using EOs for direct application.
Remind yourself that essential oils must not be used more than 5-10 drops, depending on the quantity of carrier oil you are taking. Refer to the labels or do some research. But the bottom line is that carrier oils like almond and apricot should be used more than the concentrated essential oils themselves.
The riskiest option here is ingestion. We advise you strictly against it, as the risks of ingesting EOs outweighs the benefits. You might not know which EO is more potent than the other, even a drop in excess can lead to harmful repercussions on your immune system.
Best 10 Calming Essential Oils for a Soothing, Deep Slumber
Now that we have walked you through the 101 of using calming essential oils and determining which ones are genuine, we will suggest you the best essential oils to try when you are battling sleep disorders. Couple them with natural remedies and a healthy diet rich in melatonin and other nutrients to derive their benefits. We have curated the best and the most authentic sleep blends and pure essential oils, so, you do have a fair idea of where to begin.
But we will also tell you about a few precautions so that you can select what works for you. Firstly, try to select oils that do not have an overpowering scent. A pungent odor might drive sleep away and irritate you, instead of promoting it. Moreover, do not make essential oils an addiction. There is a clear difference between a remedy and addiction, and the earlier you realize it, the better it is.
Therefore, you are the best judge to determine which essential oil is doing the trick for you. If you are clueless about where to begin, choose and research some blends among the following and beat those disorders!
Vitruvi Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot is one of the most preferred essential oils. With a soft, woody and somewhat spicy scent, Vitruvi’s Bergamot Essential Oil puts you at ease right away.
Trust Vitruvi to provide you 100% pure, vegan and cruelty-free luxury. You can also refer to their guide to use the oil and can blend it with cedarwood or lavender for a unique fragrance!
Mountain Rose Herbs Valerian Essential Oil
Valerian root is a popular natural sleep remedy. More popularly known as Ashwagandha in the Indian parlance, Valerian is an excellent herb to calm stress and anxiety.
Mountain Rose Herbs Valerian EO packs this musky and pungent scent in a short and sweet bottle. Use a few drops in your diffuser or make your own blend with patchouli, rosemary, clary sage or oakmoss oils to sink into a truly comforting experience.
Gya Labs Cedarwood Essential Oil
Infamous as a mood booster and sedative, Gya Labs’ Cedarwood EO can bring about wonders for your lost circadian rhythms. You can even rub a little on your scalp to prevent hair fall.
Rich in the compound cedrol that helps you eat anxiety, this fragrant oil should definitely be incorporated in your aromatherapy sessions.
Healing Solutions Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium EO is a wonderful product when you are looking out for something that helps you rejuvenate your suffering skin as well as relieve those irritating nerves. Healing Solutions’ Geranium EO is a herbaceous and soothing scent that is good for treating insomnia, anxiety and those horrible panic attacks that keep you from sleeping peacefully.
All the products from Healing Solutions are GCMS tested and hence, are the most dependable blends you can trust.
Sun Organic Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
This yellow star-shaped beauty native to India and Australia has massive benefits and also features in luxury purfumes. Potent, luxurious and healing, Sun Organic offers you the best batches of Ylang Ylang EO that will reduce depression and boost your mood.
Substantiated by anecdotal evidence, Ylang Ylang contains linalool, a stress busting compound that also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Remember to use this bottle of goodness to help you with all that plagues you and obstructs your sleep!
Mary Tylor Naturals Jasmine Essential Oil
The sweet scent of jasmines is truly relaxing. And with Mary Tylor Naturals Jasmine EO, this luxury in a bottle can be yours to.
The brand’s formulation will pamper you with natural goodness. The oil itself is steam distilled that preserves the essence of jasmines and helps in reducing stress and alleviate your mood instantly.
Essence Lux Sandalwood Essential Oil
And to block out the one of the most prized oils from this list will be a huge problem on our part. Of course, we could have mentioned Clary Sage and other oils too, but Sandalwood is the OG when it comes to treating sleep disorders and relieving anxiety.
With Essence Lux Sandalwood EO, you can enjoy pure, unadulterated goodness of sandalwood and its soothing aroma.
Public Goods’ Lavender Essential Oil
Public Goods offers you the best and the most authentic natural EOs that is therapeutic, pure and safe. One of the most popular and commonly used essential oils, lavender also features as an excellent solution for hair, skin, sleep and stress.
If you are searching for pure, 100% essential oil that is vegan friendly, this amber bottle is just it!
If you are feeling up to it, essential oil blends by Edens Garden is a great option to go for. Their Good Night variant features the superheroes in the EO category, namely, bergamot, ylang ylang, sandalwood, lime and vanilla. If this doesn’t convince you enough, this blend is ethically sourced, and is GC/MS batch tested with no toxic chemicals.
Plant Therapy’s Blissful Dreams Essential Oil Blend
Be it a much cherished noon time nap or your nightly slumber, Plant Therapy’s Blissful Dreams EO Blend will keep you company at all times.
Featuring earthy and floral notes, this blend is composed of the best isolates and essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, vetiver and Roman chamomile. Grab a bottle and sample this comforting blend right now!
The BeZen Take on Calming Essential Oils for Sleep
In this feature, we spoke at length about the mechanics of essential oils and what makes them so central as a stress reliever. We have suggested you various methods to employ this remedy. What we are adamant about you not ingesting these potent chemical compounds.
Watch out for the parts they are derived from and be clear about what you require from your personalized EO blend. Stay clear of the fakes and always favor brands which are transparent about their policies and practices. EOs can be a great option, but it will be wise not to rely on them completely.
Couple essential oils with meditation and a relaxed routine. It will equip you not only in tackling the daily grind with a fresh mind, but also recover your sleep which is essential to the sound functioning of your body.