Essential Oils for Insomnia Soothe Sleepless Nights
By Caryn Gehlmann
As you toss and turn you feel stress and anxiety mounting… you just can’t get to sleep! You’re not alone, I’m often asked for recommendations on essential oils for insomnia. According to the Sleep Foundation, “Approximately a quarter of the adult population have sleeping problems and an estimated 6% to 10% have an insomnia disorder.”
An occasional sleepless night can make you feel fatigued and have trouble concentrating the next day. However, regular occurring insomnia that’s left untreated, can increase the risk of developing other illnesses including depression, diabetes, hypertension, and more. Many don’t like the side-effects that come with prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids.
The key to having a goodnight’s sleep is to relax…which, when you’re having trouble sleeping, is easier said than done. However, it’s worth exploring stress-relieving strategies since sleep research shows that by reducing stress and anxiety, your body’s physiological relaxation response can enable you to peacefully drift off to sleep. The Sleep Foundations recommends various relaxation methods that can help, including, you guessed it… aromatherapy.
Evidence shows that using essential oils for insomnia works. Many essential oils have been shown to have a sedative or calming effect, promoting natural, restful sleep. Lavender essential oil in particular has been extensively researched and appears to help most people with sleeplessness no matter what the cause. However, as I’ve pointed out before, there is no one-size-fits-all aromatherapy solution to insomnia. It will depend on the kind of insomnia you’re experiencing, your health and age, and your personal preferences — some people love lavender while others can’t stand it!
First, let’s explore essential oils that are helpful in addressing different types of insomnia.
Insomnia (with worry and anxiety): Chamomile Roman, Mandarin, Neroli
Insomnia (with emotional upset): Rose
Insomnia (general): Lavender or Bergamot
Insomnia (with mental agitation, symptoms may include the individual laying awake for hours with their mind racing): Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Coriander, Cypress, Clary Sage
Insomnia (with nervous exhaustion, seemingly too tired to sleep, tense yet exhausted): Marjoram True Sweet
If you are having trouble getting to sleep, you can start by choosing a floral essential oil that you find peaceful — Lavender, Marjoram True Sweet, Neroli, Ylang Ylang, or Rose — to help you reach that relaxed place where you can switch off easily and sleep.
If you find yourself extra restless or your pattern is falling asleep and then waking, you may need to add an essential oil that is more grounding and sedating — Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Coriander, or Cypress.
Sometimes it takes time to identify the essential oil single or blend that triggers your body’s relaxation response. Don’t give up, even other’s swear by a particular essential oil for insomnia, it may not be the right one for you. If you’re not sure which one to order, please take advantage of e3’s sample policy.
Once you find the essential oil or blend that helps you relax and wind down, what’s the best way to use it? Many like to run a diffuser throughout the night with their favorite scent. However, that isn’t your only option! You can use a roll-on, a spritzer, or give yourself a relaxing aromatherapy bath before bed.
Here are 3 of our favorite DIY sleep recipes that include essential oils for insomnia:
#1 Sleepy Aromatherapy Spritzer
Add all the ingredients to a spritzer bottle and make sure to shake well before each use. Mist your bedding and pillowcase. You can also mist as high up in the room to allow the mist to fall through a greater volume of air space.
#2 Stay-Asleep Aromatherapy Roll-on
3 drops Sandalwood
2 drops Vetiver
1 drops Cedarwood Atlas
4 drops Patchouli
1 T. Fractionated Coconut Oil
Mix together and store in a roll-on bottle. Apply to chest and neck before bedtime or if you awaken in the middle of the night.
Mix the essential oils with the Epsom salts before adding to the water. (You never want to add essential oils directly to water. If you don’t have Epsom salts, blend first with a carrier oil like Fractionated Coconut Oil.) It’s best if the water temperature is warm so it’s relaxing rather than too warm or too cool, which can be stimulating. Breathe deeply and relax.
Don’t forget, our team of clinical aromatherapists is here to support you with any questions you may have about how to use essential oils for insomnia. If you want to explore how you can create your own special blend, for sleep or for any other reason, make sure to download our new workbook, The Art and Science of Blending Essential Oils.