Recent reports suggest that one in four people suffer from insomnia. Being unable to sleep can be a miserable experience, especially if it continues for several nights in a row. Soon, even performing basic tasks during the day can be a trial.
While it’s easy to reach for the sleeping pills, it’s always recommended that you try out some natural remedies first. One of the most effective ways to induce sleep is to use essential oils. Here’s more information.
Know your essential oil aromas
Some natural scents are great for inspiring relaxation and inner peace. The following are the best essential oils to encourage sleep:
Valerian often features in herbal sleep-remedies, thanks to its wonderfully soothing qualities. It’s not called the ‘peaceful plant’ for nothing! A few drops of valerian essential oil in the bath-tub, just before bedtime, ensures that you’re in a relaxed state when your head hits the pillow.
If you’ve ever wandered through a field of lavender, you’ll know how blissfully tranquil the experience is. The scent of lavender is comforting and calming, which makes it the perfect choice for those who want to forget their stress and put their feet up. It’s also a pleasant-smelling plant, and can even be worn as a perfume.
In some cultures, vetiver is hailed as a ‘sacred plant’, thanks to what’s perceived as its healing properties. It’s a fresh, uplifting scent, which is ideal if your sleep deprivation is caused by worry or anxiety. Vetiver can really lift your mood, while also offering peace and calm.
There’s something decadent about the scent of frankincense, which isn’t surprising, given that it’s been used in perfumes for centuries. As such, it’s a great choice for adding to your bath, or even dabbing on the back of your wrists and behind your ears. Be warned though; it’s quite potent and a little goes a long way.
Cedarwood is a really cost-effective option, and is useful for the release of melatonin, which is your body’s ‘calming’ hormone. Some people love the rich, woody scent too, which helps them to drift off to sleep with ease. Cedarwood is great as an ingredient in fragranced candles as it produces an aroma that’s reminiscent of being in a forest – very soothing in the evening!
If your sleep problems stem from depression or anxiety, a drop or two of patchouli might help. It’s been traditionally used as a natural anti-depressant for centuries and has aphrodisiac qualities; making it a good choice for dabbing on the edge of your pillow.
Although patchouli essential oil won’t directly get you to sleep, by alleviating some of your worries, it may provide powerful support for a calmer mind.
With a name that means ‘flower of flowers’, it’s little surprise that this is one of the nicest smelling ‘sleep inducing’ essential oils. Ylang ylang has a delicately musky floral scent, which is a good emotion-balancer, restoring a sense of mental wellbeing.
It’s great for adding to an oil diffuser in the bedroom – let the scent drift through the room as you sleep.
Chamomile has been used for years as an effective way to encourage better sleep. It’s commonly drunk as a tea, though many people also recommend it as an ingredient in a scented candle or diffuser.
The subtle scent creates a comforting, secure atmosphere, which is ideal when you’re trying to drift off to sleep.
The best way to get some sleepy scents
There are many ways you can enjoy these relaxing aromas. Here are a few suggestions:
• As an essential oil. Essential oils can be applied to virtually anything; your wrist (check they won’t irritate the skin first), your bedding, a bath, a shower or your cushions in the living area. Be aware that they’re usually strong, so only a few drops are required.
• As a candle. Scented candles are great for setting the mood at home. Have them burning in the background as you relax in the evening; this will really help you to sleep when you eventually go to bed. Please don’t leave a lit candle unattended.
• As a roll-on perfume. Many essential oils smell wonderful, which means you can wear them as a perfume if you like. If you’re having friends over, for example, and you want to apply a relaxing scent (so you feel chilled out after they’ve gone!), a roll-on essential-oil based perfume is a great option.
• In an oil diffuser. Oil diffusers can fill a space with potent fragrance, which is perfect if you’re looking for a highly effective way to calm yourself before bedtime. The same applies for incense sticks.
• As pot pourri. Pot pourri is a long-lasting, subtle way to fragrance the home; with many pot pourris featuring calming ingredients.