How to sleep better and well? We all have evenings when we find it hard to fall asleep or we wake up in the night. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough.
There are essential oils for almost every issue you can think of - one of which is trying to relax and get a better night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Doctor, lavender is the most popular essential oil for sleep and relaxation. It has benefits such as reduction in anxiety, depression, and pain relief, as well as improve sleep quality, time frame, and daytime alertness. Some other popular oils for this are vanilla, rose and geranium, jasmin, sandalwood, and citrus.
Vanilla can have sedative effects, similar to lavender, where it can reduce hyperactivity and restlessness, quiet the nervous system, and lower blood pressure. Rose and geranium have similar floral scents and can reduce stress and anxiety. Jasmine also has a sweet floral scent and can improve sleep quality and cut down on restless sleeping - it has been shown to lower anxiety even more effectively than lavender. Sandalwood has more of a rich, woody, earthy scent with a history of relaxation and anxiety relief. Finally, citrus can relieve anxiety and depression. Both sandalwood and citrus can have different reactions to different people - for some, they can be useful in helping people fall asleep more easily, whereas others may find the scents relaxing and not sleep-promoting.
One way to use lavender is by massaging your muscles through diluting the essential oil with a carrier oil and rubbing it on the back of your neck and bottom of your feet. Lavender can give you more of a soothing massage since it has a softer scent; it creates a more calming, relaxing atmosphere and help soothe you muscles.
Adding a few drops of lavender into a diffuser is option of use. There are four basic types of oil diffusers: ultrasonic, heat, evaporative, and nebulizer. Ultrasonic diffusers use vibrations to turn the oil into microparticles and disperse them into a fine mist mixed with steam into the air. Heat diffusers are better for thicker oils (i.e. sandalwood) and will heat the source and evaporate it into the air, but heat does change the chemical level of the essential oil, which can limit health benefits of the oil. Evaporative uses a fan to generate a wind to evaporate the oil into the air. Nebulizer diffusers require no heat or water and deliver a concentrated pure stream by breaking down the oils into atoms by force.
Another option of using essential oils is while taking a shower or bath. You can add a few drops of an essential oil or oil blend into your warm bathwater. You can also combine about 10 to 15 drops of lavender with bath salts and a couple of teaspoons of jojoba oil. There are great options of body cleansers with essential oils you can use to soak into your skin. For a shower, you can add 3 to 5 drops on the wall or outer edge of your shower where the scent can then diffuse into the air from the hot water and steam.
A fourth option for using lavender is using a room spray. You can purchase one or create your own by adding about 20 drops of lavender (or any oil you prefer) to 5 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle. This can be sprayed throughout your room and even on your pillows and bed before you go to sleep and have the scent right next to you and help you relax and sleep well.
In my latest blog about ways to access and use essential oils, I emphasized the importance of what factors to consider when it comes to selecting the best products. Below is a list of great options to choose from for lavender, as well as some pros and cons:
When you combine essential oils together, there is a chance one oil can negate any possible side effects you may experience by a singular essential oil. When deciding how you want to group your essential oils, start by categorizing them into groups that share similar traits; whether you’re after a specific effect (i.e. energizing, calming, detoxifying, or anti-anxiety), what scent you want (flowery, citrus, spicy, woody, or herbal), or by their notes (how fast each of them evaporates - top, middle, base). Oils that fall in the same category tend to blend best together; examples of each are as follows:
As you can see above, there are a number of oils that fall under multiple categories, so there are many great options when looking to find what scent to go with when aiming for a specific effect. First hand, you can see lavender categorized to help ease anxiety and stay calm.
While it can be useful to combine oils that fall within the same category, it is not a set rule for all blends. The best way to decide how to blend and what to blend with is by looking at who it is for, the purpose, the method of application, and the ideal outcome. For example, floral, citrus, spicy, and woody scents all blend well together and herbal blends well with woody.
Top (energizing, uplifting)
Middle (balancing, warming)
Base (calming, relaxing)
A great way to create a balanced essential oil blend a maximum of 5 oils and use 2 or 3 top note oils, 2 middle note oils, and 1 base note oil.