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Sleep is something that everyone needs, and no one gets enough of. I know from personal experience how sleep can affect everything from mental clarity and sanity to your pain levels and immune system strength. In my last sleep post, I gave you my favorite Sleepytime tea & tincture recipe, in this post we're going to learn about using aromatherapy to help you and your family sleep better. With so many great essential oils for sleep, I have put together my recipe for my favorite sleepytime essential oil blend that I like to call, Good Night Sleep Tight! This calming essential oil blend is good for more than just sleep, I even use this to control my Restless Leg Syndrome!
There are natural options for a better night's rest
You don't have to rely on habit forming sedatives or over the counter Benadryl & Tylenol (Tylenol PM) to get to sleep. Sleep issues are most often underlying symptoms from other health issues. Before you chug down pills to cover up your chronic sleep problem, you might try making some of these changes in your life first, to see what helps you get a better night's rest:
- Ditch the caffeine after 4 pm - It's great at keeping you awake which is going against your ultimate goal of sleep!
- Get on a sleep schedule and go to bed before midnight - Some research suggests that every hour of sleep prior to 12 am is equal to 2 hours after. It's really important that you start going to bed at a normal hour, as your body adjusts, you will begin to wake up earlier naturally, without feeling so groggy, and you'll also begin to become tired as evening approaches.
- Get enough magnesium in your diet - there is a whole host of symptoms caused by magnesium deficiency, and one of those symptoms is insomnia. You can also supplement magnesium by taking frequent [eafl id=7903 name="Epsom Salt" text="Epsom salt"] soaks in the bath!
- Change your diet and when you eat - Foods that don't digest well, cause indigestion, heartburn, gas, or intestinal problems can all disrupt your ability to sleep. Eating a whole foods diet rich in green vegetables, and avoiding processed foods can really change your body's energy levels throughout the day as well as the quality and quantity of sleep you get at night. Also, eating foods too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep because your body has to work to digest the food while you are sleeping.
- Exercise regularly - You do not have to do a hardcore workout to get better sleep. Because of all of the surgeries that I have had, I can not do the normal workout that the Hippy Hubby does. I swim for fun, stretch my body and release tension with yoga, and even hike through nature with my family.
- Meditate - On the nights that I am having the hardest time quieting my mind, I throw on some meditation tunes (because my ADHD requires music to focus for long periods of time) and meditate myself to sleep. It works every single time. Once you get good at going into a meditative state (practice makes perfect), you will find it is very helpful to getting yourself to sleep. Anyone can learn to meditate! Learn more about meditation and how to do it, here.
- Use Herbs - Essential oils aren't the only herbal option that can be used when sleep is eluding you! I also love to make my own sleepytime tea and tincture for those times that aromatherapy just isn't cutting it!
Essential oils can help to induce sleep
There are quite a few essential oils that can help with the issues that pertain to sleepless nights. Some are great for calming the body down while others can help shut off the mind when it won't shut up. Not all essential oils are created equal! If you are using these for small children and babies, be sure to check out my post on Essential Oil Safety for Babies & Children. These are just some essential oils that you can use in a sleepytime blend:
- Bergamot essential oil - Most all citrus essential oils are bright and happy making them great to relieve stress, but they are also still calming and can help blend the deeper notes together.
- Cedarwood essential oil - The woodsy scents of cedarwood is so calming, that many find it works better for them than lavender! Together, they are unstoppable! Cedarwood is a base note, and appropriately grounding! It can help to shut off the brain and bring peace to those who have overactive conversations with themselves at night.
- Roman chamomile essential oil - One of the other most well-known essential oils and herbs for sleepytime, chamomile has been known to calm everyone from babies to the elderly, and everyone in between! Also naturally
- Clary sage essential oil - Containing some of the same properties as valerian, clary sage is a very effective sedative. In fact, when studied in comparison to lavender, chamomile, and rosemary, for the strongest anti-stressor, clary sage leads the pack and beat them all out. I love the relaxant properties of clary sage so much that I like to use it in both my Aunt Flo's Soothing Salve and my Don't Worry Be Happy anti-anxiety blend!
- Coriander essential oil - Just like lavender, coriander is rich in a chemical constituent called linalool. Also like lavender, this essential oil works great at calming stress, anxiety, and sleep issues!
- Frankincense essential oil - It's no wonder frankincense is mentioned in the bible as one of the premier gifts, because it's so useful for SO many things! Its earthy notes work well in any sleep blend. When combined with lavender, they can do no wrong!
- Lavender essential oil - One of the most well-known essential oils used for sleep, lavender works well for most people to calm the body and soothe the mind. There is a small percentage of people who experience the opposite effects from lavender. If you are one of those people, avoid using lavender in your sleepytime blends!
- Lemon essential oil - Most all citrus essential oils are bright and happy making them great to relieve stress, but they are also still calming and can help blend the deeper notes together.
- Mandarin essential oil - Most all citrus essential oils are bright and happy making them great to relieve stress, but they are also still calming and can help blend the deeper notes together.
- Marjoram essential oil - Honestly, after I first smelled this essential oil, all my favorites went out the window. There is something delightful about sweet marjoram, that just smells
soooooogood to me! It's seriously one of my favorite essential oils on smell alone. It's also an incredible powerhouse (what essential oil isn't? lol) and very good at helping to relax and calm the body so that you can sleep. I don't make a sleep blend without this essential oil!
- Sweet orange essential oil - Most all citrus essential oils are bright and happy making them great to relieve stress, but they are also still calming and can help blend the deeper notes together.
- Sandalwood essential oil - This earthy and sweet essential oil is another calming one that works great at grounding and calming the mind. Sandalwood blends well with most essential oils and will help fix any top note citrus essential oils.
- Tangerine essential oil - Most all citrus essential oils are bright and happy making them great to relieve stress, but they are also still calming and can help blend the deeper notes together.
- Valerian essential oil - If you know anything about herbs, you likely already know just how effective valerian is at helping with sleep. This stinky-feet smelling herb can be taken at night to fall asleep at night, but you can also use the sedative properties in the essential oil to get to sleep at night. I only ever put just a couple drops in a blend because otherwise, the stinky feet smell will come out!
- Vetiver essential oil - With such a deep and earthy scent, vetiver is very good at calming both the mind and the body, helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It's one of those scents that you either love or hate! Only a drop or two is needed in any blend, otherwise, it's too overpowering!
- Ylang ylang essential oil - This very florally essential oil comes from the flower and reminds one of a calming tropical island. Ylang ylang is another one of those strong essential oils that only need a small amount added to a blend or it can become too overpowering!
This blend works GREAT with RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
I personally deal with Restless Leg Syndrome. From the very first back surgery that I had, at the age of 8, I began experiencing RLS at nights. Sometimes it would be so severe that I'd miss a ton of sleep. It wasn't until I found aromatherapy, that I found my answer to my problem. This blend is one of the first essential oil blends that I created, along with Headcase (my headache and sinus blend), Medicine Woman (my anti-germ/immune boosting blend), and Don't Worry Be Happy (my anti-anxiety and stress blend). To use this blend for RLS, simply roll onto legs and feet before bed and/or at the time of a flare-up, and massage in. It usually takes anywhere from instantly, up to ten minutes for this blend to begin working for me.
DIY Good Night Sleep Tight Essential Oil Blend
I love this blend because it's great for so many needs! I use it to calm myself when anxiety is getting the best of me, calm my mind to get a good night's rest, to calm my kiddo when he needs rest, and even for my problems with nerve pains and RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome).
- 75 drops lavender essential oil
- 45 drops marjoram essential oil
- 30 drops roman chamomile essential oil
- 30 drops bergamot essential oil
- 6 drops ylang ylang essential oil
- 6 drops valerian essential oil
- Combine essential oils in a 15 ml amber glass bottle. Swirl the bottle gently to mix. Label and store in a cool dark place with your other essential oils, when not using!
SAFETY - This blend is safe for use on/around adults and children 2+ years of age! For children under 2 years of age, you can use the essential oils from my Monsters-B-Gone post (aka Take a Chill Pill), as they are safer for use on/around babies and young children.
How to use the Good Night Sleep Tight essential oil blend
- Aromatherapy Inhaler – Aromatherapy Inhalers are perfect to keep on hand in your back pocket or purse, for whenever the need to take a whiff arises! The best part is you’re the only one who smells your personal inhaler, so the essential oils used will not offend anyone around you! To use, place 25-30 drops of the essential oil blend into a small glass bowl. Add the cotton pad to the bowl and roll it around (using tweezers, not bare fingers) until it’s soaked up all the essential oils. Using tweezers, remove pad and place in inhaler tube. After closing the inhaler tube, be sure to label it so that you don’t forget which blend it is! You can pull the inhaler out and take a few deep whiffs whenever you are are needing to relax, shut your mind off, and fall asleep!
- Smelling Salts – This is just another way to keep a sniffer around with you on-the-go. In a 10 ml (1/3 oz.) glass bottle, add 30 drops of the essential oil blend and fill the remainder of the bottle with either fine or coarse sea salt. Waft the bottle under your nose while taking deep inhalations whenever you feel are needing to shut your mind off and fall asleep.
- Diffuser – This blend works really well in the diffuser in your bedroom or the kid's bedroom, using the recommended amount of drops for your diffuser, diffuse this blend throughout the bedroom. This is more effective when the door is shut, but with the kiddo
- Shower Steamers – This is a really great method to use when you NEED to calm the kiddos down before bed. As a mother, I understand this feeling! I find that a shower or bath tends to help relax and calm a child down. On those really crazy days, just add a couple drops to a shower steamer and drop in the tub to let it diffuse in the heated shower. It will help calm and soothe your child before bed, helping them to fall asleep faster. You can also add a couple drops to the Epsom salt for a nice bedtime bath!
- Diluted in a Roll-On Bottle – Most of the time, I like to keep roll-ons on hand to use topically. I add the essential oils with a carrier oil (my favorite carrier oil for roll-ons is usually fractionated coconut oil) to a roll on bottle and then massage this onto the bottoms of the feet as well as the chest and the back of the neck. You can also use these like the aromatherapy inhalers and just open them up to take a whiff as well! For children 2 - 5 years combine 1 Tbsp. carrier oil with 4 drops essential oil blend. For adults & children 6+ years combine 1 Tbsp. carrier oil with 8 drops essential oil blend.