5 Aromatherapy Practices for Deeper Sleep
Let me ask you this question… how well on a scale of 1-10 would you rate the quality of your sleep last night? What about this… how might you rate your energy level today, and could that number have been higher if you had gotten a better night's sleep?
Although most of us understand just how important sleep is for our physical and mental wellbeing, we often still fail to prioritize shutting our eyes! According to sleephealth.org, “National data shows that poor sleep health is a common problem with 25 percent of U.S. adults reporting insufficient sleep or rest at least 15 out of every 30 days”. Why could it be that so many Americans are suffering from chronic sleep issues? Might it be related to the chronic stress, anxiety, physical discomfort, too much screen time that most of us experience? The answer is that although the specifics are different for everybody, stress plays a big factor in falling and staying asleep. We’ve all been there- exhausted from the day, ready to drift off, until our head hits the pillow, along with a million thoughts that have no place popping in at that hour! The real question, though, is how can we not only prevent these thoughts from surfacing, but also find ways for them to pass so that we can get some rest?
In terms of aromatics, there are plenty of ways to reap their benefits in order to help get out of your head and ready for bed; to obtain a longer, deeper sleep from which you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day! All in all, it comes down to taking just a bit of time for yourself before bed to wind down and prepare the mind and body for rest. Here are 5 aromatherapy practices to try out before bed- I will also include several essential oils to consider experimenting with! As always, make sure to avoid using your phone, looking at any screens 1 hour before bed.
In my personal opinion, there is nothing better than falling asleep to the sweet smell of essential oils circling the air around your bed. If you haven't tried a diffuser next to your bed, I highly suggest it! Not only will your olfactory bulb recognize the scent of the essential oils as you are falling asleep, but you can continue to enjoy the benefits as the diffuser runs, usually for an additional hour or two after you fall asleep! After a night of sleeping with my diffuser, I wake up feeling so refreshed. Not to mention, it has a tendency to bring about some beautiful dreams... (Clary sage is a favorite for that). Diffusion before bed is also great for opening the airways and reducing congestion, for this you can try using essential oils like Eucalyptus globulus, laurus nobilis, citrus limon, & Boswellia carterii, just to name a few.
Aromatic bath / salt soak before bed
Taking a hot bath, whether aromatic or not, is always great for preparing for bed. Paired with the benefits of essential oils, it’s a combination that can't simply be beat! There are a few ways to enjoy essential oils in the bath (this can be a topic of another post)... but for now let's just speak about the general details. Since essential oils are non-polar, they do NOT mix with water! What does this mean? You should always use some form of carrier when using essential oils in the bath. Note: It's important to place yourself in the bath first, and then the essential oils in after you are submerged in water, that way the essential oils are drawn directly into your oily skin, as they do not like to be in water! If you don't have a tub or don't like taking baths, all of these can be used in a foot soak as well. A few carriers to consider:
- Vegetable oil
- Full fat milk
Aromatherapy massage is able to make a physiological impact on us as the essential oils penetrate our skin and enter the bloodstream. *Learn more about aromatherapy massage in this recent blog post.* Although we sometimes can’t make time for a full body massage, (or maybe bribe our partner to give us one)... it is always possible to make do with a simple foot rub! Similar to bath soaks, hand and feet massages with essential oils are an amazing way to reap the benefits of deeper sleep.Burning herbs
Although this does not involve essential oils, it is aromatherapy in its most ancient form. Burning herbs such as sage, palo santo, myrrh, and frankincense, is a practice that has been around long before distilling aromatic plants was even dreamt of. Give yourself 5-10 minutes before bed to light some sage, calm your mind, and enjoy the aromas that fill your sacred space. Be sure to avoid using your phone once this process begins!Aromatic Tea
Here is another idea that doesn't technically involve essential oils … or does it ;) ? From aromatic plants we obtain essential oils, but these same aromatic plants are also used in other ways, such as to be dried for herbal tea. Herbal tea is another wonderfully soothing, personal ruital to experiment with to prepare yourself for rest. A few nighttime aromatic plants to consider for your tea:
Chamomile, lavender, passionflower, rosehip, valerian
Now… which essential oils are good to consider for sleep? The realistic answer: too many to name. For now, we will stick with just a few to test the waters.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolins)
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Wild orange (Citrus sinensis)
Bergamot (Citrus aurantium var bergamia)
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Copaiba balsam (Copaifera officinalis)
Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum)
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Interested in learning more about a custom blend for better sleep? Reach out via email or our contact page to get started! Don’t forget about Sweet Dreams Pillow Mist, a gentle blend of lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, and clary sage which can be sprayed on pillows and linens before bed. Yum!