What are the best essential oils for better sleep and reducing stress? Across the world, we are living through wild and unpredictable times, not really sure what will happen from one day to the next. This is stressful to say the least! So it’s no wonder we’re lying awake at night with frayed nerves, racing hearts and churning minds. Take a big breath and relax – we’ve got you covered with the four best essential oils for sleep and relaxation?
Apart from leaving us feeling foggy, moody and unable to concentrate, an ongoing lack of sleep is terrible for overall health. Our cells regenerate during sleep and a sleep deficit can lead to higher risk of stroke, diabetes, heart attack, obesity and depression.
So what can we do when the thoughts won’t stop and we’ve counted every flock of sheep on the planet but still can’t find the elusive Zzzzzzs?
Guru google is full of useful tips such as drinking warm milk, avoiding the blue light of screens before bedtime and only using our bed only for sleeping.
We can add another tool to our snooze support kit by using essential oils.
In essential oils, the concentrated compounds from a range of plants, flowers or herbs soothe the mind and promote sleep.
Research has also shown that because smell affects sleep, using certain essential oils at bedtime may help us drop into snooze mode.
After inhaling essential oils, the scent travels to the hypothalamus in the brain, which then affects the limbic system. This controls a number of physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
Applying an essential oil topically allows its beneficial compounds to enter the body through the bloodstream and act on the body’s systems this way.
It’s important to choose carefully when selecting a sleep-aid essential oil. The properties of some oils are invigorating and stimulating rather than soothing and sedative.
It’s best to steer clear of Lemon, Bergamot, Eucalyptus and Rosemary essential oils if you’re after a restful sleep. You might find yourself full of beans and up cleaning out your closet at 2am.
Many essential oils have a relaxing and calming effect on the nervous system. Four slumber enhancers are our favourites for that better sleep experience and good oils to reduce stress.
Lovely lavender oil is probably the best known essential oil, much loved for its sedative and soothing properties. These come from its chemical compounds, linalool and linalyl acetate. They calm the nervous system by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature. Great for getting better sleep after a long busy day!
Lavender oil is also a proven sleep aid. One study in 2005 found Lavender oil increased participants’ deep-wave sleep so that they felt “higher vigour” the next morning.
People with mild insomnia — especially women and younger people — reported improved sleep after breathing in steam filled with lavender essential oil.
And hospital patients with coronary artery disease experienced improved sleep and reduced anxiety after inhaling Lavender essential oil.
As soon as you inhale Clary Sage oil, you’ll feel a wave of relaxation float over you.
Clary sage is a herb and can be used to flavour foods. However, it is also a powerful sedative and lowers high blood pressure and tension making it a good oil to reduce stress and getting a good nights rest.
Clary sage oil also has an antidepressant effect and reduces cortisol levels. Too much cortisol impacts the body’s natural circadian rhythms and makes people feel ‘hyper’.
Clary sage can improve sleep by reducing anxiety. In one study, inhaling clary sage oil reduced stress in medical patients by lowering their blood pressure and respiratory rate.
The herbal, woody, sweet aroma of clary sage essential oil calms your whole system and can also help you remember dreams.
Sweet Orange essential oil smells bright, sparkly and refreshing. It is extracted from the orange peel.
Orange peel is full of the powerful antioxidant d-limonene which helps maintain normal cellular regeneration. It is also effective in lowering anxiety and blood pressure.
One of the most grounding essential oils for sleep, Cedarwood oil has a warm, comforting woody scent. It’s perfect when used at bedtime to help you drift off into dreamland.
Cedarwood oil has a sedative effect from a compound called cedrol, which reduces blood pressure and heart rate. This makes cedarwood oil doubly great at bedtime because it promotes sleep and also eases hypertension and anxiety give you a good relaxing rest.
Cedarwood oil also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the body’s natural self-soothing mechanism; it is best to use it for at least 20 nights to see effects.
Cedarwood oil may also increase total sleep time and reduce those times when your eyes spring open bright and early at 4am!
One study on Cedarwood oil focusing on women in their 20s, 30s and 40s living in Japan, Norway and Thailand found that cedrol had a sedative effect across all groups, even though women in different countries had different levels of anxiety and average sleep times. It is important to get high quality Cedarwood.
There are various soothing ways to enjoy the benefits of our favourite essential oils for a better sleep and relaxation:
Essential oils work best if you make them part of your bedtime routine and a way to transition gently out of the busyness of the day to reduce your stress.
Even before the COVID pandemic hit, the world was suffering from a serious lack of sleep. The guideline for wellbeing is eight hours of sleep each night. However, the average adult in the UK has six hours and 49 minutes sleep, Americans average six hours and 31 minutes, while people in Japan are getting by with only six hours and 22 minutes’ sleep each night.
It doesn’t help that we are becoming increasingly overstimulated and over-caffeinated, which means our minds can’t stop, even if we would like them to.
Essential oils can make all the difference. In fact, when you use our restful essential oil, Sleeping Beauty will have nothing on you … now we all just need to find seven helpers to look after the house and a Prince or Princess Charming to wake us up with a kiss each morning. I wonder which essential oils can bring those to you? But no need to stress about this now that we know the best oils for sleep and relaxation.