Sleeping well is one of the best things we can do to support our health and wellbeing. But sometimes it’s really hard to do. So how can we make falling asleep and staying asleep easier?
First, creating a bedtime schedule or ritual, that includes a few simple habits like turning off our devices at least an hour before bed, (phones, computers, tablets) and practicing a few mind-body exercises like gentle breathing, meditation or easy yoga stretches can be an excellent place to start.
But if you are looking for a real game changer, you should definitely give essential oils a try. Aroma has the remarkable capacity to shift our mindset and trigger a cascade of chemicals in our brains, (think hormones and neurotransmitters) that can simultaneously affect our mind and body. Just a simple sniff can have a profound effect.
Our sense of smell is directly connected to the part of our brain that controls all of our unconscious physiological functions and behaviors. So that means when we smell an aroma that we find soothing and relaxing, our unconscious mind triggers the release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that have been shown to relieve stress, anxiety and induce the relaxation response.
Here are 5 Essential Oils to support our sleep, so we can wake up feeling fully refreshed and rejuvenated.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Steam distilled from the flowering tops. Lavender essential oil is anti-inflammatory, sedative to the central nervous system, soothes anxiety, heals wounds and quiets the mind.
Clary Sage Salvia sclarea - Steam distilled from the flowering tops. Clary Sage essential oil is deeply sedating to muscle tension caused by mental stress; antispasmodic, anti-anxiety, deeply relaxing.
Roman Chamomile Anthemis nobilis - Steam distilled from the tiny delicate flowers, this essential oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxer, immediately quells over-reactive emotions, quiets an overactive mind and makes us sleepy.
Marjoram Origanum majorana - Steam distilled from the common culinary herb. This essential oil has a spicy warming aroma that helps relax the body from emotional stress and tension. A strong antispasmodic, and muscle relaxer.
Coriander Seed Coriandrum sativum - Steam distilled from the seeds of the coriander culinary herb. This oil is known to feature molecules that relax the nervous system, and soothe the buzz from everyday stressors.
Now that you’ve learned about a few essential oils and their aromatherapeutic properties, what is the best way to use them?
Here are 3 ways to use essential oils so you can sleep better and longer:
Diffuse: Add your essential oils to a cool mist or nebulizing diffuser to set the mood of your bedroom. Make sure to be in a well ventilated area, and have the diffuser on a timer, so it doesn't run continuously.
Massage Oil: A simple massage oil made with a few essential oils and a carrier oil of your choice, can make a world of difference. Apply on the back of your neck, upper chest, feet and back. Easy for self-massage, or ask your partner or a family member to massage your back.
Aromatic Mist: Made with distilled water and essential oils, this is an easy and instant way to mist your pillow and linens right before you go to sleep, and allow the aromas of the oils to relax and calm your mind and body.
Now it’s your turn. Try blending some of the essential oils together, like 3 drops of Clary Sage, 7 drops of Lavender and 3 drops of Coriander Seed, and then mixing the blend into 1 TBSP of carrier oil, like sunflower oil or jojoba oil, and apply the mix to the back of your neck and shoulders. Take a minute to sit, or lay quietly and pay attention to your response. Sleep is on its way!