Using Essential Oils to Promote Relaxation and Restful Sleep

The layperson can employ the use of pure plant oils for general relaxation and to ease the days tensions. Simple techniques and easy to follow home remedies are included in this article so youll be ready to relax in no time!

Where to Find Essential Oils

Many health food stores carry true essential oils in their body products section, often near lotions and face creams. A very prominent brand, Aura Cacia, is found in stores like Whole Foods and smaller, independent health food markets. This is one of the more budget-friendly brands but they arent known for their top-shelf products like smaller vendors Natures Gift of Tennessee, Californias Elizabeth Van Buren or New Yorks Sunrose Aromatics. These last three companies ship around the country and some of the oils are so delicious it is worth the wait for shipping!

Dont be fooled by synthetic perfumes masked as aromatherapy by chain retail stores. These products do not. have a clinically reproducible therapeutic affect on the body and may in fact be harmful to breathe in an indoor setting. It takes more than a nose to tell if an oil has been adulterated or is the real thing, in the breast implant problems pictures aromatherapy world. Modern technology, such as Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, allow us to evaluate and analyze oils for their purity and plant chemical properties.

Essential Oils for Relaxation and Sleep

One of the most common uses of essential oils in modern aromatherapy is that of relaxation and rest induction. Most adults can safely use essential oils to reduce stress and tension. If in doubt check with a clinical aromatherapist who can assist with oil patch tests, do a health history workup and help you find oils that will not interfere with medications or known health conditions.

Heres a general list of oils that are used in meditation, for sleep and to reduce stress:

Bergamot (citrus x bergamia) this oil is often found in therapeutic combinations for depression and seasonal affective disorder (winter blues). It may cause photosensitivity so dont apply topically before sun exposure or a visit to the tanning salon.Clary Sage (salvia sclarea) this one is for dreaming! Popular for balancing womens hormones use this oil for PMS. Do not use during pregnancy unless under the supervision of a clinical aromatherapist or other qualified practitioner.Lavandin (lavandula x intermedia) studies show this cousin to true lavender may be even more relaxing of the two oils. This one smells more floral to some than true lavender so smell them both to determine if you have a preference.Lavender, True (lavendula angustifolia) a beautiful, floral oil that is used practically everywhere these days! Dont discount the benefits of this lavender as it relaxes, soothes and dispels tension. It may be as effective as valium.Mandarin (citrus reticulate) a lovely citrus oil that is wonderful for anxiety, stress and irritability. A natural antidepressant mandarin is also safe for children and the elderly. It may cause photosensitivity so dont apply topically before sun exposure or a visit to the tanning salon.Sweet Marjoram (origanum marjorana) popular for insomnia and hot flashes, sweet marjoram is also an anti-spasmodic and is wonderful in the bath after a strenuous workout.Using Aromatherapy to Fall Asleep

Winding down from a stressful day can be a challenge; here are some methods for incorporating essential oils into your evening routine:

Warm bath about an hour before bedtime place 2-4 drops of an essential oil in a tablespoon of olive oil, pour into a warm water tub and soak for 20-30 minutes. Be sure the essential oil is thoroughly mixed into the water before stepping in so as not to cause a skin reaction when you go to sit in the tub. Essential Oil burner available at craft supply stores the ceramic burner has a reservoir on the top for water and a few drops of essential oils, the bottom holds a place for a tealight candle which will gently evaporate the oils into a small room.Essential Oil Methods for Sleeping Through the Night

If you have no trouble falling asleep but find yourself waking often try these tips to stay asleep:

Tissue take a facial tissue and sprinkle a couple of drops of the preferred essential oil directly onto the tissue. Now slip the tissue between the pillow and pillow case. The warmth and movement of the sleepers head will help the oil do its job all night long!Plug in diffuser an electric wall outlet diffuser is a very safe way to keep an essential oil in the atmosphere without the risk of leaving a candle burning. This would be a good option too for children or those prone to sensitivity where the tissue would be unsafe.Follow Safety Protocols for Aromatherapy

Remember the following rules when essential oils to stay safe:

Store oils in a cool, dark room out of the reach of children.Never ingest an essential oil unless directed by a physician trained in clinical aromatherapy.If accidentally spilled on the skin or in the eye flush the area with full fat milk while calling poison control for further instructions.Never apply an essential oil undiluted to the skin unless directed by a trained clinical aromatherapist and only for those oils considered "safe" in wound care such as lavender and tea tree.Essential oils are volatile and should be kept away from sources of fire or ignition. Always seal the bottle properly with its original cap to protect from an accidental spill or a child getting into it.


Tisserand R. 1988. Lavender beats benzodiazepines. Journal of Aromatherapy. 1, 1.2-2.Davis P. 1994. Aromatherapy an A-Z. CW Daniels. Saffron Waldon, England. p 216The authors training in the RJ Buckle Clinical Aromatherapy for Health Professionals course at Boston Medical Center 2010-2011.Buckle, Jane 2003. Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice, Churchill Livingstone.

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