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Using Essential Oils for Insomnia & Better Sleep

Aromatherapy & Sleep

There are two forms of sleep, REM or rapid eye movement which occurs when we are dreaming. And then there is NREM, non-rapid eye movement.  Both are important to our health.

REM occurs three or four times a night and can last anywhere from 5 minutes to over 1 hour. Our respiratory and heart rate become irregular, and the brain waves become slow and high voltage.

Insomnia or sleep issues can interfere with this process and play havoc on our health.  Insomnia can simply occur over time or come on quickly due to stress, irregular work hours, medications or other issues.  It can also be an occurrence due to an underlying cause or secondary cause to an underlying condition. 

Essential oil properties work in two ways, physically and emotionally.  While calming the mind by reducing stress, tension and worry, they can also relieve pain and discomfort allowing the body and nerves to relax and let go of added tension and releasing the muscles.   

Essential Oils and Sleep

Important Note: Whatever you choose for an oil, make sure that the oils you purchase are high quality. The only way to determine this is through GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) analysis reports.  Any reputable company will have these available on site. Although the oil may have a pleasant aroma, oils that have been synthetically enhanced lose their therapeutic value and raise concern for possible irritation, even diluted. 

Instructions for Using Essential Oils to Sleep Better

Determine Your Preferred EO or EO Blend

Prior to choosing your oils, review any safety concerns that may be associated with the oil.  Although from nature, like poison ivy, not everything from nature dictates to safety.  With a few preparations, you can use your essential oils safely. 

Next, choose aromas that appeal to your senses and personal preferences.  There are many sedative oils to choose from.  The list we’ve provided are only a few oils that have sedative properties.  A smell that is not appealing to us can have the opposite effect if we aren’t enjoying the aroma. 

Top Sedative Essential Oils for Facilitating Sleep

General Sleep Issues:
  • Bergamot Citrus bergamia
  • Chamomile (German) Marticaria chamomilla (Marticaria recutita)
  • Chamomile (Roman) Chamaemelum nobile, Anthemis nobilis
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    Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
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    Frankincense Boswellia carterii, sacra, or italicum
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    Jasmine Jasminum officinale
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    Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
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    Patchouli Pogostemon cablin
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    Sandalwood Santalum album
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    Spikenard Nardastachus jatamansi
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    (Sweet) Marjoram Origanum marjorana
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    Tangerine Citrus reticulata var. tangerine
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    Valerian Valeriana officinales var. angustifolium
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    Vetiver Vetiveria zizanioides
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    Ylang Ylang (extra, 2, 3 & complete) Cananga odorata var. genuina
Nervous Tension Related Sleep Issues:
  • Balsam Fir Abies balsamea
  • Chamomile (Roman) Chamaemelum nobile, Anthemis nobilis
  • Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
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    Petitgrain (orange) Citrus aurantium var. amara
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    Mandarin Citrus reticulata var. mandarin
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    Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
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    Tangerine Citrus reticulata var. tangerine
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    Vanilla Vanilla planifolia
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    Ylang Ylang (extra, 2, 3 & complete) Cananga odorata var. genuina

What You Will Need to Begin

Blending essential oils requires:
  • Essential oils
  • Glass container or graduated cylinder
  • Glass mixing rod (avoid metal, plastic or wood)
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    PET jar or container
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    Carrier oils of choice or unscented lotion
Items needed for soaking:
  • Essential oil or oil blend
  • Carrier oil(s)
  • Bathtub or Sitz tub
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    Water
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    Epsom salts or Pink Himalayan Sea salts or similar (optional)
Items needed for a massage oil:
  • Essential oil or oil blend
  • Carrier oil or unscented lotion
Items needed for a spray:
  • Essential oil or oil blend
  • *Emulsifier 
  • *Preservative  
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    Water or Hydrosol
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    Glass spray bottle-atomizer or spritzer

*Although essential oils can be anti-bacterial, when blended with an aqueous (water-based) product, bacteria will grow in a matter of days.  If you choose to not add a preservative, place your container in the refrigerator.  It will last up to about a week.  If it becomes cloudy, your product has bacteria growing in it and is best tossed out.

Since essential oils and water do not blend, the oil remains at the top of the water.  If using as a room spray or linen spray, shake and spray and it will spread the essential oil molecules over the surface. Let dry before making your bed.  They will evaporate, leaving no concern for irritation. 

Since essential oils are not recommended on the skin undiluted, if you are planning to use a body spray, an Emulsifier will blend your oils into your water-based product. To learn more on Skincare and essential oils, go to  Tisserand Institute at http://tisserandinstitute.org/available-webinars/complete-skin-series/

Some oils used externally can affect us internally, so caution is advised.

Remember that diluting does not mean we are diminishing the effects of oils.  The term refers to adding a carrier or fixed oil to protect the skin from components that are irritants to the skin.

Deciding Which Method Works Best For You

We know each person is unique including our reasons and solutions for sleep.  You may prefer a warm bath, or a massage, or simply diffuse in the evening and/or before bed.

Items needed for soaking:
  • Essential oil or oil blend
  • Carrier oil(s)
  • Bathtub or Sitz tub
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    Water
  • check
    Epsom salts or Pink Himalayan Sea salts or similar (optional)
Items needed for a massage oil:
  • Essential oil or oil blend
  • Carrier oil or unscented lotion
Items needed for a spray:
  • Essential oil or oil blend
  • *Emulsifier