Aromatherapy, or essential oils therapy, utilizes natural plant extracts for a variety of purposes. This practice has been used for centuries and involves exposure to beneficial plant compounds through inhalation. The primary mechanism for intake is through the olfactory system. When you smell an aroma, there are certain receptors in the nose and nasal cavity that are stimulated.
That signal is then sent to the brain which can trigger an emotional or physiological response in the body. Certain aromas can induce a calming effect on the body. In other words, some essential oils can be used to ease the body into sleep.
The list of essential oils below have been used for centuries to help with sleep. To reap the benefits and get a good night’s sleep, add a couple drops to a diffuser in your bedroom. You can also apply a couple drops to the soles of your feet right before you climb under the covers.
One of the most common oils used to promote relaxation is lavender. Throughout history, it has been used for bathing, relaxing, cooking, and perfume. This oil is also incredibly versatile so it’s not only great for sleep but can also be used to calm irritated skin from bites, rashes or sunburn, and reduces anxious feelings. Adding Lavender Essential Oil to a diffuser or applying topically are great ways to use it. You can also whip up this super easy Lavender-Chamomile Linen Mist recipe and spray on your sheets and pillow case before bed.
Roman chamomile is a flowering plant that looks like a daisy but smells more like an apple. It is often used in teas to promote relaxation and sleep, but is also a popular ingredient in many skin care products, perfumes and hair products. In addition to helping with sleep, it can help support a healthy immune system.
Ylang ylang (pronounced eh-lang-eh-lang) essential oil comes from the star-shaped flowers of this tropical tree. It smells similar to jasmine and is often used to create a calm, positive environment. It also has anti-oxidant properties which makes it a popular ingredient in anti-aging skin care. Add 3-4 drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil to your diffuser or apply 1 drop to each foot before bed.
Jasmine is a beautiful white flowering plant found in tropical climates. Throughout ancient history jasmine has been used to help relieve stress, anxiety, and promote relaxation. It is still being used today for these purposes. And because of it’s intense floral scent, it is also used by many popular luxury fragrance brands to create perfumes. These brands include Gucci, Christian Dior, Michael Kors, and Oscar de la Renta.
To get a better night’s sleep, diffuse a few drops of Jasmine essential oil at night or combine with fractionated coconut oil and roll on the bottoms of your feet.
Oils extracted from cedar trees provide a lovely, woody smell and a multitude of benefits. These benefits include: creating a comforting and relaxing environment, promoting healthy hair and clear skin, improving focus, and decreases inflammation. Since cedar trees have such deep and wide roots, it also provides a grounding (or centering) effect to those who are exposed to the scent. Cedar is also a popular pest repellent which is why it is often used as mulch in gardens, and for keeping moths away in cedar chests and and closets.
I would recommend using Cedarwood Essential Oil through diffusion. It can also be used topically but it may cause skin irritation so be sure to dilute with a carrier oil before applying.
Frequently used in meditation, Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil helps to create a calming and grounding environment. It also helps with skin complexion so is a popular ingredient in natural skin-care products. To use, add to diffuser or apply to the neck or shoulders at bedtime for a better night’s sleep.
Unlike the other essential oils on this list that are flowers or trees, patchouli is extracted from the leaves of a bushy herb in the mint family. It’s musky scent has often been used in the perfume industry to create earthy fragrances. It has also been adopted by the skin-care industry because it has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes and evens out skin tone.
Additionally, it is considered a “sedative” oil because it eases stress, balances emotions and promotes relaxation of the body and mind. Add 3-4 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil to your diffuser before bed for a restful night’s sleep. You can also use it topically by diluting with a carrier oil and applying to temples or the bottoms of your feet.
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