Sleep is one of the most natural things we do. It’s healing. We go to bed tired and hopefully, we wake up feeling rested. Children, it seems, are able to fall asleep with little difficulty. Of course, there’s the child whose temperament and body seem to resist sleep like oil resists water.
If you or a loved one has trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, you don’t want to resort to sleeping medications unless it’s absolutely necessary. Sleeping pills leave you with a woozy “hangover” effect. It’s harder to become fully alert. If you or your family member have to go to work or school, staying sleepy during part of the morning just won’t do.
So. . . what’s next? Hypnosis? Counting sheep? Staying awake all day long, then well into the night so you’ll be able to fall asleep more easily tomorrow? Just giving up and thinking, “Well, that’s just the way I’m made?”
Those “methods” of falling asleep aren’t necessary. You don’t want to come to rely on sleeping pills, especially if you or a family member have a history of addiction. And for the sake of the job (or school and grades), sleep is a must-have. If you haven’t heard of or used essential oils, these may help you achieve the sleep you need.
How to Use Essential Oils
“These are natural, right? So that means I can just rub them anywhere. Maybe even on the baby’s feet.” Whoa, hold on there. Some essential oils can be rubbed on your feet, hands, arms, temples or other body parts. Some can’t. Herbs and essential oils made from cinnamon bark, lemongrass or peppermint are too strong and will burn sensitive skin. Even though that little bottle says its ingredients are “pure,” you shouldn’t believe it. You or one of your children may have an allergic reaction. To ensure safety, pat a tiny amount on a small area of your skin and look for a negative response.
If your essential oils are three years old or older, toss them. They do spoil. Look for a change in smell, feel or look. “If it’s something I can eat, I should be able to rub it on my skin.” No, not true. Citrus oils may harm your skin, especially if you go outside after applying it. But it’s safe in your food. Cumin oil can cause your skin to blister—but’s okay to use in your food. Eucalyptus oil is soothing when rubbed into your skin. So is sage oil. But if you try to swallow them, you may become severely ill.
Just because essential oils are natural, that doesn’t mean you can mingle them with prescription medications. A specific example uses one cancer drug: 5-fluorouracil, when combined with eucalyptus or peppermint oil can change how the drug is absorbed by your skin. You may experience hives, rashes or breathing issues. Some undiluted essential oils are very strong and can’t be used straight from the bottle. Dilute them with a carrier oil, bath gel or cream so that only a tiny amount of the oil comes in contact with your skin. Learn how to mix these oils correctly.
If you have a rash or cut on your skin, it will absorb too much oil and you’ll develop more skin reactions. If you try to use an undiluted oil, that can cause a dangerous reaction on your skin.
Babies and the elderly are highly sensitive to the effects of essential oils. Even if they are already diluted, dilute them even more. If you have wintergreen or birch oils, don’t use them on your kids at all. These oils contain methyl salicylate. Ask your pediatrician if you want to use essential oils on your baby.
Safe storage of essential oils is just as important as safely storing medications. ‘Nuf said. If you do develop a reaction, rinse it off with water and don’t use that oil any more. If you buy essential oils, buy them from a professional aromatherapist. If they went to a school certified by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, you know they are good.
Less is more. If you use too much, you could develop a bad reaction. Learn how to use essential oils. They can help you recover from nausea, fight infections or help you sleep better.
Frankincense helps to support healthy sleep, balances emotions, supports your healing response and helps to calm your emotions. No wonder that people who rely on essential oils reach for frankincense!
This essential oil is very well known for relaxation and sleep. If you have a headache, massaging a tiny amount into your temples helps to relieve the pain.
If you are reluctant to try sleeping medications, give lavender a whirl. Its gentle scent is soothing and helps your mind and body to relax. It’s a great remedy for anxiety—this flower contains anxiolytic or anxiety reducing effects. It may also help relieve pain. This flower also has sedative effects—that is, it helps you fall asleep. It may improve the quality of your sleep, help you to sleep longer and boost your daytime alertness.
Cedarwood is said to support the efficient function of your pineal gland. This leads to the release of melatonin, which is a natural sleep hormone. Its scent is unique and woody. If you don’t care for the smell, mix a little of this oil with lavender oil and rub it gently onto the bottoms of your feet. You’ll soon find yourself drifting off to sleep.
You and your family might enjoy the sweet scent of vanilla. This essential oil has a long history of inducing relaxation and the relief of stress for people who use it. It may also exert a sedative effect on your body. If you have a restless or hyperactive child, massaging a small amount onto the bottoms of their feet may help them relax and slow down.
This essential oil is also well-known for lowering blood pressure and relaxing the nervous system—think about how you feel when you walk into a house rich with the smell of baking cookies.
This essential oil is called “flower of flowers.” The flower has been used to cover the beds of newlyweds on their wedding nights throughout history.
The oil contained in this flower works to balance female and male energies. It also restores a quiet peace. Diffuse this oil 30 minutes before bedtime and keep using it in the diffuser through the night.
This floral essential oil seems to have some pretty strong sleep-promoting properties. It may improve the quality of your sleep and lessen the duration of restless sleep. Your daytime alertness may also be aided. Jasmine may be even more effective at aiding healthy sleep than lavender.
Approach the use of this essential oil carefully. While it can help you to relieve unwanted anxiety and help you to relax, it may also increase wakefulness in some people. For those who react well to sandalwood, it may have a sedative effect, increasing the duration of REM sleep and reducing your wakeful periods.
Even when you feel more relaxed after smelling sandalwood, you may find it difficult to stay asleep. Your level of alertness may also increase. To use these oils, add a few drops to your bath at night time. Or add them to a diffuser. Add a carrier oil to the essential oil, then gently massage them into your body. NEVER apply them directly to the tender skin of a baby or elderly person. Make note of which essential oils help you reach a healthy sleep and focus on using these.