I love essential oils and have been using them for years. They are powerful tools in a herbalist’s armoury. They are great for inhalations on tissues, diffused in a room, adding to base oils and creams and, for emotional and physical health.
Essential oils are strong, concentrated extracts from specific plant parts – often the fragrant flowers but not always.
So, how can these beautiful remedies aid your sleep?
Many of the essential oils suggested here are also used as whole plant herbal remedies. Just like with herbal remedies, blends of essential oils are a great way to partner and amplify the benefits of each oil.
Choosing the right oils for you can be a bit of an art. If you read up on an oil, look at all of its benefits and find the best fit for you. After all, plants are complex and full of wonderful and often differing actions.
Oils for insomnia: Lavender, Marjoram, Mandarin, Clary sage, Valerian, Hops, Chamomile roman, Sandalwood, Lemon, Cistus.
Choose based on liking the smell as well as its potential action. Hops are very bitter to taste and don’t smell all that great to me and as a result, it woudn’t be high up my list. However, they are cooling and oestrogenic so could be very useful for eg insomnia due to menopausal hot sweats. I don’t find lavender soporific but it does help clear my mind and I love the smell so I would put it in a blend for churning mind insomnia.
As I am not an aromatherapist, I have borrowed some recipe blend suggestions for insomnia of specific causes from Valerie Ann Worwood’s marvellous book ‘The Fragrant Mind’
- Nightmares: Lavender 15, Chamomile roman 5, Mandarin 10 drops.
- Noise waking you: Lavender 10, Lemon 15, Vetiver 5 drops
- Restlessness: Vetiver 10, Clary sage 10, Lemon 10 drops
- Fitfulness: Marjoram 5, Lavender 15, Lemon 10 drops
- Anxiety: Chamomile roman 10, Sandalwood 15, Lemon 5 drops
- Worry: Cistus 5 drops, Lavender 15 drops
- Exhaustion: Valerian 5, Lemon 10, Mandarin 10 drops
Exercise caution and use only 1 drop of a blend when you first try it out – I find that too much of a smell, however much I like it will keep me awake as I have a keen sense of smell. Blends can take a little while to settle after making them so don’t give up if you think ‘yuck’ immediately after blending.
please source essential oils responsibly. Like any plant, they need to be grown sustainably in order for all of us to continue benefitting from them.
Essential oil companies I like to use: Materia Aromatica, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Aqua Oleum. I also source from herbal suppliers. Buy from your local health food shop as they will have thought carefully about whose ranges they choose to stock.
CAUTION: most essential oils should be put in a carrier oil for application to the skin, most are not suitable in pregnancy unless under practitioner direction and none are suitable for self-directed internal ingestion.
Just as an aside, essential oils have become very popular recently and the company promotes internal use of oils. This is not a good idea unless you are trained in medicine and pharmacology. It upsets me greatly that people are being invited to put multiples of drops in drinking water as a regular thing. It is commonplace eg in France to take essential oils internally but they are bought in pharmacies, produced for that purpose and have regulations surrounding them.