We usually think of sight and hearing as our main senses, but what we smell has the strongest impact on our emotions. The olfactory receptors in our brain connect directly to the limbic system, where emotions begin.
This may be why essential oils — the distilled essence of various plants and flowers — are so potent.
There are over 90 types of essential oils, all with unique impacts on the body and mind. And they are extremely concentrated. For example, it’s estimated that it takes roughly 220 pounds of lavender flowers to produce a single pound of lavender oil!
People use essential oils for all kinds of things. Some essential oils boost energy, while others relieve pain, kill germs, reduce stress or soothe the skin.
That said, one of my favorite applications for essential oils is to prepare my bedroom before I sleep – in order to get beautiful and restorative Zzzs.
It seems like everyone’s sleep is a little off-kilter these days, and a lot of people’s internal rhythms could use some TLC.
So without further ado, here are 2 essential oils to help you catch some better Zzs and sleep like a baby!
1) Lavender Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender oil not only helps you fall asleep. Studies have shown that it can also improve the quality of your sleep.
Even for people with insomnia, this heaven-sent aromatherapy oil can increase the amount of deep, slow-wave slumber that a person gets.
Lavender oil has the added benefits of relieving anxiety, stress and depression – all of which are related to sleeping difficulties.
Physiologically, lavender oil also lowers your blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn relaxes you.
2) Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot is a citrus fruit that grows in the tropics and in the warmer climates of Europe. It’s a hybrid of bitter orange and lemon, according to genetic researchers.
Bergamot essential oil is a fantastic calming agent, lowering heart rate and blood pressure – and reducing anxiety. Many people say it puts them right to sleep… and it certainly does that for me!
We recommend using bergaptene-free or furocoumarin-free bergamot that is not phototoxic, meaning it does not irritate skin when exposed to the sun.
Here are some of the most popular – and correct – ways to use essential oils:
- Use an oil diffuser. An oil diffuser is a device that disperses the molecules of an essential oil into the air of a room. There are different types of electronic oil diffusers out there that use different types of technology, but they all work pretty well. You can also create your own oil diffuser of sorts if you want. Just put half a cup of water and four or five drops of oil into a spray bottle, shake it around a little, and off you go.
- Inhale it from the bottle. Simple and straightforward. And you’ll know immediately if it’s too overpowering!
- Apply it to your body. Use moderation if you do this – just a drop or two here and there. Do not slather! Most people will place drops on their wrists or neck or behind their ears – traditional pressure points.
- Use it in the bathtub! Ooh, this is luxurious. Put a couple drops into your bathwater and then settle in for a nice, loooong soak. You will mellow out blissfully. Still use a carrier oil or add a little Castile soap!
- Put a drop or three on your pillow. This is my personal favorite. Put the essential oil side down and sleep well!
- Spray on an eye pillow. I love this one too. Dilute in a small amount of water and even smaller amount of carrier oil. Place in a spray bottle, then put the essential oil side up (not directly over your eyes).
When you start experimenting with essential oils, remember to pay close attention to how they make you feel in your body and mind. Scents are subtle and complex. Your experience of an essential oil will be personal and unique to you.
If you use them correctly, essential oils shouldn’t give you any side effects. They are natural and safe, strong but gentle.
And the ones I’ve recommended above will help you sleep!
Host of Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness
& Founder of The Sacred Science