We know; night time can sometimes be tough, right? The tendency in today’s society is often to rush around, always on overdrive - so much so, that we are often always ‘on,’ and can find it difficult to switch off!
It’s not surprising, really - when our minds are consumed with up to 80,000 thoughts a day – that with so much to process, many of us find it difficult to drift off at night. Combining that with stimulating food and drink, such as coffee, tea and chocolate, common nutritional deficiencies, little time for exercise, and our almost constant exposure to electronic devices – as well as our individual emotional experience - and is it any wonder we can’t settle?
We become tired, yet wired! It can be so frustrating to spend hours lying awake, and often we then experience even more concern about why we just can’t seem to drift off into the land of nod. But what can we do about it?
Well, natural solutions might be just what you need to help you unwind before going to sleep. This guide helps educate you about a pure approach to your own (and your family’s) night-time journey.
Whatever your reason for lying awake, safe use of essential oils can help you to become more balanced, calm your restless mind and return you to being more in-sync with your own natural wellbeing rhythms. So, read on for our top tips for using essential oils before you go to sleep.
If you’ve read our ‘Crash Course in Essential Oil Chemistry’ in our earlier blog, you’ll start to understand the kinds of natural chemical molecules involved in helping this process, and see how ‘esters’ and ‘sesquiterpenes’ can be useful in relaxing and calming your mind after a stressful day.
In blends, it is important to create synergy with a combination of chemicals working together, so choosing oils that work together well, chemically complementing each other, is important when looking to get a good rest.
We’ll be focusing on an overview of which individual oils have the best slumber-inducing ‘sedative’ and ‘relaxant’ properties, and then cover a few specific oils for different aetiologies, before aligning all the information in some favourite blends for you!
Table of Contents:
- Essential Oil Properties for Successful Slumber
- Essential Oils for Specific Challenges
- How To Use Essential Oils for a Successful Slumber
- Top Slumber Recipes
- Other Natural Techniques
Essential Oil Properties for Successful Slumber
We consider two types of essential oil properties that can be beneficial to you when seeking out ways to help you drift off at night: sedatives and relaxants.
Often, the sedative and relaxant oils overlap a little, but here we separate them out so you can get a good idea of how they work. You will find most sedative oils are also relaxing and vice versa, though.
Sedative oils can be really important in helping you to get into a deeply relaxed state of mind, which is ideal if you plan to soon take yourself off to bed to try and get to sleep.
One of the most sedative oils is Valerian - a base note with a warm, woody, musky odour. Valerian is from the Valerianaceae family, native to Europe and Asia, and is steam distilled from a herb that has been used for a variety of complaints since medieval times.
Why Use: In particular, it is useful for any nervous tension, restlessness or over-excitability, which makes it a great oil for the purposes of drifting off into dreamland!
Best Suits: It is an oil that is best suited to those who need emotional healing, are feeling stressed, down, hysterical or craving something, as it may help calm your mind, which in turn may help you drift off.
Chemical: Valerian’s main constituents include bornyl ester and isovalerate, which are sedating and induce relaxation.
Studies: Wu et al (2007) found a statistical significance for sedative effects from this oil on the nervous system.
Safety: It’s also non-toxic and non-irritant, but patch test to check sensitisation before use and, as with all essential oils, use in moderation.
Blends Well: It blends well with Patchouli, Lavender, Cedarwood and Mandarin.
An obvious choice for sedative properties is Lavender! A middle note with a beautiful, sweet, floral-herbaceous scent, Lavender is from the Lamiaceae family, native to the French Mediterranean, but now grown all over the world, and is steam distilled from the fresh flower.
Why Use: Pure Lavender helps balance a multitude of sins, but it is an excellent sedative to help you snooze.
Best Suits: Lavender is a great all-rounder. It’s popular with people suffering from emotional challenges such as burn-out, shock, trauma, stress, panic and anxious-feelings, and it’s a great relaxant. If there’s an essential oil to help you calm down before bed, it’s this one. The only challenge is, because our sense of smell is so linked to our memory, people can dislike Lavender. If that’s you, you might consider Sweet Marjoram a nice alternative!
Chemical: Lavender’s main constituent includes linalyl acetate and, from high altitudes, Lavenders can produce even more esters, which are very relaxing and sedating, with anti-inflammatory, calming properties.
Studies: There are lots of studies to support this: Ayik and Özden’s study (2018) suggested aromatherapy massage with Lavender helped increase sleep quality and reduce anxiety. Likewise, Faydali and Çetinkaya (2018) reported indicated improvement of sleep quality with Lavender.
Safety: Lavender is non-toxic and non-irritant, and generally non-sensitizing. Always patch test and use in moderation.
Blends Well: It blends well with most essential oils, especially any citrus or floral oils, such as Mandarin or Sweet Orange, Jasmine, or Ylang Ylang, and Vetiver, Cedarwood and Patchouli.
Chamomile: the epitome of calm! A middle note, with a warm, herby, yet slightly sweet scent, it is from the Asteracea family which is native to Europe. It is steam distilled from the flower heads.
Why Use: Chamomile has hugely sedative actions, and it is one of the well-known flowers for calming things down – you often find people drinking Chamomile Tea (don’t ingest the essential oil though!). In oil form, it is again useful for calming the nervous system, which makes it a great oil of choice for the evening.
Best Suits: Chamomile can help those who feel angry, irritable, alone, come up against aggression and who need soothing. It is great for those who are prone to emotional burn-out, strong emotions, and anyone who needs calming.
Chemical: Chamomile mainly contains esters, which means it is highly relaxing and sedative.
Studies: There are many studies into the use of Chamomile at night time. Adib-Hajbaghery and Mousavi (2017) conclude that the use of chamomile plant extract can significantly improve sleep quality, which suggests that it’s a great oil to use around bedtime to encourage a good night’s rest.
Safety: Chamomile is available in different variations – Roman and German being the most common. The oils are generally considered to be non-toxic and non-irritant, but some people may be allergic to it. As always don’t use undiluted on the skin and don’t ingest.
Blends Well: Chamomile blends well with most florals, including Rose, Jasmine and Lavender, as well as Bergamot, Clary Sage and Neroli.
Ylang Ylang is another great sedative oil. A base note, with an intensely sweet, soft, floral perfume scent, it is from the Annonaceae family, which is native to tropical Asia, particularly Indonesia and the Philippines. It is steam-distilled from freshly picked flowers.
Why Use: Ylang Ylang is a beautiful sedative which helps with nervous tension, and feelings of stress. It has an affinity to the nervous system, and is very soothing and uplifting, helping release emotions. Because of this it can really help in the evening before sleep.
Best Suits: Suited to those who are in need of counteracting negative emotions, suffering emotionally, feeling guilty, jealous, resentful, a little bit fearful or phobic (perhaps about night-time), worried about rejection, self-blaming and with low self-esteem and not very assertive, this essential oil can really help release emotion to help stay in a peaceful dream-like state.
Chemical: Ylang Ylang’s main constituents include esters such as methyl benzoate and linalool, which make it uplifting and sedative – great for bedtime.
Safety: Ylang Ylang can be sensitizing, so start with low dilutions, patch test and always use in moderation.
Blends Well: Similar to Jasmine, it goes well with many florals, as well as Sweet Orange, Neroli, Vetiver, Bergamot, and Rose.
Beautiful Patchouli is another great sedative oil. A base note with a sweet yet deeply earthy scent, it is from the Lamiacea family and is native to tropical Asia. It is steam distilled from the dried leaves.
Why Use: Having an affinity with the nervous system, this oil is great for nervous exhaustion and feelings of stress, which makes it ideal to use before you decide to go to sleep.
Best Suits: In particular, this oil is suited to those suffering with feeling low, anxiety, lack of confidence, suppressed anger, mood swings, negative thoughts, and those in need of a bit of positivity! If that’s you, try this oil.
Chemical: Patchouli contains its own natural sesquiterpene alcohol, which means that is it sedative, grounding and emotionally balancing – great for before bed.
Studies: Ito (2011) discussed a link between Patchouli (sesquiterpene) alcohol and elongation of sleeping time.
Safety: Pachouli is non-toxic and non-irritant, and non-sensitising, but as with all essential oils, always patch test before use and use in moderation.
Blends Well: Patchouli blends well with Vetiver, Sandalwood, Rose, Lavender, Bergamot Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang.
Top 5 Relaxant Essential Oils
We’ve highlighted the sedative oils for you, but there are some great relaxant oils which are excellent to use in the run up to bed-time. These relaxants can help you get in the right frame of mind before bed, helping you to feel calm and wind-down ready for a good night’s rest.
Ah, restful Rose! There are so many variations of Rose, but Damask is best. A rich, deeply floral, sweet scent, it is a middle note from the Rosaceae family which is Native originally to the Orient and now mainly cultivated in Europe, particularly France. It is steam distilled from the fresh petals.
Why Use: Rose is such a comforting, relaxing oil, which has an affinity for the mind and the nervous system, calming emotions and creating feelings of ease and happiness. This is just what you need on the run up to bedtime to help you switch off!
Best Suits: For deep sadness and grief, feelings of being unloved or any matter of the heart which are keeping you awake, Rose is the essential oil. Suiting those who need to express their emotions, but don’t; those who need to be calmer, and to feel balanced, and perhaps those who feel alone, or are suffering from shock. This oil is a wonderful tonic to the mind and emotions, instilling a real sense of peace.
Chemical: Rose contains the monoterpenes citronellol, geraniol and nerol, because it is still uplifting whilst also relaxing.
Studies: Igarashi et al (2014) concluded that there was a link between Rose (and Orange) essential oil induced physiological and psychological relaxation. What more could we want before bed?
Safety: Tisserand and Young recommend a maximum dermal use of 0.6% for Rose Damask. Other variations of Rose will vary.
Blends Well: Rose’s beautiful scent blends with most oils and synergises well. In particular, it goes very nicely for aiding slumber when blended with other florals and citruses, such as Lavender, Geranium, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, Sweet Orange, Mandarin and Bergamot.
Bergamot – the ultimate relaxant!
Originally cultivated in Italy, where it was named after one of the Italian cities, Bergamot is a top note from the Rutaceae family, which is now native to tropical Asia. With its fresh, sweet-yet-slightly-floral aroma, it has a slightly balsamic undertone. It is cold-expressed from the peel of the newly ripe fruit.
Why Use: Bergamot is completely relaxing so popular with people who feel anxious and stressed. It is refreshing and uplifting, but is a great relaxant.
Best Suits: If you suffer with feelings of anxiety and fear, helplessness or exhaustion from grief and just can’t switch your over-active mind off, then Bergamot is for you.
Chemical: Chemically, Bergamot includes esters, linalyl acetate, and other sesquiterpenes, again being relaxing and calming.
Studies: Rombolà et al’s (2017) observations highlight insight into the use of Bergamot with support for its use in aromatherapy as a relaxant, which supports that it could be a useful evening essential oil.
Safety: Bergamot can be phototoxic and so caution should be taken in topical applications not to go into the sun for 12-24 hours. Old/oxidised oils should be avoided. Tisserand and Young state a max dermal use to avoid phototoxicity of 0.4%. As with all essential oils, always dilute and patch test before use and use in moderation.
Blends Well: Bergamot is beautifully synergised with Lavender, Neroli and Jasmine for aiding slumber, as not only do their chemical molecules complement each other’s relaxant and sedative properties, but they smell beautiful together.
Native to south India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, Vetiver is the ‘oil of tranquillity,’ with its deeply earthy, woody aroma. It is a base note, steam distilled from the roots and rootlets of this herbal grass.
Why Use: Vetiver is a deep relaxant for the physical body. Use when feeling down, debilitated or tense. It helps muscles and joints to relax as well as the mind.
Best Suits: This particular oil suits those who are completely debilitated from overwork, or anything intellectual. Any emotional weakness, disconnection and disorientation, or feelings of unworthiness and if you feel down or anxious. Using Vetiver can help lift these feelings and if you manage to clear your mind before bed, you might just get a good night’s sleep.
Chemical: Vetiver’s chemical make-up includes vetiverol sesquiterpinols, and vetivone ketones which show it is a relaxant but also has a stimulating element which helps with reviving debilitated, heavy muscles and joints associated with severe burn-out.
Safety: Vetiver is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitising, but as with all essential oils, always dilute and patch test before use and use in moderation.
Blends Well: Vetiver synergises well with Sandalwood, Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, Lavender, Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang for slumber because its chemical molecules complement relaxant effects, and the scents complement each other.
Sandalwood is a great essential oil often associated with Male fragrances. From the Santalaceae family, it is native to tropical Asia, and it is a base note which is steam-distilled from sandalwood roots and heartwood. Its scent is a soft, musky, woody, balsamic aroma.
Why Use: Sandalwood is an uplifting sedative which helps relax the nervous system, aiding nervous-tension and feelings of stress. It is balancing and connecting and meditative, which makes it great for night time when you want to be in a hypnotic state!
Best Suits: In particular, it suits feelings of anxiety and nervous-tension which are linked to obsessive behaviour, insecurity, and which manifests as irritability and aggression.
Chemical: Sandalwood is a mix of esters and sesquiterpenes, making it super-relaxing.
Safety: Depends on the Sandalwood but generally speaking a max dermal use level of 2% (Tisserand and Young).
Blends Well: Sandalwood synergises well with Rose, Lavender, Bergamot, Vetiver, Patchouli and Jasmine because of its chemical content and scent compliment.
Sweet Orange is one of the really cheery oils that can soothe us at the same time as uplifting us. From the Rutaceae family, it is native to China and cultivated round the world. A top note, with a fresh, fruity, sweet citrus aroma, it is cold expressed from the fresh, ripe, outer peel of the orange.
Why Use: Sweet Orange is an oil to inspire happiness, yet relax and calm you before you head off to the land of nod.
Best Suits: Sweet Orange is for you if you are feeling withdrawn, worried, sad or burned out with your lack of slumber as it is warming and soothing, in a happy and balancing way.
Chemical: Funnily enough, Sweet Orange is 95% monoterpenes (limonene), which is what makes it uplifting. However, 5% of its other chemical constituents are what make it super-relaxing – and they are what creates it overall fragrance, meaning it is a relaxant overall.
Studies: Igarashi et al (2014) study as already mentioned, suggested there was a link between Orange (and Rose) essential oil for relaxation.
Safety: Sweet Orange can be phototoxic and so caution should be taken in topical applications not to go into the sun for 12-24 hours after use. Otherwise, it is generally non-toxic and relatively non-irritant, but as with all essential oils, always dilute and patch test before use and use in moderation. Tisserand and Young state max dermal use of 1.25% to avoid phototoxicity. Avoid old/oxidised oils which can cause sensitisation.
Blends Well: Sweet Orange synergises well with Lavender, Neroli, Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang to aid relaxation at night, in particular because these other oils are also chemically relaxing and have complimenting scents.
Top 10 Additional Oils fr Slumber: Getting Creative
As well as the main oils we have gone through above, there are some other great sedative and relaxant oils you can add into the mix if you want to get a bit creative with your blends:
- Clary Sage
- Sweet Marjoram
You can try adding these into blends if you fancy a change every now and then. Follow your nose!
Essential Oils for Specific Challenges
Just FYI, essential oils do not replace advice from your doctor and you should always seek advice from your doctor for any medical complaints or issues. Essential oils are not a cure for any medical condition or ailment and do not replace medicine, but many people claim that they help support holistic health and wellness.
Now we’ve covered some basics, let’s look at some specific issues. If you’re struggling to drift off for a particular reason, that you know just causes you an issue, essential oils might just be able to help you when adding them into your mix.
Here are some common ones, along with the essential oil solutions relevant to that particular problem:
With holistic therapies, like Aromatherapy, it is important to address the cause of why you have difficulty snoozing! We look at the whole person and see where the imbalance is.
Sometimes, if we are ‘stuck in our heads’, it can be a real challenge to drift off.
Often this is because we are experiencing difficult emotions or overthinking at night. In this scenario, there are a few oils that are particularly great for helping to release emotional overload. Using these oils, at any time of day, could really help:
- Bergamot: anxiety and fear
- Chamomile: anger
- Lavender: emotional burn-out
- Patchouli: anxiety and low confidence
- Rose: sadness and grief
- Sandalwood: sadness and nervousness
- Sweet Orange: anxious feelings, feelings of stress, sadness
- Valarian: hysteria, stressed feelings
- Vetiver: intellectual over-work and stressed feelings
- Ylang Ylang: jealousy, guilt and blame
Often, if we aren’t getting enough rest, it’s common to wake up feeling tired in the morning. This can be because our body has forgotten its natural rhythm. One particular essential oil to help remind the body of what it is meant to be doing is Lemon.
Lemon essential oil chemically contains limonene, which means it is stimulating and so, when used in the morning to support these other night-time blends, it can really help the process by reminding the body to do that it is meant to do at the various different times of the day. Basically – a nice reminder to “wake up, body!”
Pop a few drops directly into your shower gel (2-3 drops in 10ml) in the morning to complement the other blends you are using at night. Lemon is photosensitive, like the other citrus oils, though, so ensure you do not go in the sun for 12 hours after use. If you are, pop a few drops in the diffuser in the morning whilst you’re getting ready, instead!
A common night-time issue is experiencing interrupted breathing. This can be both serious and scary so you should seek professional medical advice. Here we will just talk about oils that could help to clear your respiratory system and support a clear head.
Of the oils we have already covered, Valerian and Chamomile will be good for a night-time blend. However, it might also be worth considering using Sweet Marjoram, Thyme or Eucalyptus to help you breathe as these essential oils are expectorant and mucolytic properties, helping support the respiratory system.
An inhalation early evening might help with this: try adding 4 drops Sweet Marjoram, 2 drops Thyme and 2 drops Valerian to a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel, close your eyes and breathe in the steam.
We all know that feeling… You’ve just dropped off and - all of a sudden - you’re awake again!
Well, fear not because the oils listed earlier in this article might help improve this and get you deeper into a slumber by helping you to relax and unwind earlier in the evening. In particular, Valerian and Vetiver are the oils of choice to try – these are the ultimate oils with sedative and relaxant properties.
Apart from that, always make sure that you’ve taken measures to prevent anything that is likely to wake you up: switch off your phone, close your curtains, keep a journal by your bed if you have too many thoughts and you keep wanting to write them down; the options are endless. Just make sure you don’t have any distractions.
Who doesn’t want to sort their partner’s snoring?
Well, there are some tips you can try to fend off those grizzly growls from your loved one during the night. The best oils that might help you to savage the snore are Thyme, Sweet Marjoram and Eucalyptus because of their link to the respiratory system.
Try and use these in a synergetic blend with some more relaxing and sedating oils though, as they are quite stimulating, so this will need balancing out – otherwise you might still be up all night due to your mind being alert!
For example, try a beautiful night-time massage blend of 3 drops Chamomile, 2 drops Lavender and 1 drop Thyme in 15ml of Grapeseed Oil, and apply it to the snorer’s chest before bed. Alternatively, you can blend this in water in a diffuser early evening.
How To Use Essential Oils for a Successful Slumber
Now we’ve discussed which oils can be really useful to use at night before you decide to try and go to sleep, this section guides you in a variety of techniques you can use to get them into your system – all with different benefits!
We’ll discuss how to select which oils to blend as well as some methods for using essential oils at night time, in the lead up to going to bed, or even whilst in bed!
People can get so worried about creating the “perfect blend” and often this can put unnecessary barriers in the way of using essential oils. A top tip for blending is to follow your natural instinct. All you need is already within – your body tends to know what it needs in its own journey to wellbeing! Often, blending is very intuitive.
Having said that, there is some theory underpinning how aromatherapists blend. We use essential oils for 2 purposes: one to create a therapeutic blend that will aid our wellbeing, and two, to have a beautiful fragrance that we can resonate with.
We aim for a ‘synergetic’ blend - one in which essential oils complement each other chemically to support the overall therapeutic action.
Generally, oils from the same botanical group (e.g. florals, citrus), or those working to achieve the same action (i.e. relaxants/sedatives that we have listed in this article) complement each other well. However, if it doesn’t smell right – for example, if one overpowers the blend (Ylang Ylang can often be a strong oil), or if one just doesn’t seem to smell nice with another, then you can just adapt.
There’s also an idea that it is nice to create a harmonic blend, using a top, middle and base note. This isn’t set in stone, but it can be nice to create a balance, though it may be likely to be more middle and base notes that will aid slumber.
My advice is: don’t get too stressed - just follow our guidance, your intuition, and the smell of the oils.
Use your nose, smelling the oil from the bottle, to see whether you like the essential oils you wish to blend together before actually blending - both as individual oils, and then the three you like best altogether. The oils we need are generally are the ones we like the smell of. So, go with your instinct and blend with all the confidence in the world!
Here are a few different methods for getting you bedtime-ready!.
Diffusing gets the oils into your body via the olfactory system (sense of smell), which will have you dreaming in no time! So, the first method option for utilising essential oils is via diffusion – either with an electrical diffuser which you can plug in, or with a candle burner. We recommend an electrical version because you can leave this on as you drift off depending on the timer settings, where you wouldn’t want to leave a candle burning.
Choose up to 3 oils (how to choose is discussed within the ‘Top Slumber Recipes’ section below), and add up to 8 drops mixed with water, and diffuse the blend into the room either 2 hours before bed if it’s to calm you before bed, or during the night if it’s to help you get a deeper slumber.
If you enjoy massage then you can really pamper yourself before bed and make yourself a blend to enjoy either rubbing into your own skin, or getting a partner to (especially if it’s them that’s snoring and keeping you awake!). This is a really lovely routine to get into before bedtime as it’s a really nice method of self-care, which forces you into some mindful ‘you’ time.
Really, if you’re over-working and looking after everyone else all the time, this is the method for you as it will help you calm down before you aim to drop off. It’s such a lovely relaxation method to.
It’s so important to dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin, and we do this by putting them into a carrier oil. We never apply them neat. Carriers don’t really have many properties to help support slumber-time, particularly, but, what they do affect is your skin.
So, briefly, here are some guidelines to selecting carrier oils before you go to sleep.
For oily skin types, use Grapeseed Oil as your carrier, as this is a light oil which will not be too heavy and oily for you. This oil contains Vitamin E, linoleic acid and has a low odour.
For dry skin, Jojoba is a lovely choice, as it is anti-inflammatory, moisturising, and has high Vitamin E content, which mimics the skin’s natural makeup, and can aid elasticity and collagen.
For sensitive skin, you might want to try Apricot Kernel which soothes inflammation and moisturises.
If you are suffering with physical fatigue which is impacting your night-time routine, it might be nice to consider a carrier infused with Arnica oil as this is great for muscles.
If you suffer from respiratory conditions, then Hazel can be a nice choice.
Mixing and Applying Topically:
Whatever your choice of carrier oil, the directions are crucial. For the body, you can often mix up to a maximum 6 total drops of a mix of 3 different essential oils in 15ml of carrier oil (e.g. 2 drops of each) and stir before applying. This is the maximum dilution that you should use. For the face, it’s usually just 1 drop of 1 essential oil in 5ml.
The above is just a very general guideline though. You need to check the safety recommendations for each individual essential oil you plan to use as they can vary.
Once you’ve blended your oils, massage them gently and softly onto your skin, always in the direction towards your heart. This movement helps lymphatic drainage, which can also help cleanse your system, ready for hitting the hay and drifting into a restful sleep.
You can use our handy dilution calculator to help you.
Another nice little ritual to help you wind down and calm your mind, body and soul ready for supporting a good night’s sleep, is to have an Aromatherapy bath!
This is a great way to get the essential oils into your system. Firstly, take a cup of full fat milk and add up to 6 total drops of 3 different essential oils (e.g. 2 drops of each). This is now your bath milk!
Close all the windows and doors, run yourself a nice warm bath, and add the bath milk to it. Spend some time sitting in the bath, deeply breathing in the beautiful aromas, having some uninterrupted bliss before bed, and see how it affects your sweet dreams.
You might even want to try and meditate whilst you’re at it!
If that’s not enough, you can also try making a beautiful ‘Snooze Spritz’. Get a 100ml spray bottle, and add up to 30 total drops of up to 3 essential oils in 100ml of hydrolat (flower water) - e.g. 10 drops of each.
You can mist your bed or your pyjamas with your beautiful blend before bedtime and see how that helps you feel! Even better, if you wake during the night you can spritz yourself again to drift back off. Great it you’re a “waker.”
Little ones are a bit different, because you have to remember that essential oils are strong and powerful, so we adapt to suit.
Firstly, we change the dosage to less:
- 1-2 drops total of essential oil in 15ml carrier for infants age 1-5
- 3 drops total of essential oil in 15ml carrier for children age 6-12
- Diffusion – 1 drop (babies), to 3 drops (children) in 15ml water in a diffuser
- Bath – 2 drops (infants), 3 drops (children) in full fat milk
- Spritz – 12 drops (infants) or 18 drops (children) of essential oil in 100ml water
- You can also pop the appropriate amount of drops for the age range (above – 1-3 drops) on a cotton pad and leave to subtly diffuse the scent into the room.
Secondly, there are only certain oils for each age range that are recommended to support slumber:
- Infants – 1-5 years: Chamomile, Lavender, Mandarin, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Rose
- Children – 6-12 years: Chamomile, Lavender, Mandarin, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Rose, Vetiver, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang
Finally, there are some notes on pregnancy:
- Always get GP or midwife consent before using essential oils during pregnancy
- Reduce dosage of essential oil to 2-3 drops in 15ml carrier.
- Check the safety recommendations of the individual oil before use.
Please note: if you are pregnant or suffering any medical conditions or on medication, you should always seek medical advice before using essential oils. Avoid using citrus oils in the sun as they are photosensitive and check the safety of the individual oil before use.
Top Slumber Recipes
Given all the above advice on how to synergise and the techniques you can enjoy essential oils with, here are some favourite blends!
- To settle your nervous system before bed, and really wind down, try diffusing 3 drops Lavender, 3 drops Patchouli and 2 drops Valerian in water
- For a sweet synergy before bed, diffuse 3 drops Sweet Orange, 3 drops Lavender and 2 drops Ylang Ylang in water
- For a more woody bedtime diffuser blend, try 3 drops Sandalwood, 3 drops Bergamot and 2 drops Valerian in water
- For an emotionally calming, soul rejuvenating blend, diffuse 4 drops Rose, 3 drops Lavender and 1 drop Ylang Ylang in water
- For a calming and relaxing general blend, try 3 drops Sandalwood, 3 drops Sweet Orange and 2 drops Lavender in water
- To add in some different additional oils, try diffusing 4 drops Lavender, 2 drops Clary Sage, and 2 drops Geranium in water!
- To really relax your whole body ready for night time, make a massage blend of 2 drops Valerian, 2 drops Chamomile and 2 drops Patchouli in 15ml of your choice of carrier oil
- For some serious soul pampering, indulge yourself in a cocoon of luxurious blends of emotionally balancing oils: 3 drops Rose, 2 drops Sweet Orange, and 1 drop Lavender in 15ml carrier
- To aid muscle aches before bed, as well as help soothe the mind, try 2 drops Vetiver, 2 drops Sandalwood and 2 drops Rose in 15ml carrier
- To pamper your skin, add 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Rose and 2 drops Chamomile, remembering to select 15ml of your skin type’s best carrier oil
- To counter anxiety, relax yourself with self-massage using 3 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Patchouli and 1 drop Rose in 15ml carrier
- For something different, try a massage blend including 3 drops Jasmine, 2 drops Neroli and 1 drop Rose in 15ml carrier
Slumber Steam Bath
- To enjoy some ‘time for you’ in the bath, try winding down with 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Ylang Ylang and 2 drops Sandalwood in a cup of full fat milk, added to your bath
- For a floral bath blend, try beautiful 3 drops Lavender, 2 drops Rose and 1 drop Ylang Ylang in a cup of full fat milk
- For a more ‘masculine’ scented bath blend, add 3 drops Sandalwood, 2 drops Valerian and 1 drop Bergamot in a cup of full fat milk.
- To really help you deeply relax, try 3 drops Valerian, 2 drops Chamomile and 1 drop Rose in a cup of full fat milk
- For emotional support, enjoy the warm embrace of your bath water, mixed with beautiful 2 drops Patchouli, 2 drops Rose and 2 drops Sweet Orange in a cup of full fat milk.
- For a meditative bathtime before bed, to get you ‘zoned out’, try a bath blend of 3 drops Patchouli, 2 drops Sweet Orange and 1 drop Myrrh in a cup of full fat milk.
- For an evening pre-bed spritz, to prepare you for a good night’s sleep, try blending 15 drops Bergamot, 10 drops Chamomile and 5 drops Ylang Ylang in 100ml of Orange or Chamomile hydrolat or water.
- For a night-time bed blend, create a spritz including 15 drops Patchouli, 10 drops Rose, and 5 drops Valerian in 100ml of Rose hydrolat or water.
- To help you stay snoozing, spritz this blend of 15 drops Lavender 10 drops Chamomile, and 5 drops Vetiver in 100ml Chamomile or Lavender hydrolat or water.
- To maybe help with snoring, whilst still aiding winding down, try spritzing 15 drops Lavender, 10 drops Benzoin and 5 drops Thyme in 100ml Lavender hydrolat or water.
- To relax your nervous system throughout the day, spritz 10 drops Rose, 10 drops Chamomile and 10 drops Bergamot in 100ml of Rose or Lavender hydrolat or water, all day long so that you can ease into a good night’s slumber!
For a hypnotic spritz to keep you calm, try 15 drops Cedarwood, 10 drops Patchouli and 5 drops Rose in 100ml Lavender hydrolat or water.
Other Natural Techniques
Now you’ve got all the information you need to craft your beautiful blend, there are also some complementary holistic techniques you can use to support your night time journey before you go to sleep…
Exercise: Make Time for You
The most important thing to do before anything else is to make time for yourself to wind-down before bed. Yes, there are so many things to do – always. But, if you want to get a good slumber, you need to prioritise your wellbeing. You are important!
So, grab your essential oils, and set aside some ‘wind-down’ time for yourself. Lie and listen to some music, have a nice bath, give yourself a massage, and do something gentle and calming that makes your heart feel full. You might even want to try some of the below exercise recommendations…
Exercise: Meditation and Breathing
This technique is really great before bed because it can help create a really deep connection to your inner-peace and give you some space to reconnect to yourself.
Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult, which is a common perception. All you need to do, it find yourself 15 minutes of uninterrupted space, perhaps take a journal with you to note down any emotional or physical reactions afterwards, get your essential oils on the go – whether your massage blend, or diffusion, or your spritz – and sit in a comfortable position.
You might be cross legged, you might be sitting on a cushion – it doesn’t matter – this is your time.
Sit with a tall spine and at the same time melt into the ground. Close your eyes, and just sit in silence for 10-15 minutes, focusing on your breath. If you start to focus on thoughts, just observe what they are and come back to your breath. You can try inhaling for a count of 6, pausing for a count of 4 at the top of your inhale, and exhaling for a count of 8 – repeating this as many times as you can.
If a repeated thought comes up, allow yourself a break to write it down in your journal, and let it go. Meditation isn’t about getting rid of your thoughts, it is about observing them. A great meditative oil you can diffuse is Myrrh, so you might consider adding this into the mix for this exercise!
Exercise: Try Yoga
You might also try a yoga class to help your body restore balance ready for bed; even some simple exercises can help. Go to a local class, try an online yoga session (YouTube has tons), or if you can find a ‘yoga nidra’ session, this will have you drifting off in no time!
Exercise: Turn Off Tech
This one is important. We are so hooked to our phones that often this can be one of the main challenges to drifting off at night. Hale and Guan (2015) found screen time to be adversely associated with sleep outcomes; much evidence suggests that the blue light emitted by our phones, computers, tablets and TV’s suppresses melatonin, which is the hormone that controls your night-time rhythms.
So, this one’s simple: a few hours before bed, cut down your use of technology and see if this makes a difference… Swap your tech for essential oils.
Exercise: Cut Caffeine
Likewise, do a check of your caffeine intake before bed. Things like coffee, tea, and chocolate all contain caffeine, which is stimulating your system and can, therefore, keep you awake.
Some of these tips are well-known, but if you can combine all of the above into a consistent night time routine, you’ll be dozing in no time. Sometimes our bodies just need a reminder of what they are meant to be doing – and we just need to remember that we are important enough to focus on our wellbeing.
So, grab your essential oils, plan your new bedtime routine and enjoy…