Essential oils have been a natural wellness staple for centuries. While they have many applications, the most popular by far is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is said to have been born in Ancient Egypt when plant fragrances were culturally necessary for cosmetic purposes, but also for their embalming and burial rituals.
Essential oils seem simple, but it takes a lot of plant matter to produce a little bit of oil. Not to mention, choosing them can be tough. Some are diluted because the straight oil is too harsh for direct exposure, while others are diluted to cut costs (which, incidentally, decreases efficacy).
That’s why it’s key to read up on what brands you buy. But if you’re still clueless as to what to use essential oils for, we recommend starting with sleep! Give any one of the following a try on your pillow or in a diffuser, and see if they can help you drift off and enjoy a better night’s rest.
Lavender – Even if you know next to nothing about essential oils, you’re probably still aware of how lavender is a relaxing pick. It’s used in so many products and spa services that it’s difficult to miss!
The upside of being such a well-known pick is that there’s likely to be some supporting research. Indeed, lavender can have a positive impact on anxiety and mild insomnia. Since it’s so pleasant, gentle, and well-tolerated for many, feel free to layer to fragrance with a light natural lotion, pillow mist, and oil diffuser.
There are various types of lavender from which oil is made. When choosing a lavender essential oil, look for one labeled as containing the extract from Lavandula angustifolia. Fortunately, this is a common variety and should not be difficult to track down.
Ylang-ylang – While certain noses are averse to lavender, almost everyone loves a hint of ylang-ylang. This Indonesian bloom ends up in everything from alluring perfumes to luxury shampoos.
It’s also demonstrated effective in reducing stress, which spells great news for your ability to fall asleep. Just be aware that you should not apply undiluted ylang-ylang directly to your skin.
Valerian – If you’ve struggled with your sleep cycle and have looked up natural ways to fix it, you’ve probably come across valerian. However, the herbal supplements aren’t for everyone and can have undesirable side effects for some.
That’s why we recommend Valerian for aromatherapy, and not necessarily because it smells good. Its earthy, woodsy aroma can register as pretty musty.
However, if you’ve already tried the usual suspects, you might be shocked at how effective valerian is. What it lacks in “This smells great,” it makes up for in, “Wow! This really works!”
Chamomile – This is a great pick simply because so many of us have already enjoyed a cup of chamomile tea at bedtime. Safe and familiar, comforting chamomile helps us release muscle tension and worry for some much-needed rest.
Don’t just take our word for it; researchers speculate that it comes down to a flavonoid called apigenin. This flavonoid works on the same receptors in the brain that prescription tranquilizers do, just to a lesser, easier to control degree.
How do you fall asleep at night? Do you have any favorite essential oils or tips for choosing them? Share below in the comments!