How many mornings do you wake up feeling groggy and saying, “I didn’t sleep well.” For me, it’s been too many mornings to count! Thankfully, the world of holistic health has many options to help promote restful sleep.
From herbal tea to aromatherapy, restful sleep is not far away. Let’s look at aromatherapy options first….
Aromatherapy to Promote Restful Sleep
Before going to bed, spray this blend of relaxing essential oils onto your blankets and curtains. It fills the room with a lovely fragrance and helps you fall asleep easily and comfortably.
My three-year-old often says, “Spray my bed, Mommy!”
Fill a two-ounce spray bottle with pure water and add:
- 2 drops ylang ylang EO (Cananga odorata)
- 3 drops lavender EO (Lavandula angustifolia)
- 7 drops orange EO (Citrus sinensis)
Ylang ylang is a beautiful tropical flower that grows in Asia, and its essential oil helps to relax muscles and quiet one’s thoughts. (Perfect for those of us who suffer from “racing through syndrome” at bedtime every night!)
Lavender has a gentle floral aroma that balances emotions to promote restful sleep. Finally, orange helps to ease stress, thus making sleep come more easily.
Sleep-Promoting Blend for the Diffuser
One thing I enjoy is putting a blend of relaxing oils into my diffuser at night. I’ll set it on a timer so that it’ll turn off automatically after I’ve fallen asleep. There is something so relaxing about having the room filled with the pleasant fragrance of essential oils.
My favorite blend for sleep:
- 1 drop Roman chamomile EO (Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile)
- 4 drops sandalwood EO (Santalum spicatum)
- 4 drops frankincense EO (Boswellia carterii)
- 5 drops lavender EO (Lavandula angustifolia)
This has a nice earthy scent that I love. Some blends I’ve tried have been so floral that they keep me awake instead of helping me sleep! But this one is just mellow enough to relax me without being overpowering.
Chamomile reduces anxiety, depression, irritability, and stress, while frankincense is both calming and grounding. Frankincense also helps ease fear at bedtime – especially useful for children who are afraid of the dark or prone to nightmares.
Another option for the diffuser is this combination:
- 1 drop each sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) and ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)
- 2 drops each orange (Citrus sinensis), rose (Rosa damascena), and sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
Massage Oil to Promote Restful Sleep
What could be more relaxing than a soothing massage? Essential oils bring massage to a new level by adding their own mood enhancing qualities.
Choose three oils from the list below and add 10 drops of each to 20ml of a carrier oil. Good carrier oils include olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba, shea butter, and cocoa butter.
- clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
- frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana)
- orange (Citrus sinensis)
- sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
- ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)
Keep in mind that oils may stain your sheets, so take whatever precautions you need to.
Promote Restful Sleep with a Warm, Scented Bath
If you have the time – and no interruptions – a warm bath with essential oils can be wonderfully relaxing just before bed. Choose any three oils from the list above and add a total of 6-8 drops to your bath water.
Sprinkle in dried rose petals or chamomile flowers for some extra pampering. Light a few candles and turn on soft music … oh yes, now I’m dreaming.
A couple cautions:
During pregnancy, avoid clary sage and marjoram. Also avoid clary sage if you have endometriosis, breast, ovarian, or uterine cysts, or estrogen dependent conditions.
Herbs to Promote Restful Sleep
A number of herbs have a reputation for being relaxing and soothing, which makes them perfect for helping to promote restful sleep. Try a warm cup of tea about an hour before going to bed.
German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is perhaps the best known of all the herbs for inducing sleep in both children and adults. Pour a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers and steep for 10-15 minutes. Sweeten your tea to taste with honey.
For calming infants, one teaspoonful is plenty. A tablespoon would be enough for a toddler, and the dose increases until adults are drinking a full cup of warm chamomile tea.
Though hops (Humulus lupulus) are most famous for making beer, the plant has beneficial uses completely separate from alcohol. When nervousness or over-excitement are preventing good sleep, hops is an excellent choice. It also reduces inflammation and pain, which can both cause difficulty sleeping.
Taking 2-3 tablespoons of a hops infusion (tea) every hour or two will usually induce sleep when nervousness is to blame. If insomnia is severe and persistent, drink 2 cups of hops tea, hot.
Certain dried herbs may help promote restful sleep simply by being near you during the night. Try putting the herbs into your pillowcase or making a small herb-filled pillow or sachet to keep in the bed. Good choices for this purpose include:
When teas, pillows, and aromatherapy don’t help, herbal tinctures may be able to offer natural insomnia relief.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) helps relieve anxiety and stress, making it a perfect choice for anyone whose sleep is disturbed because of anxious thoughts or emotions. It helps to bring sleep on quickly but doesn’t cause morning grogginess the way many over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids do.
For best results, Dr. Stengler recommends 30 drops of the tincture half an hour before bed.
A native of northern Asia and Europe, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) can help to alleviate even severe insomnia. It’s been said that valerian’s effects are similar to Valium’s, yet it lacks the unpleasant side effects.
A dosage of 30-60 drops of valerian tincture or 500mg in capsule form, taken 30-60 minutes before bed, can lead to a greater quality of sleep and a more rested feeling in the morning.
Valerian must not be combined with tranquilizers or antidepressants.
Not being able to sleep well is purely miserable. Whether you can’t fall asleep, wake up frequently, or simply wake up every morning feeling as if you haven’t slept well, disturbed sleep has an impact on your entire day. It affects mood, concentration, even your general health.
These natural aromatherapy and herbal aids offer a gentle way to promote restful sleep from start to finish. Sleep is what rejuvenates us best. It’s the time when our bodies repair and heal from daily stresses – don’t let another night go by in wakefulness and fitful sleep. Which option will you try first – a warm bath? Maybe an herbal pillow or tea?
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Christopher, John R., Dr. School of Natural Healing. Christopher Publications, Inc., 2014.
Stengler, Mark, ND. The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies Medical Doctors Don’t Know. Prentice Hall Press, 2010.
This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is intended only for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your healthcare routine.
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