From first-hand experience with my clients, I’d say about 60%-70% tell me that they have trouble sleeping. It breaks my heart to see them struggling, because the lack of that crucial restorative time each night always leads to a domino effect of other health concerns. It negatively affects their physical health, their emotional balance, their relationships, their careers, their mental performance, and the list goes on.
According to the American Sleep Association, an estimated 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. This means that about 1 in every 4 adults are walking around sleep deprived. It’s reached epidemic proportions – and it’s up to us as individuals to empower ourselves with tools for promoting sleep naturally (because the last thing we need is more unnecessary dependency on meds).
Quality sleep is so critical for overall health because it allows us to suspend voluntary bodily functions and conscious brain activity so our body and mind can focus on repairing and restoring themselves. Living without proper sleep is like driving a car when the gas tank is close to empty – you’ll be able to drive about 30 or so anxiety-ridden miles where you can’t concentrate on anything but finding a place to refuel, and if you don’t find one in time you’ll break down on the side of the road.
It’s important to take all lifestyle factors into consideration when focusing on getting more quality sleep – things like work/life balance, personal boundaries, consistent self-care practices, home environment, time interacting with technology/screens, food choices and caffeine/stimulant intake, etc. And once you ensure you’re consciously designing your lifestyle to encourage the proper time and environment for rest, it’s super powerful to build a little toolkit of things you can reach for to help you unwind even more, and sleep even deeper.
Enter, essential oils! These small but mighty bottles of pure plant extracts have been one of the most accessible, impactful tools for helping my clients get an incredible night’s sleep.
There are a ton of essential oils that have calming, grounding, soothing and relaxing properties, but I’ve rounded up my top picks and simple practices to pair with them below. These are great to use alone or blended together in a way that resonates with you. They have the ability to quickly and effectively support physical and emotional balance in your body, which helps prime you for the most restorative, dreamy sleep of your life.
Top Essential Oils:
- Bergamot (Aroma: citrusy + spicy | Properties: calming + soothing)
- Cedarwood (Aroma: woody, sweet + herbaceous | Properties: relaxing + grounding)
- Lavender (Aroma: floral + sweet | Properties: calming + relaxing)
- Frankincense (Aroma: warm + spicy | Properties: soothing + relaxing)
- Chamomile (Aroma: floral, herbaceous + sweet | Properties: calming + soothing)
- Vetiver (Aroma: earthy, woody + smoky | Properties: grounding + calming)
- Ylang Ylang (Aroma: floral, rich + sweet | Properties: soothing + calming)
- Diffuse a total of 8-10 drops of the oil(s) of your choice 30 min prior to hopping in bed and throughout sleeping hours
- And/or spread on pillowcase/make a room spray (with a glass bottle and water) if you don’t have a diffuser
- Create your own ultra-soothing bath salts with Epsom salts, Himalayan salts, and the oils of your choice (grab the recipe here)
- Turn down the lights, play some soothing music, and soak for at least 20 min to calm nervous system before slipping into bed
Apply to Feet:
- Either apply 1-2 drops of the oil(s) of your choice to the arches of your feet, or create a larger amount in a rollerbottle for easy application (my fav recipe: 10 drops Lavender, 10 drops Vetiver, 5 drops Bergamot, 5 drops Frankincense in a 10 ml glass roller bottle, filling the rest with carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil)
- Regularly practicing the 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple, powerful tool to release your thoughts and prepare you for rest as it soothes your body and mind. Combining it with aromatherapy can make it even more effective.
- Here’s how it works:
- Touch the tip of your tongue to the spot behind your front teeth where they meet the roof of your mouth and leave it in that position while you breathe
- Inhale deeply quietly for a count of 4 through your nose
- Hold your breath for a count of 7
- Exhale all of the air out through your mouth (with your lips loosely positioned as if you’re about to whistle) for a count of 8, making a slight whooshing sound
- Repeat these steps a total of 4 times
- To amp this up with aromatherapy, you can do a number of things: position your diffuser next to you, paint the bottoms of your nostrils with 1 drop of essential oil (or even a bit of your rollerbottle blend), or even pop 1-2 drops of essential oils in the palms of your hands, rub them together, and cup them loosely in front of your nose and mouth’
When creating your natural sleep (and overall wellness-boosting) toolkit, it’s important to do a little trial and error to figure out what works best for you personally. Everyone is totally unique, and different strokes work for different folks, so follow what you’re intuitively drawn to (your body always knows), and build from there.
I hope this helps you consistently catch some sweet, sweet Z’s.
Interested in finding other ways to empower yourself with natural wellness solutions? Download my free eBook, “Mindful Essentials” right this way.