Using lavender oil for sleep and relaxation is pretty much common practice already. And you already know all about the encyclopedia of essential oils for sleep and their claims to yawny greatness so we’ll save you the preamble and get right to the nitty gritty of exactly why lavender is such a top contender when it comes to sleep.
Let’s dive in.
Why Lavender Oil for Sleep?
Lavender has had a colorful history of aiding different maladies and complications, indeed, according to Prevention.com, the plant began its medical career as an aphrodisiac and then graduated into the world of headache and stress relief.
The scent of lavender is where the power comes from, which is why it’s such a popular variety of candle and incense around most domestic environments. The smell encourages a relaxing feel, and eases symptoms of anxiety which can be a huge, often hidden, contributor to insomnia and restlessness when it comes to bedtime.
It might sound a little too easy, but lavender’s soporific boasting is backed up by a study carried out by psychologists at Wesleyan University, in which men and women were tasked with inhaling lavender oil, and regular scented water, on intermittent nights.
The results showed that when the subjects were inhaling lavender, they were much more prone to slow-wave sleep (essentially the deep sleep where the body truly relaxes and begins to recuperate).
Additionally, lavender has that most sought-after quality: it’s safe for use as a sleep aid for children. Many parents are reluctant to put their child in the path of medications, or cure-alls that may hold side-effects, but lavender has yet to be shown as anything other than completely safe for infants.
Plus, the hardy little herb is also exceedingly effective when it comes to calming young toddlers down, and ensuring a calm, deep sleep, according to research by Johnson & Johnson.
How to Use Lavender Oil for Sleep
There are oh, so many ways to incorporate lovely lavender into your bedtime ritual. Here are 8 of our favorite ways to do it!
1. Steam it!
The simplest and probably most common method of lavender based aromatherapy is simply purchasing lavender oil and then adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your humidifier’s tank before letting it run.
It’s easy, it smells wonderful and you get the hydrating (snore-stopping) benefits of the steam on top of lavender’s sleep-inducing perks. Simply lie back, let the sweet lavender essence waft its way toward you, breathe deeply and you’ll be in dreamland in no time.
Of course, you also have the option to go with a diffuser.
Easy and effective, oil diffusers work much like a humidifier and make it very easy to use lavender oil for sleep. Reed diffusers are great and make for a lovely piece of home decor, but they work best in really small spaces so if you’ve got a spacious bedroom to spread the lavender love around in – opt for a cold-air essential oil diffuser.
We recommend the cold-air diffusers since essential oils work best when they aren’t heated since high temperatures can ruin some of the benefits of these oils.
Our favorite at the moment is this ceramic beauty. Simply add a bit of water and a few drops of lavender, set it by your bedside and drift off to scented mist.
2. Be your own oil diffuser
Another use for the oil is applying it directly to your skin, rather than distilling it and using the scent.
Since lavender is one of the rare essential oils you can use ‘neat’ (aka, without dilution in another oil), you can apply it straight to your skin and become your very own oil diffuser.
Go ahead and rub it anywhere on your body for the desired effect, but some areas (think of them as pressure points) will thank you quicker, such as the temples, your inner wrists or your feet.
3. Soak your pillow
Not the whole thing, mind you. Just sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil directly on the corner of your pillow at night for an ideal source of inhalation.
As you breathe away, the lavender will slow your breathing and deepen your relaxation. Result? More slow-wave, deep sleep.
4. Make a warm cup of sleep aid tea
In sleep orientated circles, there’s nothing we love to talk about more than the different types of sleepy tea one can indulge in, and their soporific effects over the average person.
Lavender is no different, and can make for a delicious tea by simply adding a few heaped teaspoons of crushed leaves in boiling water and letting them soak in for around fifteen minutes.
This, of course, has the double benefit of also creating a bit of an aroma, too (although nowhere near as potent as the oil route!). Try drinking a calming cup of lavender tea before bed to really maximize on that soothing effect.
Although this doesn’t strictly use the oil, it all comes from the same place!
5. Sachets in the bed
Similar to the oil on the pillow technique, many sleep sufferers like to make up little packages for themselves, and slide them under the pillow at night. This can be a very simple little affair – simply crush some lavender leaves up, mix them in with a few drops of the oil to really accentuate the smell and tie it all together in a light fabric bag (not too constricting or heavy; we want that scent to be able to escape).
Simply leave it under the pillow for a steady stream of lavender goodness all night long. If you’d prefer an easier, non-DIY option, you can get ready-made lavender sachets or simply opt for a lavender pillow.
6. Wear a lavender eye pillow
‘Cause what better way to keep all the light out to amp up your melatonin production and drift away to the soothing scent of lavender?
You can even heat up or cool these organic lavender eye pillows to de-stress your eyes.
7. Apply a little fire!
There’s nothing nicer than a lovely lavender candle burning away in the corner of the room, slowly permeating the space with that relaxing tinge, or incense smoldering away on its own whilst you lie back and drink it in.
It’s a lot less effort on your part – just make sure you put the flame out before you doze off.