Essential Oils 101: What Are They and How to Use Them

This is a guest post by Sharon Picone, the founder of Sleep Metro, an online review and informational site that provides savvy, no-nonsense tips for the best sleep possible that’s beneficial to both health and wellbeing.

Do you struggle to fall asleep? Does your mind keep working, even after your head  hits the pillow? Are the stresses of your daily life impacting the quality of your sleep? If this sounds like you, keep reading.

Essential oils are known to reduce stress, improve the quality of sleep and aid in relaxation.

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Forget a glass of milk before bed. Instead, try a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, or take a soothing bath. Here’s how to get the best sleep with essential oils:

Best Essential Oils for Deep Relaxation, Sleep and Stress Relief

Aromatherapy is nothing new. 

Greek physician Dioscorides, wrote extensively about the properties of essential oils in 100 A.D. Ancient Egyptians used essential oils in cosmetics. Modern interest in aromatherapy took off in the 1980s, when it reached the United States. Since then, a number of studies have found essential oils effective in promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

How you use essential oils is up to you.

You can add a few drops to unscented hand and face lotion as well as massage oil or burn candles made with essential oils. For best results, use a diffuser. Or try inhalation. Add a few drops of oil to a hot bath or basin of boiling
water, and breathe in the steam.

I like to use a diffuser to gently spread the aroma of essential oil throughout a room.

Here’s what Purifier Advisors say about the best essential oil diffusers.

Lavender: Have the Best Sleep With Essential Oils

lavender is one of the best essential oils

You’re probably already aware that lavender is known to help with relaxation and sleep.

Before we answer the question of how to use lavender essential oil for sleep, let’s review: what makes lavender the superstar of the aromatherapy world?

Lavender essential oil comes with some seriously beneficial properties.

Multiple studies have shown that lavender has a calming effect. Certain neuroreceptors react to lavender the same way they react to anti-anxiety medication. In addition to reducing anxiety, lavender can improve sleep quality and combat mild insomnia.

So how do you use lavender essential oil for sleep?

Add a few drops of oil to a tissue and tuck it under your pillow.

If using a diffuser, set it up near your bed at least thirty minutes before you’re ready for bed (Note: make sure that your diffuser doesn’t have an annoying light or make noise that will prevent you from sleeping).

Alternatively, if you end your night with a hot bath, add a few drops of lavender essential oil directly to your bath water.

Bergamot, Ylang-ylang and Clary Sage: Reduce Stress with Essential Oils

Reduce stress before you get into bed. Fortunately, a number of essential oils are quite effective against stress. Simply choose your favorite, or experiment to find which is most effective for you.

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So what essential oils are best for reducing stress and anxiety?

Bergamot, Ylang-ylang and Clary sage are not as well known as lavender, but all have a proven track record when it comes to relieving stress.

Bergamot is a citrus —a cross between bitter orange and lemon. Not only does Bergamot reduce stress, but studies suggest it is effective against chronic pain as well.

Ylang-ylang is a floral extract. It comes from the sweet blossom of the cananga tree originating in Indonesia.

While Ylang-ylang also reduces stress, it acts differently to the essential oils covered so far. While lavender and bergamot act on the mind, this one affects the nervous system. If other oils aren’t working for you, try Ylang-ylang.

Clary sage is a relative of the herb, sage. It has purple flowers, similar to lavender, and like lavender has an anti-depressant effect. Clary sage’s properties are so strong, some dentists use Clary sage essential oil to relax patients.

Lemon and Peppermint: Essential Oils for Clarity

lemon - essential oils 101

Are you caught in the caffeine cycle? You know your caffeine intake is affecting your sleep, but you need help remaining alert.

Trade the caffeine for an essential oil boost. You won’t just feel better—you’ll sleep better, too.

Peppermint tea is well known as an energizer. The same can be said for peppermint essential oil.

Sniffing peppermint can help you stay alert on long car trips, or ward off jetlag after a long flight.

At the office, add a few drops to a diffuser to prevent you from grabbing an extra coffee or an energy drink when you hit that mid-afternoon lull.

The humble lemon is another giant of the essential oil world. On the one hand, it has been shown to stimulate the body, providing a natural boost. On the other, it is recommended for use as a relaxant.

How can one oil both make you relaxed and give you an energy boost? By directly lifting your mood, that’s how.

Lemon provides a positive lift.

By improving your mood, lemon essential oil frees your mind of worry. This provides mental clarity and makes you more productive.

Add lemon essential oil to your home or office diffuser and enjoy a good day’s work—and a good night’s sleep.

Conclusion

You’ll be amazed at the difference essential oils may make to your life. Whether you want to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep or reduce stress and anxiety, there appears to be an essential oil for practically every ailment.

Use one oil or a combination of different oils to best suit your needs and lifestyle.

We encourage you to explore its possibilities! In this article, only oils with benefits that have been proven in studies are mentioned, but there are many more out there with potential that are only beginning to be understood.

One of my favorites is jasmine—also thought to have deep relaxation properties.

A word of caution: Pregnant women should consult with their physician before using any essential oils.

If you have questions or want to share your own recommendations for essential oils, leave a comment below.

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Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Writer. Lifestyle designer.
Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Making a statement with my words, actions and business.
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Lidiya K

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