So you’ve got insomnia and heard lavender essential oil might help, but you have no clue as to how to use lavender oil for sleep. Plus, you’re probably thinking, can lavender really work for insomnia?
Back when I was looking for natural ways to beat my insomnia, essential oils weren’t even on my radar. Seriously, how can just smelling something help me relax and feel sleepy?
Back then, even though essential oils weren’t my thing, I generally knew that lavender oil was supposed to promote sleep. So I bought a bottle, got it home, and then I was like, what do I do with this stuff? Am I supposed to rub this somewhere? Sniff the bottle?
I want to say that I sniffed lavender and slept great at the beginning, but I didn’t. I knew nothing about diffusers, the best place to apply lavender, more importantly, the best type of lavender to use.
I’ve learned a lot since then. Lavender is now a staple in my “sleep arsenal.” Here’s my top tips to using lavender essential oil the right way so you get the best results and ultimately a good night’s sleep.
How Can Lavender Oil Help you Sleep?
When I began my journey using essential oils to sleep, I was clueless. The idea that a smell could help you relax, ease anxiety and even make you sleepy seemed like a bunch of junk to me. Seriously, it had to be all in your head, right?
Lavender essential oil is one of the few oils that scientists have actually done extensive research on as it relates to insomnia. A 2015 study found that after eight weeks of inhaling lavender nightly, 100% of the women who participated had a significant improvement in their sleep quality.
Another study really hit home to me because I used to really struggle with sleep anxiety, and now I know why lavender helped me.
In that study, scientists found that “lavender effectively ameliorates generalized anxiety” and that it “improved associated symptoms such as restlessness, disturbed sleep, and somatic complaints and had a beneficial influence on general well-being and quality of life.”
In a nutshell, lavender can help you sleep because of its calming effect on the central nervous system and by promoting slow-wave sleep, where your heartbeat slows and muscles relax.
Now that you know that lavender can help insomnia, here’s the best ways you can use lavender oil to help improve sleep.
What Lavender Should I Use to Help Me Sleep?
I often hear people say that they’ve tried lavender but it didn’t do a thing for them. It actually had the opposite effect. I always ask them what kind of lavender do you use?
Most of the time they’re like…ummm…I used lavender?? They just don’t realize there are different species of lavender.
So before you go out and buy yourself a bottle of lavender, let’s have a little Latin lesson. 🙂
Not all lavenders are created equal when it comes to sleep. There’s actually several different types of lavender, but two are the most popular, lavandula latifolia, and lavandula angustifolia. If your goal is to use lavender oil to help sleep, you need to be sure you’re using lavandula angustifolia.
If you were to use lavandula latifolia instead, it would make you feel more energized than sleepy. Not the feeling you’re going for when you’re ready to hop into bed!
So if you haven’t had good results with lavender in the past, double check your bottle to make sure you’re using lavandula angustifolia and then try again.
Where do you Put Lavender Oil to Help you Sleep?
What I love about lavender oil is that it is so gentle. It’s one of the few essential oils you don’t have to use with a carrier oil, which means you can use lavender oil directly on the skin. But if you’d like to use it on a wider area, I suggest mixing 10-12 drops to an ounce of sweet almond oil.
Even though you could massage the oil in anywhere on your body and you’d be good, there are some places you’ll want to be sure to apply lavender oil to make sure you get its full sleep and relaxing benefits:
- Put lavender oil on your feet for sleep. The pores in the bottom of your feet are larger, which means when you rub lavender essential oil in it will absorbed into your system quicker. Add 10-12 drops to sweet almond oil, massage it into your feet, then put on a pair of socks.
- Rub lavender on your wrists. Remember when your mom told you to dab perfume on your wrists because it’s a pulse point and it will release the scent more? Well, it’s true! Apply a couple drops of lavender oil to each wrist before you go to bed.
- Massage a few drops into your temples. This spot is good if you’re also feeling tense and/or anxious.
Best Sleep Promoting Ways to Use Lavender Oil in your Bedroom
Lavender can be used a lot of different ways in your room to help you sleep. In a way, I like using them this way even more than I do topically because I can inhale them for a longer period of time.
Hint: These methods are good to try if you don’t like to rub things into your skin.
Use a diffuser. I love diffusing lavender essential oil in my room as I’m falling asleep. I’m not a snob when it comes to diffuser, but one thing I do suggest is using a diffuser that doesn’t light up (or has a no light option) and has a shut off timer. I’m using this diffuser in my bedroom right now and really loving it.
Use a cotton ball. If you’re new to essential oils and don’t have a diffuser yet, it’s no big deal. Put a couple of drops of lavender essential oils on a cotton ball and slip it in your pillowcase. (If you have asthma or other breathing problems, I don’t suggest using this method.)
Spray your pillows and linens. Make your own lavender pillow spray and mist your pillow and sheets before you slip into bed. The scent will be released every time you roll over, too!
Other Creative Ways to Use Lavender For Sleep
Lavender isn’t something you have to use right when you go to bed. It’s also good to use before you get into bed to help promote feelings of relaxation and make you feel sleepy.
I like to work lavender into my pre-bedtime routine. I add lavender bath salts to my tub and take a long soak. If you don’t take baths, add a few drops of lavender oil to a warm wet washcloth and put it in the corner of your shower. You’ll have a lavender steam shower!
After your bath, use a lavender sleep balm or lotion. You’ll get a two-fer, soft skin and sleep promoting aromatherapy! You can buy them in most stores, or you can be crafty and make your own using these simple recipes.
- Make your own Sleep Balm in Less than 15 Minutes
- Make your Own Homemade Sleep Lotion (even if you’re not crafty!)
- How to Make an Essential Oil Sleep Inhaler in Less than 5 minutes
Now You Know What to do with Lavender Oil to Sleep!
If you’ve been looking into using essential oils to help you sleep, lavender is one of the best oils to use to get your feet wet. Some people never even look to other sleep promoting oils because they love the results they get from lavender. It just works and they stick with it.
I think it’s because it’s so versatile. You can rub it directly into your skin and add it to a carrier oil and rub it in. Heck, you can even use a cotton ball if you don’t have a diffuser.
Are you going to give lavender essential oil a spin? Leave a comment below and let me know how you’re using lavender oil to help you sleep and relax.
Happy Sleeping! 🙂
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. http://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304
Keshavarz Afshar M, Behboodi Moghadam Z, Taghizadeh Z, Bekhradi R, Montazeri A, Mokhtari P. Lavender Fragrance Essential Oil and the Quality of Sleep in Postpartum Women. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2015;17(4):e25880. doi:10.5812/ircmj.17(4)2015.25880.