I have a complicated relationship with sleep. I love it, but it’s not so keen on me.
As a child I had insomnia and often spent the night up and about, turning off dripping taps (I had a touch of OCD too!) and generally fretting.
These days I’m usually so frazzled from real life that I fall into an exhausted slumber as soon as I hit the pillow. But occasionally I slip back into my old insomniac ways.
Over the years, I’ve adopted a few little tricks to help me nod off (playing relaxing music, reading, taking a bath, drinking herbal tea), and for the most part it works.
More recently, I’ve been adding essential oils to my nightly routine. Certain essential oils have been shown to help promote relaxation, decrease stress, and even alleviate symptoms of snoring. Plus they are all natural, so have no side effects.
Here are my top five essential oils for sleep and my five favourite diffuser blends.
01| Ylang Ylang
The oil from the exotic Ylang Ylang flower is renowned for its sedative properties and can help reduce hypertension, stress and anxiety. Add it to a diffuser or inhale deeply, direct from the bottle, for an instant hit of calm.
02| Roman Chamomile
Chamomile is one of the best known natural oils for sleep. Whether you enjoy a brew of herbal Chamomile tea or use the oil itself in a blend or massage oil, it has wonderful sedative properties which will help you relax and nod off.
One of my personal favourites! Neroli oil is extracted from the blossom of the bitter orange tree, and is often used in exotic perfumes (including my favourite Tom Ford Portofino). When combined with Lavender, it has a calming effect and is said to help reduce stress and blood pressure levels.
The woody oil Cedarwood is deeply comforting and is great in a night-time diffuser. A proven sedative, Cedarwood has been shown to lower the heart rate and decrease blood pressure levels.
Finally, no sleep list would be complete without the all-rounder Lavender oil.
Lavender is not only great for all your scrapes and bites, it can also be used to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness. It’s also safe to apply directly to the skin, but always patch test if you are the sensitive type! Apply a little to the pulse points or add to a floral water for a simple pillow spray.
My five favourite diffuser blends for your vaporiser or burner*
01| Forty Winks
4 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Cedarwood
2 drops of Ylang Ylang
02| Deep Slumber
3 drops of Frankincense
3 drops of Lavender
3 drops of Vetiver
03| Sound Asleep
2 drops of Sandalwood
4 drops Chamomile
2 drops Bergamot
04| Snore No More
2 drops of Eucalyptus
4 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Thyme
05| Comfort Blanket
3 drops of Bergamot
3 drops of Cardamom
3 drops of Ylang Ylang
*For every 100 ml of water, add 3-5 drops
Sleep well, everyone.