Issues surrounding sleep are becoming more and more prominent.
With the majority of us living busy and often stressful lives, it's no surprise the struggles of everyday routine have begun infiltrating themselves into our sleep patterns.
Whether it's the presence of lingering thoughts, anxiety about the day ahead, or simply a case of overtiredness, there are many factors that may prevent us from falling and staying asleep.
Many more people have therefore been looking for a quickfire solution to the problem - one that doesn't involve complicated (and possibly addictive) medications or massive changes to an already strenuous lifestyle.
Enter lavender essential oil: the natural pioneer for combatting sleep struggles.
Lavender, like many other essential oils, has become infamous not just for its pleasant, floral scent, but also for its remarkable ability to brush away feelings of stress and anxiety simply by inhaling it.
Users and experts alike have raved about the effects of sleeping with lavender oil by their side, but for those that have never once tried aromatherapy, manoeuvring around the concept can seem tricky and vague.
Thankfully, we're here to provide some top tips on how to use lavender oil for sleep, as well as all the facts behind this oil's miracle-like abilities.
What is Lavender Essential Oil?
There are numerous types of pure lavender oil out there. Some are determined based on region, while others are derived from similar subspecies of the plant.
The most famous and arguably most effective lavender essential oil is Lavandula Angustifolia - sometimes known as "true" lavender.
Lavender essential oil is extracted via steam distillation from the lavender plant and has often been coined as the "mother" of aromatherapy for its wide variety of uses.
Does lavender help you sleep?
The effects of lavender oil for sleep have been studied for years and, while research is still ongoing, many scientists widely agree that there is no essential oil more effective for tackling the cause.
But what exactly makes lavender aromatherapy so amazing for sleep? A Japanese study from 2018 determined that the oil's calming effects are mainly derived from one chemical constituent - linalool.
While most essential oils contain linalool in at least some capacity, the increased amount found in lavender is what gives the oil its superiority for relaxation and against sleep problems.
Linalool is said to positively affect the brain's central nervous system via inhalation. Smelling any essential oil containing linalool can stimulate the olfactory system, helping to target the areas of our brains responsible for mood, heart rate, and blood pressure.
These physical changes therefore allow our minds and bodies to slow down - helping to improve sleep, relieve stress, and prevent any overactivity in our subconscious.
Lavender oil's successes in this area are so renowned that a 2005 studyeven concluded its benefits for those suffering with insomnia.
The main appeal of lavender oil for sleep is not only its natural roots, but also its lack of side effects.
Unlike other sleep aids, lavender oil won't leave you feeling dizzy or drowsy, but rather will calm your mind and give you a renewed sense of wellness - plus, it smells great.
How to use lavender oil for sleep
Once you've decided to implement lavender oil into your sleep routine, it's time to determine the best way to use it.
One quick and easy way is to spray it directly onto your pillow, or use as a room mist. Just mix 2-3 drops in 200mls of water in a glass spray bottle. Make sure to shake thoroughly before every use.
Everyone has preferred methods for using lavender oil, so don't be discouraged if the first one you try doesn't necessarily work for you. Feel free to adapt any or all of these techniques to suit you and your needs.
We've listed some of the most popular choices for how to use lavender oil for sleep below.
Any time you think of how to use an essential oil, it's likely the process of diffusion has come to mind. That's because it tends to be the easiest and quickest way to experience the full effects of aromatherapy.
Placing a few drops of lavender oil into your chosen diffuser and leaving it beside your bed can help fill the space with calming aromas, preparing you for your night's sleep and helping to reduce stress in the process.
2) Pillow spray
If you don't have a diffuser to hand, or you prefer not to worry yourself with additional appliances, then a homemade pillow spray may be the best choice for you.
All you have to do is combine some lavender essential oil (around 15-20 drops will do) with water and isopropanol alcohol into a spray bottle, shake well, and spritz as needed.
3) Cotton balls
Like the above, this method is best for those who don't want to use a diffuser or prefer experiencing the lavender scent more directly.
Dab a few drops of lavender oil onto a clean cotton ball (or several, if you prefer) and place them underneath your pillowcase. This will allow the lovely aromas to carry through without any direct contact to your face.
Some of us may not find comfort in inhaling strong aromas as we drift off into sleep, and that's okay! Not every method has to be performed right as you're going to bed.
In fact, adding some lavender oil into a warm bath can be a great way to prepare your mind and body for sleep without infiltrating your bedroom space.
We recommend sprinkling in around 5 to 8 drops of oil per bath and simply letting the aromas relax you.
If you have a partner, family member, or roommate that is happy to help you, then a calming, restorative massage before bed may be just the thing for a night of sweet dreams.
Lavender is also known for its exceptional pain-relieving qualities, so a massage is definitely a beneficial two-in-one experience if a stubborn ache is the reason behind your sleep issues.
Alternatively, if you would rather keep your bedtime rituals to yourself, applying a lavender and carrier oil mixture to your pulse points - like your wrists or temples - can also achieve a similar effect.
Are there other essential oils that can benefit sleep?
Lavender is not the only oil that can provide you with the comfort of a good night's sleep.
Many other essential oils have been increasingly studied for their ability to calm the mind and encourage sleep, with some of the most notable examples including:
If you're wanting to try out several sleep-promoting essential oils at once, you can check out our diffuser blends for relaxation to help get you started, or try your hand at making some of your own by following our blending guide.
Our handmade sweet dreams essential oil blend is also a fantastic choice - blending lavender oil with cedarwood, lemon verbena and ylang ylang, three other incredible remedies for sleep.
What else is lavender oil good for?
There's no denying lavender's impact on sleep, but it is certainly not the only asset this oil has under its belt.
Aside from reducing anxiety and stress, lavender is also known for lifting low moods, helping to treat burns and wounds, increasing hair growth, soothing pain, and protecting against toxins.
Learn more about the incredible benefits of lavender.
Though it's understandable to feel a bit of uncertainty going into something new like aromatherapy, figuring out the right practices for you can make it all the more beneficial for your day-to-day routine.
Whether you find yourself struggling from a major sleep issue, or simply want to improve the quality of your night's sleep, lavender oil is a great first step into keeping your nights gentle and stress-free.