Sleeping with Essential Oils


Sleep is something many people have difficulty with. My entire life I have struggled to sleep well. There have been too few nights that I have slept soundly and therapeutically.

As a child I had terrible nightmares. When I couldn’t remember my dreams, which is most nights, I would toss and turn and wake often.

Nightmares returned in my early 30’s and reached such a peak that I was terrified to go to sleep. Obviously I got past that. I tried naturopathy and developed such severe insomnia that I had a minor car accident from lack of sleep. It turns out that I have the opposite response to valerian.

St John’s Wort was given to me to assist with depression and anxiety, which was also supposed to aid sleep, that didn’t work for me either.

Regular meditation practise helped a little as does regular exercise. When I share a bed I remain tightly on one side and I do wonder if that prevents me from sound sleep. When I sleep on my own my tossing and turning has me pulling up the bed sheets and sprawled across the whole bed. It’s a wonder anyone would want to share a bed with me! LOL!

Essential oils have given me considerable relief and I sleep longer in between waking up, but most importantly I now go to sleep quickly. That’s one thing most poor sleepers understand; lying in bed desiring to sleep, you may have a partner who is sound and might be snoring next to you, which only keeps you awake longer. Falling asleep quickly is a blessed relief.

Many people snore and I can tell you that melaleuca/tea tree essential oil works wonders, especially when the snoring is allergy/sensitivity induced. It’s also very important to dilute the tea tree appropriately. DōTERRA have a melaleuca/tea tree touch roll on that is appropriately diluted and suitable for children as well as adults. Always do a sensitivity test first though.

Other essential oils have been touted for preventing snoring. Trial and error is the only way to go as it really depends on why the person snores. Eucalyptus, vetiver and a blend called Breathe are also suggested.

Being an Aromatherapist I have a wide selection of oils that I can use for assisting me with sleep. Many people like to diffuse oils during the night. This is ok if whomever you’re sleeping with doesn’t mind. Another method is to have a bath with relaxing oils before bed. I’ll talk more about using oils in a bath in another article.

Personally, I like a direct approach. I often use 2 oils, one for the bottoms of my feet and another for particular points on my face. I literally upend the bottle on the sole of each foot, quickly so that only a little comes through. It usually absorbs quickly. With the other I put a finger over the opening and tip it up, then use that to apply to my temples, centre of forehead and wipe the excess under my nose. Yes, whomever you share a bed with will benefit from them as well this way, but it’s not quite as intrusive as a diffuser.

You don’t need a lot and will often hear me say ‘less is best’. I know from experience and am always experimenting upon myself. If you’ve read my article on ‘Who and Why I AM’ you’ll know that I have chemical sensitivity and in the near past essential oils would have me running in fear because of the negative reaction they would induce in me.

This is why I use dōTERRA oils, as they are safe. As you’ve just read I often use them directly from the bottle, this is what we mean by saying ‘neat’, and I have no issues with this. Of course, I do advocate doing a sensitivity test first and diluting the oils. Some oils are very hot. I’ve also met many people who have sensitive skin, and I’ll discuss that in a future article as well.

OK, the number one tip for using essential oils to assist with sleep is to use a different oil every 2-3 nights.

This is what I meant when I said I’m fortunate to have a large range of oils. Realistically you only need about 3 with which to rotate every few nights. As your collection builds you can include others. I actually rotate oils every night, though occasionally I encounter one I want to explore further and use it for 3 nights. Most nights I use 2 different oils, but when I want to explore one I use only that oil.

Oils that are good for sleep include lavender, of course, ylang ylang, cedarwood, wild orange, clary sage, patchouli, marjoram, Roman chamomile, melissa, sandalwood, rose, spikenard (which is related to valerian and I have not tried this one yet), bergamot and geranium. ‘The list goes on’ is another thing I’ll say often.

Happy sleep!


Narelle A Carter