As I was lying in bed last night drifting off to sleep, I hit upon the perfect topic for my next article-using essential oils to help relax and get a good night's sleep. I am one of the lucky ones because I usually do not have any trouble going to sleep, but for those of you who can not seem to get to sleep without counting sheep, drinking some warm milk, or taking sleeping aids (pills) , here are some great essential oils for you that promote sleep and a restful state.

Most of you already know about lavender's calming properties; in fact I think it is the most popular scent used for relaxation and insomnia. It is also soothing to the nerves and helps the digestive process. Cedarwood is another essential oil that is beneficial to sleep. This oil works by stimulating melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in plants and animals and aids in bringing on the sleep cycle. A third oil, obtained from the plant valerian, has been used for insomnia since ancient Greek and Roman times; however its popularity has decreased somewhat over time since the advent of prescription sleeping medications. Perhaps that is because it is known to have an unpleasant odor reminiscent of well matured cheese-or it could just be that valerian does not work as well as the medications. It is not known exactly how valerian works but it does aid relaxation, which leads to sleep. Some other essential oils that calm and soothe-and so promote sleep are German and Roman chamomile. Roman chamomile is especially good for children but you must remember to reduce the dosage by one half or slightly more. Jasmine, neroli, rose, sandalwood, sweet marjoram and ylang ylang complete my list of favorite essential oils for promoting sleep.

There are many different ways to use these oils to prepare for sleep. You can add a few drops to your bath water and enjoy a nice soak in the tub just prior to bed time; you can place a few drops onto a handkerchief, place near your pillow and inhale the aroma; you can place drops of the oil onto reed diffuser sticks or use an aroma lamp. Then there are the wraps, pillows, lotions and numerous other products you can use. Usually these items are spotted with lavender; however if you would prefer another fragrance, purchase the unscented items and place your favorite fragrance on or in them.

All of these oils have a very pleasant aroma (except valerian) and can be used for a variety of other ailments. They are fairly common and easy to find, but please make sure you get pure essential oils. As I have already stated in a previous article, if you do not do your research first and make yourself knowledgeable about the essential oils you are planning to use, you could possibly harm yourself, or someone else, inadvertently.

So good night, sleep tight … I hope everyone has the most relaxed, best sleep ever!