With healthcare costs rising, many people are turning to alternative remedies for problems like insomnia, stress, and depression. Some of the most popular staples in alternative medicine are essential oils. From aromatherapy to massages, there are plenty of ways people put these oils to use. One popular practice? Using lavender oil for sleep.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of lavender essential oil and how to use it, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll walk you through the basics, so you can decide if using this essential oil is right for you.
What is Lavender Oil?
Let’s start with the basics: What exactly is lavender essential oil, anyway? Well, Lavandula angustifolia is the species most people are referring to when they mention lavender. Lavender essential oil is a concentrated oil derived from this flower. It is often used in massage therapy or aromatherapy.
What are the Benefits of Lavender?
People use lavender teas, supplements, and oils for any number of reasons. For example, people often use it in aromatherapy for relaxation, anxiety relief, and alleviation of depression symptoms.
What are the Side Effects of Lavender?
The side effects of lavender depend on which form of the plant someone uses. For example, it’s generally safe for people to drink lavender-based teas. However, it is generally not safe to drink lavender oil. Furthermore, some people may experience negative reactions after rubbing this oil on the skin.
Does Lavender Oil for Sleep Work?
Possibly; research on lavender is conflicting.
For example, some studies show that small amounts of lavender supplements may have a calming effect when taken by mouth. So, those who have issues with depression or anxiety may benefit from edible lavender-based supplements. If someone’s mental health issues impact their ability to sleep, it therefore stands to reason that lavender may improve sleep quality by alleviating symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.
That being said, research into whether lavender oil helps with depression and anxiety symptoms is limited. In other words, there currently isn’t enough evidence to say definitively that aromatherapy can help in this regard.
Okay, but what about people who don’t suffer from depression and anxiety and just want to sleep?
Once again, the research is conflicting. There are some studies suggesting this essential oil can offer modest benefits for those suffering from insomnia. Conversely, there are other studies that say the complete opposite.
All in all, lavender essential oil may help some people relax and subsequently get better sleep. However, this oil won’t work for everyone. So, those who try it out should know that they might not notice any changes after using lavender.
How to Use Lavender Oil for Sleep
If you clear it with your doctor and decide you want to try this option out, you may be wondering just how to use lavender oil for sleep problems. Don’t worry; using this essential oil is easy.
The first step, though, is to actually grab some essential oil. Some popular brands include:
- Young Living: A little on the pricey side, but well worth it. These oils are made from plants grown in a sustainable and ethical manner. Then, they undergo rigorous testing to ensure only the purest, highest-quality oils hit the market. You can go here to see their lavender essential oil on Amazon.
- Cliganic: This brand is a little more affordable, making it a great option for beginners. Want essential oil that’s cruelty-free, USDA-certified organic, and Non-GMO Project verified? This brand might be for you. Click here to see their pure lavender oil on Amazon.
Once you’ve found an oil that works for you, you can use your oil in any of the manners listed below.
Use a Diffuser
A popular method of using lavender oil involves a diffuser, a special machine that diffuses essential oils into the surrounding area. Now, some brands of essential oil may come with special instructions on how to use them. You may follow these directions.
Generally, though, you can place a few drops into the oil compartment of your diffuser if you are using an electric one. Electric diffusers are incredibly popular, especially since many come with automatic shut-off options.
Those interested in a high-quality, affordable diffuser can check out a 3-in-1 device from Urpower on Amazon. It’s not only a diffuser, but also a night light and humidifier.
Other people enjoy using ceramic diffusers, also known as aroma lamps. These diffusers usually have a small opening in the bottom for you to place (and light) a candle. The top part is a small bowl or dish where you can place your oil. This option is affordable and aesthetically pleasing, but does pose a small fire hazard.
If you’re interested in a simple, affordable oil burner, Ivenf on Amazon offers one that is less than $15 and cute to boot.
Others still opt for reed diffusers. This option works by placing essential oils—usually diluted—into a small container. Then, you’ll place specialty reeds into the oils. That’s it! These reeds should absorb the oils, then slowly diffuse them. What’s nice about this method is that it doesn’t involve the use of electricity or candles, posing practically no fire hazard.
Beginners may enjoy this set from binca vidou, available on Amazon. It not only contains lavender oil, but rose and vanilla scents, too. Each bottle of oil is already diluted and ready to use, and the diffuser sticks are included with this set.
Try an Essential Oil Candle
Those who aren’t fans of diffusers may find that candles made with essential oils are more to their liking. It’s possible to both make your own or buy some if you want to try a hassle-free method. The biggest downside to candles is obviously the fire hazard; so, candles are not the safest option if you’re trying to catch some Z’s.
However, those looking for a way to simply relax or freshen up their room may enjoy these candles. Chesapeake Bay offers some essential-oil infused candles on Amazon, which you can check out by clicking here.
Rub a Little on Your Skin
Rubbing a few drops of lavender onto your skin is another popular way to use this oil. The wrists, scalp, and even bottoms of the feet are common places to use lavender. Do not use it around any opening, such as around the mouth or eyes.
Before using this method, though, you must first do the following:
1. Dilute lavender first with a carrier oil, such as avocado oil. Most often, when you use essential oils topically (on the surface of the skin), you dilute them first. Plant Guru is a popular essential oils brand, and you can see their collection of carrier oils on Amazon.
2. Test out lavender on a small patch of skin first. This way, you can see if you experience any negative reactions to this oil. If you notice your skin becomes irritated, immediately stop using it.
Drop a Little on Your Pillow
Perhaps the simplest method of all is to apply a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow before you go to sleep. Then, hit the hay.
There’s no denying that essential oils are popular options for relaxation. While lavender oil may not help everyone, there is some research to suggest it may help alleviate some symptoms of depression and anxiety. So, this option might be beneficial for those whose mental health issues impact their sleep quality.
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. doi:10.1155/2013/681304
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2016). Lavender. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/lavender/ataglance.htm
WebMD. (n.d.) Lavender. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-838/lavender
This article is for reference purposes only; it is not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Any and all health questions should be directed toward a doctor or other licensed professional.