Many otherwise healthy adults suffer from some form of sleep disorder. A few of the main causes of insomnia are mood disorders, caffeine intake, and stress. Living in a high-stress world leaves many of us feeling like we barely get a wink of sleep. Yet sleep disorders don’t only affect the older population. Many young children also suffer from insomnia, nightmares, sleepwalking, and other sleep problems.
Supporting Healthy Habits
When your child has difficulty falling and staying asleep at night, they’re not the only ones who suffer. You’re kept up at night trying to ease them to sleep, and you have to take care of them the next day when they may be grumpy. Following a proper routine and using essential oils can help everyone in the family get the rest they need.
To begin, try following some basic routines that help promote healthy sleep. Set proper sleep and wake times depending on their age, and avoid the use of digital screens before bedtime. Ensure that the room is a comfortable temperature and that there aren’t any distracting lights. A healthy diet and regular playtime that doubles as exercise can also help.
If you’ve done all of this and your children still have trouble sleeping, introducing essential oils into their bedtime routine can do wonders.
The Top Sleep-Promoting Essential Oils
Essential oils are well-known for their abilities to support the body’s many functions. Some can help support the immune system while some can ease muscle pain. Importantly for us, some can help you get a better night of sleep. What works for one person may not work for another, so some trial and error will be necessary. Try starting with one of these sleep-inducing oils, and then get creative by blending them based on your child’s scent preferences.
Lavender is the most widely-used essential oil for promoting relaxation, and for good reason. This powerful oil can ease feelings of stress and anxiety, boost cognitive function, improve skin and hair health, and support the respiratory system. A 2006 study found that diffusing lavender oil helped reduce both insomnia and depression in college students, and this is only one of many similar studies.1 A systematic review published in 2014 also found support for the use of lavender oil to treat sleep disorders.2
Have you ever brewed yourself a mug of chamomile tea before bed? This soothing herb is the ideal nervous system ally, and its essential oil is just as powerful. Chamomile has been used for centuries as a mild sedative to help reduce anxiety, treat insomnia, and ward off nightmares.3 Chamomile oil has a high ester content, making it one of the best oils for calming frazzled nerves and relaxing the mind.
Although many citrus oils have stimulating effects, bergamot is the black sheep of the family. Bergamot essential oil is often recommended for those who are searching for emotional balance and can help lead the body into a peaceful night of sleep. Breathing in this oil helps to stimulate the production of both serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals promote a more relaxed body and mind.
Clary Sage essential oil is known for its abilities to boost mental clarity, fight off feelings of depression and anxiety, and improve self-esteem. It is commonly used in aromatherapy to counteract negative feelings and low self-worth. Diffusing this essential oil can also lower blood pressure and calm the central nervous system. All of these properties make it ideal for promoting a proper night of sleep.
How to Use Essential Oils in a Bedtime Routine
To use essential oils in your child’s bedtime routine, simply diffuse the oil (or blend of oils) throughout the room 15-20 minutes before sleep. You can also mix your favorite blend of oils with water in a spray bottle and lightly spray pillows and sheets. For added relaxation, try adding a few drops of essential oils to a soothing bubble bath. To avoid any negative skin interactions, dilute the oil in milk before adding it to bathwater.
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By combining healthy habits with essential oils, both you and your children will start to get better sleep in no time.
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