Do you use essential oils as part of your sleep hygiene? Do you have a sleep hygiene protocol? Although it sounds like it, it’s not a rigorous washing before bed. It’s actually all about preparation. An effective sleep hygiene routine can reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, arthritis, and various autoimmune chronic illnesses.
A healthy sleep hygiene protocol is about creating a routine, a process, and a mindset that says sleep is important enough to take action and do something about it.
Is sleep important to you?
If so, then it’s time to PLAN for it.
Here’s the first step – define the value of sleep.
Should Sleep Be More Important to You?
I wrote an article quite a while ago that listed over 18 health challenges that can be attributed to lack of sleep.
Here are just a few for starters:
- Weight gain/inability to lose unnecessary weight
- Rapid aging
- Feelings of unrelenting stress
- Being accident prone
- Inability to problem solve
- Slow wound healing
Do these sound like any struggles that affect you now?
In my programs, I include comprehensive information on the effects of drowsiness and the dangers of driving, working, and even parenting while under-rested. Driving, in particular, has been studied extensively. Driving while drowsy has been shown to be worse than driving while intoxicated.
Driving while sleep-deprived is like driving drunk?
Here’s an article you may wish to read from the U.S. News & World Report – Drowsy Driving Worse than Drunk Driving. Even missing 1 to 2 hours of sleep per night doubles your crash risk.
If that doesn’t shift your thoughts toward the importance of proper sleep, I don’t know what will.
Check out this BIG Impact of a Little Sleep Loss article to read more symptoms of sleep deprivation.
What Do You Do Before Bed?
Now that you’ve decided that sleep is important and is set as a priority, it’s time to discover what’s in the way. Assess what behaviors, foods, thoughts, and environmental surroundings may get in the way of a good night’s sleep.
Consider a few of these anti-sleep behaviors:
- Snacking after dinner
- Watching TV in the 2 hour window before bed
- Working (mind engaging activities) before bed
- Reading thrillers, engaging mysteries, or even thought-provoking non-fiction books before bed.
- A cluttered bedroom
- Wi-fi and other energy frequency devices located in or near the bedroom
- Bedroom not dark enough
- Temperature of bedroom
- Lack of fitness activities throughout the day
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Leaky gut and unaddressed food sensitivities
- Unhealthy emotional relationships
I could go on. It never fails to amaze me how our unhealthy behaviors can become so habitual that we no longer see them for what they are. (We all do this, by the way.) I once had a client who used her bed as a “clean laundry sorting arena.” She barely had room for herself in that pile of every garment she owned. It was not a restful and relaxing area for her to foster a healthy sleep routine.
While I certainly understand how these behaviors begin, my point is that we often fail to even recognize them as they become routine or “normal” to us.
It takes an objective assessment
of your pre-bedtime routine
to figure out what’s getting in the way
of restorative sleep.
Therefore, this may take an outside resource – a coach, a friend, a family member who can see things for what they are.
What Goes Into Your Sleep Hygiene Routine?
Now that you have a few ideas on what to take out, what do you put in?
Here are a few tried-and-true activities that help the brain and body to wind down for a good night’s sleep:
- Taking a warm soak in the tub (consider adding Epsom salts)
- Practicing deep breathing
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Writing in a happiness journal
- Listening to soothing music
- Practicing soothing stretching exercises
- Practicing restorative yoga or qigong
- Taking a soothing walk (after dinner)
- Soothing crafts such as knitting, crocheting, etc.
- Practicing pre-bed mantras or affirmations
- Reading a devotional type book
- A soothing foot soak
- Massage (even self-massage of hands/feet)
You don’t have to do all of these.
Pre-bed activities can be tailor-made for you.
While many like a warm soothing bath, others may think, “Meh.” It’s up to you. What do you like? What makes you feel good? What ratchets down your feelings of stress, worry, and anxiety?
As a suggestion, you may try a few soothing stretches or restorative yoga poses, then a warm bath, and then reading in bed.
Set a time for lights out.
Respect your need for sleep enough to set a timeline for your evening routine. Eliminate screen time for an hour or two before bed. That means TV, phones, computers, etc.
Turn the lights out at your pre-determined time and stick to it. It may feel awkward at first, but the pre-bed routines can help to make it successful.
Pre-bed routines don’t have to be long, drawn out processes. This may be an hour long wind-down or a simple 30 minute routine.
The key is to discover and apply what works for you.Do you use #EssentialOils for better #Fibromyalgia Sleep? Click To Tweet
Have you noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned anything about the tools mentioned in the title of this article?
Yes, essential oils can be used as tools for sleep success. Read on to discover more suggestions on how to create a dreamy pre-bedtime routine for you.
How to Add Essential Oils into Your Sleep Routine
Why not boost the efficacy of what you’re already doing? As part of your nighttime routine, essential oils can not only help your body get into a relaxed state, but with repetition, they can tell your body it’s time to get into a relaxed state.
Here are a few of the top suggested essential oils to use at bedtime:
- Chamomile (Roman or German)
- Ylang ylang
- Wild orange
Now that you have a few suggestions on what oils to use, how do you use them?
For bedtime use, essential oils can be applied topically, inhaled aromatically, and used in bath and foot soak recipes.
Don’t over-complicate this. You can simply put a drop of EO in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and inhale a few times. Lavender works well for this purpose.
Or, make a simple spray with your favorite nighttime oils to spritz onto your linens. You’ll want to test first for color-fastness depending on what type of linens you use. Here’s a nighttime essential oils spray recipe.
Using an essential oils diffuser is another super simple way of incorporating oils into your routine. Diffuse them as you soak in the tub, relax with a few simple stretches or yoga poses, or while reading.
You can diffuse single oils or blends. Here are a few nighttime blend suggestions for your diffuser.
It’s easy to add essential oils into any soothing massage or relaxation routine. You can make your own massage oils, of course but it doesn’t even have to be that complicated.
When using essential oils topically, it’s best to use a carrier oil. Fractionated coconut oil is the most common carrier oil because it stays liquid, has healing properties, and stores well. Also, consider using almond, jojoba, argan, or any other healthy oil you routinely use on your skin. Add a drop or two of your favorite EO to the carrier oil and apply as you massage your feet, legs, hands, or any other part of the body that helps you to relax.
Even better? Enlist a loved one to help out.
Another simple method is to add a drop to your favorite healthy unscented body or hand lotion. Add a dollop of your favorite lotion in the palm of your hand and add a drop of EO. This is a great way to unwind at night as well as create your own favorite-scented body lotion for use any time of the day.
Soaking in a bath or a footbath with essential oils can be particularly relaxing. The aromatic benefits increase with steam and the sensation of warm soothing water. Adding essential oils to Epsom salts can be helpful (never drop essential oils directly into soaking water – it does not mix). Use a simple recipe that uses a carrier oil, milk, salts, or other mixture to help the essential oils to disburse. Here are a few bath salt recipes to try.
What Else Could There Be?
Pre-bedtime essential oil uses are limitless. Use them for dental hygiene, relaxation, cleaning, and so much more.
To illustrate their versatility, have you ever considered making play dough with essential oils for the express purpose of pre-bedtime relaxation?
I didn’t think so.
Here’s a recipe to try for you and/or your children. Of course, you don’t have to make play dough. I’m just making the point that your imagination is your only limitation.
Of course, essential oils aren’t just for bedtime.
I use them throughout the day for overall wellness as well as holistic remedies for specific concerns.
Do you wonder what essential oils are the healthiest? Do you wonder when to use them, where to buy them, and how to use them safely?
Feel free to contact me HERE to ask questions or to arrange a quick chat.
When it comes to essential oil usage – do a little research or ask a trusted advisor and experiment! Try something new and see how you like it.
What ways would you like to incorporate essential oils into your nighttime routine? What do you plan to try?
And, if you have a favorite routine already – please share
More on Sleep
If you’d like to read more of my articles on the topic of sleep, here are two you may find useful.
If you have pets who sleep in your bedroom, be sure to verify that the oils you wish to use are pet-friendly. Dogs and cats have different sensitivities, so please do your research accordingly. Here’s a short list of oils safe for dogs. Here’s a short list of oils safe for cats.