A good night’s sleep helps you feel and function your best each day. Unfortunately, for many people restorative sleep is elusive. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, around one in three American adults suffers occasional or short-term insomnia, while 10% struggle with chronic insomnia. While many will reach for a prescription sleep aid to gain some shut-eye—the CDC estimates that 4% of U.S. adults use a prescribed sleep medication each month—others prefer a more natural approach to this frustrating, yet common health concern.
Once you’ve ruled out medical causes of insomnia, your next step should be to consider your nighttime routine—are you drinking caffeine late in the day or spending an hour or two on a backlit electronic device, such as a tablet or laptop, right before bedtime? Or maybe it’s your bedroom itself that’s causing the problem. Is the room too hot, too noisy, or too bright? All of these are common causes for difficulty in sleeping and easily resolved with a change in bedtime habits or a more sleep-friendly bedroom.
01 of 09
The sweet, hypnotic fragrance of jasmine flowers can stir your romantic interests, but if you don’t have a partner on your mind, the heady fragrance is said to calm the nerves, sedate the mind, and relieve anxiety and depression.
02 of 09
Distilled from the peel of a type of citrus fruit, bergamot oil is what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor and aroma. The citrusy, fresh fragrance is also a potent reliever of anxiety and depression and helps to reduce mild pain.
03 of 09
One of the best-known aromatherapy treatments for insomnia is lavender. There’s a good reason for that—not only is the fragrance powerful and long-lasting, but lavender is probably the most-studied sleeping herb, with considerable evidence that it really works to promote restful sleep. This is one of the few essential oils that is mild enough for undiluted use on your skin. It’s a great choice for children who resist bedtime—just mix up a spray bottle of lavender oil and water, and use it to chase away monsters and bad dreams before tucking them into bed.
04 of 09
Marjoram’s use extends far beyond the kitchen—the somewhat woodsy-smelling oil excels at relaxing the body and calming the mind, leading to pleasant drowsiness and deep sleep. It’s also a good rub (when mixed with a carrier oil) for soothing away arthritis and muscle pain that prevents sleep.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Chamomile tea is a classic nighttime brew, praised for its sleep-inducing qualities. If you don’t care for tea, you can get the same benefits by using chamomile essential oil to calm your nerves and bring on shuteye. Look for Roman chamomile; it’s more relaxing than the German variety. Chamomile is one of the few essential oils mild enough to be used directly on the skin without dilution.
06 of 09
Vanilla isn’t just a flavoring for cookies and ice cream—this sweet, spicy fragrance has strong sedative, antidepressant, and relaxing qualities, making it a perfect bedtime companion. It’s also considered to be an aphrodisiac, however, so use it as you require. Note that vanilla essential oil is NOT the same as vanilla extract used for cooking.
07 of 09
08 of 09
Valerian has been used for centuries to relieve bad moods, calm the senses and bring on peaceful sleep. It’s very effective, but unfortunately, many people find its fragrance unpleasant. If you fall into that group, mix the valerian oil with lavender to conceal the fragrance while increasing the potency.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Sexy, exotic, and mysterious, oil from the bark of the Santalum tree has been used for thousands of years not only to scent perfumes and incense but also to cure insomnia, relieve stress, improve the mood and boost the libido. It’s especially effective for those who can fall asleep but are disturbed by repeated wakening throughout the night.