As a mother of four (usually) lovely kids, I have searched high and low for all those invaluable parenting tips and tricks. I have learned how to throw together an epic birthday celebration last minute. I have learned how to manage an overabundance of creativity so that the painting/drawing/doodling/etc. doesn’t spread to the walls. And I have learned how to convince children that cleaning their rooms really is in their best interests. But by far this is the most useful trick I have learned: how to get a grumpy or colicky or overly tired child to sleep.
Before I got into essential oils, I tried everything to get my three kids to sleep. I tried the rocking and the singing and everything in between. I finally found a natural sleep remedy for babies. Essential oils, I find that it is so much easier for me to get my fourth child—my precious almost-6-year-old—to sleep (relatively) soundlessly through the night.
So today, I’m going to share with you the top six oils that you can use to revolutionize your bedtime routine so that it goes from being sleepless to sleep-full. For all you mamas out there – this is for you!
Six Sleep-Inducing Oils:
Lavender is often considered a must-have oil to keep on hand at all times due to its versatile uses, including calming and relaxing properties that promote peaceful sleep and ease feelings of tension.
To reduce anxious feelings, restlessness, or any other tension that might be preventing your child from sleeping, add Lavender to your child’s bath water. (If you do this, just be careful to prevent any of the water from getting into your child’s eye. While the oil itself will not result in any physical harm, it may agitate your child by irritating his/her eye, which will likely not encourage sleep.)
For aromatic use, get a diffuser and add a couple drops of Lavender to the diffuser before positioning it strategically in your child’s bedroom. You can also add a few drops of Lavender to your child’s pillows or bedding.
In terms of topical use, create a diluted mixture of Lavender and a carrier oil (eg. fractionated coconut oil) to rub onto the bottoms of your child’s feet to promote a restful night’s sleep.
2. Ylang Ylang
Ylang Ylang essential oil is derived from the star-shaped flowers of the tropical Ylang Ylang tree and is used extensively in making perfumes and in aromatherapy. When used aromatically, Ylang Ylang is known to lessen tension and stress and to promote a positive outlook.
Ylang Ylang can be added to your child’s bath to relieve tension and promote relaxation. You can also diffuse Ylang Ylang in your child’s bedroom to create a peaceful and calming environment.
Bergamot is known to be unique among citrus oils due to its ability to be both uplifting and calming, making it ideal to help with anxious and sad feelings. It is also purifying and cleansing for the skin while having a calming effect.
One of the best ways to use Bergamot to promote sleep and reduce tension is to diffuse it in your child’s room. However, since Bergamot also has purifying qualities that can help cleanse skin, you can also massage Bergamot gently into your child’s skin, specifically on the bottoms of his/her feet. This will help remove any toxins and create a clean, calm environment for your child to peacefully enjoy.
4. Roman Chamomile:
Many people limit the potential of this essential oil by only using it in teas. While it does provide a sweet, floral aroma and can be quite enjoyable when ingested in small quantities, Roman Chamomile can also soothe body systems as it supports calming effects for the skin, mind and body.
Roman Chamomile is extremely effective at encouraging peaceful sleep when it is applied to the bottom of your child’s feet at bedtime. Simply dilute the essential oil by using a carrier oil (eg. fractionated coconut oil)—you can create this mixture in your hand, add it to a moisturizing cream, or use a handy-dandy glass rollerball bottle for easy application to your child’s feet.
Vetiver has a rich, exotic, complex aroma that is used extensively in perfumes. Due to Vetiver’s calming, grounding effect on the emotions, it is an ideal oil to use in massage therapy. It can also be rubbed on the feet before bedtime to promote a restful night’s sleep.
In terms of using it to promote peaceful sleep for your kids, you can use it as a massage oil to calm any agitation or fussiness. (Suggestion: Use Vetiver with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil—this will ensure that the oil doesn’t cause any irritation and that it can be applied easily, since Vetiver is a very thick oil). You can also add a few drops of Vetiver into your child’s warm bath to create deep relaxation and prepare them for a long, restful night of sleep.
Vetiver is also particularly effective when it is combined in a diffuser with Lavender, doTERRA Serenity®, or doTERRA Balance®. Combing Vetiver with one of these essential oils or essential oil blends helps to calm emotions and reduce any stress that may be hindering your child from sleeping through the night.
Known for its rich hue and warm, woody scent, Cedarwood essential oil provides a myriad of benefits. Cedarwood has a grounding aroma that evokes feelings of wellness and vitality, and when it is applied topically, it can help create clarity and calmness. Additionally, Cedarwood is frequently used in massage therapy to relax and soothe the mind and body.
While Cedarwood can be used topically and can serve many other purposes (eg. you can add Cedarwood to a cotton ball to keep the moths away from your clothes!), Cedarwood is most effective at encouraging relaxation and sleep when it is used aromatically.
So if you wish to incorporate it into your child’s bedtime routine, simply add a few drops of Cedarwood into a diffuser and place that diffuser in your child’s room. The likelihood is that your child will enjoy the woodsy scent and feel increasingly at peace the longer Cedarwood is diffused.
Pro-Tip: Essential Oils work best when combined with other tricks.
Gasp! Did I just say that? Did I just admit that essential oils should not be used in isolation but should be combined with other sleep-promoting tricks?!
Yes. Yes I did.
Because here’s the truth of the matter: no matter how many essential oils you might add to your child’s bath or diffuse in your child’s room or lather onto your child’s feet, if your home is stress-filled and lacking a structured bedtime routine, your child won’t be getting the quality and quantity of sleep that he/she needs to be health, happy, and headache-free.
Don’t get me wrong: Essential oils are LIFE SAVING! But they can’t replace the benefits that come when you give your child a regular routine of structured sleep preparation. Babies, like every other human at every other stage of development, are creatures of habit that will flourish and feel most at ease when there is a regular, ritualized bedtime routine.
While I know that life as a parent is busy, I really cannot emphasize enough how important it is to put a routine in place. And even beyond that, it’s important to set special time aside for your child near bedtime. Since bedtime is likely the only point in the day when your child is separated from you for hours on end, it can be anxiety-inducing for your child to be sent to bed without any reassurance from you.
So insert yourself into his/her routine! My husband and I divide up different bedtime tasks so that we each get to spend time with my 6-year-old. This helps him keep track of what’s happening, since he knows that Daddy gives him a bath and brushes his teeth and Mommy tucks him into bed and prays with him and gives him blessings every night. And he loves it! We constantly talk about how the time we spend together near bedtime is our favourite time of the day!
Moral of the story: Routine is the most effective tool you have to ensure that your child is able to consistently fall asleep with ease. And yes, of course, essential oils are important! And please please please use them in your routine so that you get those awesome calming, soothing, and relaxing benefits! Just remember that they are meant to add to your child’s bedtime routine, not replace it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have my own bedtime routine I need to get to. I won’t give away my secrets for how I sleep, but I’ll give you three keywords: bath, chocolate, and oils.
Take care, everyone!
Stay calm and oil on!
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