Aromatherapy has a long vibrant history in our world, and for good reason: lower stress, better sleep, more energy, clearer complexion and pain relief are just some of the benefits to aromatherapy. For babies and children, incorporating aromatherapy into their sleep routine has enormous (can’t emphasize this enough) benefits including their ability to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. If you’d like to try it with your child, learn the basics using our baby & child sleep aromatherapy guide.
A couple things before we dive in:
1. Keep essential oils out of the reach of young children. Essential oils are highly concentrated and highly potent substances and should not be used without adult supervision.
2. Dilute essential oils for babies and children. When using essential oils for youngsters, use a 1% dilution (5 to 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil) and select only non-toxic, natural oils. And while all the herbs listed below aid in sleep and are considered safe with proper handling measures, the ones with a star after the name (*) are considered the safest essential oils for children. Regardless of what you choose, always watch for reactions and consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.
Best Essential Oils for Child’s Sleep:
Bergamot: Named after the town of Bergamo in Italy, Bergamot scents many teas and colognes and can reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia and help balance emotions.
Chamomile*: Chamomile is widely regarded as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. It also decreases hyperactivity in children and has the additional benefits of being an anti-inflammatory, stress reliever and pain reducer (just to name a few, really it’s a wonder herb).
Lavender: Research shows that aromatherapy with lavender can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. In folklore, linen bags were filled with lavender flowers and placed under the pillow to help people fall asleep. Today, this anecdotal remedy for sleepless nights has been validated by clinical studies proving the benefits of lavender in aiding a sound and restful night’s sleep. We’ve had such great success using lavender with our own kids that we created a Cloud b aromatherapy Plush Pillow Ladybug that features a removable scent pouch filled with our exclusive lavender blend.
Lemon Balm (Melissa): A member of the mint family this calming herb has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote sleep when combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops, and chamomile).
Orange Blossom (Neroli)*: Grown commercially in France, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, neroli stimulates the release of serotonin and the production of melatonin to serve as a hypnotic to induce sleep.
Sandalwood: In use for at least two thousand years, sandalwood has amazing medicinal and skin benefits. Sandalwood also improves depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Spikenard: Historically used in religious contexts, spikenard relieves emotional tension and insomnia.
How to Use: Essential oils are typically diluted through carrier oils (e.g. almond, avocado, cocoa butter, jojoba, coconut…and more!) or water. Here are just a few suggestions for using aromatherapy for you and baby. (The suggested dilutions below have been adjusted for babies and children.)
Massage Oil: 5 to 6 drops per ounce of carrier oil
Bath: 3 to 5 drops per tub
Compress: 3 drops per cup of water
Room Spray: 1 drop per 4 ounces of water
Scent Pack: Don’t pass up the opportunity to use the actual herb! Send little ones off to dreamland with a “dilly pillow,” a pillow filled with aromatic herbs. As we mentioned above, you can try our Ladybug Plush Pillow to get started.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aromatherapy. If you’re interested in diving deeper, we recommend “Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to the Healing Art” by Kathy Keville and Mindy Green.
Have you tried sleep aromatherapy? Share your tips and experience in the comments!