Are you or a family member experiencing night terrors and nightmares?
There’s nothing worse than waking up all sweaty and filled with fear in the middle of the night.
And although for most of us they’re something that occurs rarely, many people experience nightmares regularly.
If happening on a regular basis, nightmares and night terrors can have serious consequences including anxiety, insomnia, and decreased mental capacity.
Even though there is no universal cure for these sleeping problems, some essential oils can help to reduce their occurrence, thus improving your sleep.
- 1 Reasons For Night Terrors In Adults And Children
- 2 Essential Oils That Help Reduce Night Terrors and Nightmares
- 3 Essential Oil Mixtures You Can Make
- 4 Other Things to Try Against Nightmares and Night Terrors
- 5 In Conclusion
Reasons For Night Terrors In Adults And Children
By definition, “night terrors are nocturnal episodes that cause great fear while sleeping”. Usually, a night terror attack lasts from half a minute to three minutes, manifesting through the following symptoms:
- shouting and screaming
- sitting up in bed
- heavy sweating
- heavy breathing and racing pulse
- dilated (widened) pupils
- staring with the eyes wide open, but not responding
- aggressive behavior
Who is most affected?
Even though night terrors can happen at any age, they’re most common in kids. In fact, about 40% of kids suffer from night terrors. Luckily, no matter how scary they are, night terrors are usually not a cause for concern since they usually stop by teenage age.
What are the causes of night terrors?
There are many factors that can contribute to the occurrence of night terrors, including:
- Extreme tiredness
- Sleep deprivation
- Sleep disruptions
- Noise or light
- Full bladder
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Some genetic factors
- Breathing problems
- Some medications
- Mood disorders including anxiety and depression
- Restless leg syndrome
A study from 2014 showed that people Parkinson’s disease are also prone to night terrors. Another study conducted in the same year found that kids who have experienced bullying are more likely to suffer from night terrors.
Essential Oils That Help Reduce Night Terrors and Nightmares
It has long been known that some essential oils have a soothing and calming effect on the nerves. This means that they’re very efficient in reducing the stress levels and improving sleep patterns.
Using the following oils can help you calm down and relax before sleeping, thus reducing the occurrence of nightmares and night terrors naturally.
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is known for its ability to calm your nerves and help with insomnia. Smear some lavender oil behind your ears or under the pillow before going to bed. You will have an uninterrupted sleep and wake up refreshed.
Alternatively, you can use lavender oil with a diffuser, especially when combined with other essential oils (see the recipes below).
This oil can also be used for babies and small kids that have trouble sleeping. It is said to help them overcome the fear from the dark, as well as the fear of sleeping alone.
2. Mandarin Oil
The mild scent of this oil is known to have calming and relaxing effects upon your mind and body, allowing you to have pleasant dreams.
You can add about 4-5 drops on a cotton pad and put it under your pillow (or by the bed), or use it with a diffuser about half an hour before going to sleep.
Mandarin oil can also be mixed with carrier oils such as jojoba and coconut oil. The beautiful aroma of this mixture is sure to give you a good night sleep.
3. Chamomile Oil
You have probably used chamomile in the form of tea to soothe the stomach and improve digestion. The essential oil also possesses calming properties that help ease various sleeping problems. It is even said to help with sleepwalking.
A few drops of chamomile oil will reduce the feelings of anxiety, as well as the exhaustion accumulated during the day, thus preparing you for a good night’s sleep.
4. Rose Oil
Rose oil can be used independently or combined with other oils such as patchouli, helichrysum, or sandalwood oil.
Take a drop or two of this essential oil (individually or mixed with the above-mentioned oils) and massage it on your feet. Since the feet are highly absorbent, the oil will easily enter the bloodstream and spread through the whole body, thus helping you to sleep without any nightmares.
5. Sandalwood Oil
Extracted from 40-year-old trees, sandalwood oil’s earthy aroma relaxes the nerves, aiding you to fall fast asleep.
It is even said that putting a drop of this oil under your pillow will induce dreams of your past lives!
6. Vetiver Oil
Another essential oil with earthy scent, vetiver oil helps eliminate the physical causes of nightmares and night terrors. It can be used individually or combined with chamomile and lavender oil.
This oil can help regulate digestion, lower high blood pressure, restore hormonal balance, and alleviate cramps, thus allowing you to have a peaceful night.
7. Bergamot Oil
Bergamot’s pleasant citrus aroma will refresh you and boost your mood, giving you a sense of happiness and wellbeing. If used before bed, this oil will soothe your nerves and reduce the feelings of fear, which is enough for a good night rest.
8. Wild Orange Oil
Depending on how you feel, this oil can have a different effect on your mind and body, i.e. wild orange oil can either be energizing or soothing. That’s why it is called an adaptogen.
Orange oil is often used in combination with lavender oil to help reduce nightmares and night terrors. It is also said to create dreams of happiness.
Essential Oil Mixtures You Can Make
Different blends of essentials oils can be relaxing, calming, and help you get a restful night.
Calming Touch Bath
- ½ cup carrier oil (coconut or jojoba are recommended)
- 10 drops Lavender oil
- 30 drops Sandalwood oil
- 2-3 drops Mandarin oil
- 2-3 drops Cedarwood oil
Combine all the oils in a container, then add 4-5 drops in your bath before going to sleep. Keep in a dark container (preferably a bottle), away from sunlight.
Destination Relaxation Mix
- 1 drop Rose oil
- 2 drops Chamomile oil
- 2 drops Sandalwood oil
- 4-5 drops Lavender oil
Combine the oils in a diffuser or add a few drops on the palms and take three deep breaths before going to bed.
Cloud 9 Mix
- 10 drops Bergamot oil
- 5 drops Orange oil
- 5 drops Lavender Oil
- 1 drop Chamomile oil
- 1 drop Geranium oil
Blend all the oils and inhale deeply several times just before going to bed.
Dreamer’s Destination Bath
- ½ cup carrier oil of choice
- 15 drops Orange oil
- 20 drops Lavender oil
- 5 drops Sage oil
- 1 drop Ylang Ylang oil
- 1 drop Vetiver oil
Combine the oils in a dark bottle and add a few drops in your bath before going to bed. Keep the mixture in a dark, cool, and dry place.
Tranquility Aromatherapy Mix
- 5 drops Clove oil
- 10 drops Anise oil
- 10 drops Sage oil
- 5 drops Mugwort oil
Combine the oils in an inhaler and take a few deep breaths before going to bed for a restful sleep.
Pure Harmony Mix
- ½ cup water
- 5 drops Marjoram oil
- 5 drops Chamomile oil
- 10 drops Lavender oil
- 10 drops orange oil
Blend the oils and water together. Add a few drops on your pillow or spray the room about 15 minutes before going to bed.
Other Things to Try Against Nightmares and Night Terrors
- Make sure the food you consume is healthy and nutritious, combined with at least eight glasses of water a day. If necessary, consult a healthcare professional about taking supplements.
- Have your last meal no later than 8 pm. It should be light in order to avoid digestive problems. Food and veggies are your best choice.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and caffeine-infused drinks at night.
- Avoid watching TV and movies, as well as playing computer games before going to bed. If possible, play some quiet, relaxing music in the bedroom to help you calm down. White noise can also help you relax. Examples of white noise include sounds of ocean waves or raindrop sounds.
- Avoid tidying up or playing with your kids before going to bed. Try to relax by doing breathing exercises, yoga stretching, or meditation.
- Hyperactivity and over-excitement before sleeping can also cause night terrors in kids. Make sure they’re in a relaxed state before going to bed. Talk to your kids to see if anything is stressing or disturbing them and try to console them before they go to sleep.
- If you’ve tried multiple methods but you still can’t get rid of nightmares and night terrors, seek professional help. Professional sleep therapists can detect the root cause of your sleeping problems and suggest techniques that will help you sleep peacefully.
While there’s no ‘cure’ for nightmares and night terrors, certain techniques such as proper diet, reducing stress, or doing yoga can help reduce their occurrence.
Essential oils are a great natural way to help you calm down and relax before going to bed. Try them individually or test a few of the recommended mixtures to see which one works best for you.