How to Unwind Before Bed

bed-1_300Counting sheep isn’t nearly as adorable as it sounds, especially when you’re actually, you know, tired. If the stress of the day is keeping you up at night, try using aromatherapy to relax before you hit the pillow.

Massage a dab of aromatherapeutic balm or oil into your shoulder and the back of your neck just before bed—and be sure to inhale deeply. Certain fragrances like lavender and lemon balm promote snooze-inducing relaxation, says Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., a sleep specialist at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, in Tucson. (Try Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Night Health Bedtime Balm, which contains lavender; $65,

Not a fan of lavender and lemon? You’re in luck: Any fragrance that makes you feel good can be calming, says Phyllis Zee, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurology and the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University, in Chicago. Don’t worry about sticking to a traditional aromatherapy scent.

If your kids are the ones who need help at bedtime, check out this guide to helping them catch their much-need Z’s.


  1. MaryAnn Coy

    There are nights when I’m willing to do any thing to fall asleep. When pain keeps me awake even smelling Ben Gay might help. I’ll have to get some lavender oil. This is definitely worth trying. MikasMom.

    June 3, 2014 at 10:49 pm

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