Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lavender oil for sleepless nights with a pup

I've been an essential oil user ever since I realized tea tree oil works better for blemishes than any other commercial product. I've always kept botanical bottles in my cabinets, but usually for homemade deodorant or skincare products (or because sometimes work is only bearable if I can hold an open bottle of lavender oil up to my nose.) Like any of us looking for a simple, natural lifestyle (seems to be everyone, eh?), I've long know that essential oils have compounds that have actual effects on our physiology, but I've rarely used them (tea tree is the exception) for their compounds. I should also note that I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, so I've never felt like I needed to experiment with lavender oil.

Enter Basket: the lovable, crazy border collie pup.  This dude has gotten into the habit of waking us up in the middle of the night to play (I guess that's what happens when you nap literally all day), which is a minor problem for me, but a huge problem for my boyfriend. It's hard for him to fall asleep, and once he wakes up it's almost impossible for him to get back to sleep.

Last night, I persuaded boyfriend to put lavender oil on his feet, and I did the same. Basket, who sleeps in his crate next to our bed, sneezed a bunch in protest at first (I was concerned that he might have a bad reaction to the vapors) but we all settled in to sleep. I fell asleep right away, but that's not out of the ordinary; more surprising was that boyfriend and puppy slept through the night, too. Of course, lots of other factors could have been at play: boyfriend started a new job that is exhausting, Basket went for a walk around the neighborhood with my and met lots of new dogs and people (stressful and fun, which can be exhausting for a 12-week old pup). I don't think the lavender oil had much of an effect on the boyfriend, but he fell asleep a little faster than usual and I don't think that's something I'm going to write off as a coincidence just yet.

I usually use Aura Cacia or Nature's Alchemy oils because they are relatively affordable and can be found in local natural grocers. I'm definitely interested in trying out other brands -- I'm a firm believer that there is not one brand that trumps all others, but I do think it makes sense that some oils will have lower levels of certain compounds depending on a variety of factors like where it was grown, the season that it was harvested, proper farming practices and care, and the overall climate that year. We will see, I guess.

(I just realized I also use lavender oil on itchy bug bites and on burns -- it still surprises me how well it takes the edge off a burn/expedites healing time. So, I guess I do actually use lavender for "medical" reasons from time to time.)


  1. Lavender oil is so soothing. I use it in Epsom salts for baths. I wish I had thought of using lavender oil when my dog was a puppy though because it might have saved a lot of stress.

    1. Homemade bath salts and bath bombs are a m a z i n g. I have an awesome recipe for bath bombs that I'm planning to share when I make my next batch.