Historically speaking, I’ve never had trouble falling asleep. Once my head hits the pillow, I’m gone. To wit, there’s even talk of my having slept through a hurricane when I was eight years old. Becoming a parent, however, has proved a sleep-pattern game-changer. Oh, those nights of uninterrupted solace that used to be so common. I don’t think I’ve experienced such nocturnal bliss in over two years, which is why having an all-natural sleep salve that I can whip up in a pinch is so wonderful.
Inspired by a batch of salve gifted to me several seasons ago by a former co-worker, I set out to craft a similar balm for myself so I could once again get some quality shut-eye (my friend based her concoction on a recipe from this great book). For today’s Small Measures (the last one this year before Grace takes time away for a holiday break), I’m sharing my recipe for a balm that can be made in very little time once you’ve acquired the ingredients. And since we’re headed into the Christmas–New Year’s stretch of revelry, you may want to make a batch to have on hand should your own merry-making and festivities require an added dose of sleep assistance (this also makes a wonderful last-minute gift). Happy holidays, all, and sweet, sweet dreams! — Ashley English
Read the full how-to after the jump . . .
I keep a small jar of this salve beside my bed. Each night, right before I turn out the light, I dab a bit on my temples, my forehead, my wrists and under my nose. The texture is great for spreading, and it blends into my skin right away. Feel free to play around with the scents. If you want your balm to have a really pronounced fragrance, add a bit more essential oil. If the scent feels too strong, dial it back in the next batch. Experiment with fragrances that you find calming and restful, too.
Homemade Sleep Salve
Yield: 2 ounces
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil (not toasted)
- 1 Tablespoon beeswax (either grated or pellets)
- 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil (15 drops)
- 1/8 teaspoon tangerine essential oil (10 drops)
- 1/8 teaspoon sandalwood essential oil (10 drops)*
- 1/8 teaspoon rosewood essential oil, optional (10 drops)
1. Place a heatproof glass container, such as a Pyrex measuring cup or a Mason jar, inside of a small pot (I prefer using a spouted container for this, as it makes pouring easier, but any type of heatproof glass will work).
2. Fill the pot with 1 to 2 inches of water, until it is halfway up the side of your glass jar.
3. Put the olive oil, sesame oil and beeswax in the glass jar. Bring the water to a gentle boil.
4. Using a wooden stirrer, such as a chopstick, stir the oils around gently until they have fully melted.
5. Remove the pot from heat. Add the essential oils to the melted oil blend. Gently stir with your wooden utensil until the essential oils are completely incorporated.
6. Pour the oil mixture into small glass, metal or ceramic containers.
7. Allow to cool, then cover the containers with lids and label them.
8. At bedtime, rub the salve into your temples and onto your forehead and dab a bit under your nose. You can also put some on the backs of your hands and onto your wrists.
9. The salve is most potent within 6 to 8 months of making it.
What about you? Have any handmade, trusted, natural sleep solutions you swear by? I’d love to hear about them. Sleep is so very precious. May we all have an abundance of it in the New Year and beyond!
Images and styling by Jen Altman