Doin’ It Well: Create Sweet Dreams With DIY Sleep Salve

The human body is amazing. We walk around like wireless machines–refueling and charging off of three necessities: water, food and sleep. Yet sometimes, we fall into a pattern of neglect by not eating right, drinking minimal water and not getting the hours of sleep we need. Well, I’m here to hand you a bit of aid to remedy one out of the three: your restlessness.

Being a new mother on the go has me feeling completely drained at times. I’m serious, my toddler runs around the house like a Dementor (Harry Potter fans, I see you), sucking every ounce of energy I contain. By the end of the day, I find it hard to unwind because my brain is still spinning and working to complete all the things I wanted to do while she was up. Sometimes I get them done. Other nights, I just have to completely shut down the mental noise and take my butt to bed.

That’s where this killer Sweet Dreams Salve comes in. All it takes is a small amount massaged into my feet to send me to the sandman.

Here are the essential oils that make it effective:


This violet petaled herb has been a long time calming agent. It eases anxiety and insomnia and was even used as an aphrodisiac in the Middle Ages. In a sleep study by psychologists at Wesleyan University, lavender increased slow -wave sleep (deep sleep which entails the relaxation of muscles and slowing of the heartbeat). Slow-wave sleep is believed important in organizing new memories as well as the secretion of growth hormones.


*Insert Joanne The Scammer’s voice* Honestly, truly…when I stumbled upon this stuff I was amazed. How had I gone life without cedarwood oil? Not only does it help with a mountain of ailments. It’s also natural sedative that does a beneficial number on your body. It begins with the relieving of stress, tension, inflammation and muscle aches and ends with encouraging the release of serotonin, which is then transformed into melatonin (a hormone your body needs for restorative slumber). That’s right, cedarwood coaxes your body to CREATE its own melatonin. Science is awesome.

Roman Chamomile

Chamomile is a very mild stabilizer and it does a natural job of inducing sleep by calming the mind and body. It is also great for menstrual pain.


Before I even knew the healing properties of bergamot, I was pouring it into my diffuser in the evenings and finding myself more relaxed than usual. Once I became educated on the herb, my reaction made sense. Some sleep salve recipes I’ve seen contain lemon or grapefruit oils–which confuses me because those are classified as stimulants. On the other hand, I have also heard that wild orange and the previously stated oils help some sleep. I’d rather not risk it. We’re not trying to stay awake, right? Bergamot serves as the recipes happy medium because it’s a citrus oil that calms and brightens your mood.

Coconut Oil

This stuff is good in everything and should be used loads. It also is a healthy fat that gives your body what it needs to produce sleep hormones. Check out my previous DIY sunscreen post to learn more of this oil’s benefits.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

This carrier oil is full of antioxidants that shield skin from free radicals. It’s hydrophillic nature also encourages  moisture and softness.

Arrowroot Powder

This ingredient helps to prevent greasiness. Feel free to substitute it with cornstarch if you’d like.

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil is a key ingredient in many dermatological products for many reasons:

-It restores elasticity.

-Repairs the skin and also smooths/diminishes scars and stretch marks.

-Provides power packing antioxidants.

-Acts as a preservative.

The recipe

1/2 cup of Extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup of Extra-Virgin olive oil
2-4 tbsp of beeswax pastilles (per the consistency you desire. I prefer 3 tablespoons)
3/4 tsp.of Vitamin E
1/2 tsp of arrowroot powder or cornstarch

15 drops cedarwood essential oil
15 drops bergamot essential oil
20 drops roman chamomile essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil

Recipe makes a batch that measures at 8 ounces.

1.) Combine olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax pastilles into a glass jar.

Note: some users prefer white beeswax because they like the scent better, but I prefer to stick with yellow beeswax because it’s unrefined.

2.) Fill small pot halfway with water and place jar inside pot. Turn the stove heat on to bring water to a boil and stir jar’s contents until melted.

3.) Remove jar from pot and cool on trivet or towel.

4.) Lightly add arrowroot powder to jar’s contents and stir to thin out lumps.

5.) Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes longer. The healing properties essential oils contain can be cooked out at high heat, so it’s important to wait until your mixture is cool enough to add them.

6.) Add vitamin E and essential oils once mixture isn’t hot to the touch. Stir well.

7.) Pour contents into desired storage (i.e. glass jars or tin cases). I like to pour mine into two 4 oz. jars.

8.) Cover with paper towel and cool overnight at room temperature.

9.) Cover with lid the next morning.


Rub on feet about a half hour before bed, then cover with socks to collect the warmth of ingredients. Over time you’ll also notice the salve making a great difference in the texture of hard areas like your heel and the balls of your feet.

Additional Notes

1.) Be sure to check in with your Doctor before adding any new ingredients to your regimen–especially if you are breastfeeding, allergy prone, pregnant, on prescribed medication or have high blood pressure.

2.) I strongly advise against using bergamot on children younger than 5. If you’d like to use this salve on your child as well, I suggest removing it from the ingredient list and using the recipe without it. The results and steps work all the same even with its exclusion.

3.) Bergamot is also phototoxic, which means is will make your skin more sensitive to the sun, just like other citrus oils. Trust me, you don’t want to cook your feet. Do not expose your skin to the sun for 12 hours after use. Because essential oils are cross-sectional, you can also substitute it with frankincense, sandalwood or marjoram oils. I keep a tin case with frankincense in bergamot’s place for my daughter and I can attest to the same knockout results I get from the recipe given above.

4.) Don’t be disappointed if you in fact need something prescribed to help you relax. Everyone is different–with different ailments varying in severity. There is nothing wrong with seeking help from a professional for sleep and anxiety disorders.

5.) Use the highest quality of oil. Make sure they are organic and pure. Neal’s Yard Remedies is very renowned for the product standards. I highly recommend purchasing essential oils from them.

That’s it! Now go make your salve and go catch some well deserved zzzzz’s.



When she's not getting lost in fantastical worlds with the fictional characters she writes, Tia tends to lead something of a normal life. She enjoys the hours of her day by sifting through comics at her local comic book shop, blogging as a pop culture analyst, writing multicultural fantasy, watching "Tangled" and One Direction videos on repeat with her toddler, playing air guitar to Thin Lizzy, connecting life with '90s film quotes and finding new ways to sneak a bite of pizza when she knows she shouldn't. You can find her tweeting here and there, @tatixtia.

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