Radha Beauty Lavender Essential Oil Therapeutic Grade 4 Oz, $14, Amazon
In case it wasn't totally obvious, lavender oil was the definite winner for me in this experiment.
In fact, it wasn't just lavender oil's ability to knock me out that I loved so much. I've been diffusing lavender oil in my room nearly every night since wrapping up this experiment, and not only has it been helping me fall asleep more peacefully, it's also been making my dreams much more vivid, and it's been giving me a heightened ability to lucid dream, which is something I've only occasionally been able to do, and usually only at random. A lucid dream is when you're aware that you are in a dream as it's happening, and as a result, you can actually control what happens.
One night while diffusing lavender oil in my bedroom, I had one nightmare where I was walking on my usual route to work from the subway. It was snowing really, really hard, and suddenly, a huge gust of wind lifted me and everyone else around me off the ground, and we were basically all caught in what seemed like a cyclone.
Now, usually, a dream like this would just take me for a ride the whole night, and I'd probably get dropped by the wind, then carried back up, and so on and so forth, with no control over the events whatsoever. But with the lavender oil, I somehow found a way to regain control of my body while I was literally in the middle of the cyclone, and I floated back down to the ground with ease, totally unharmed. I remember questioning to myself how I was able to do that, and once it dawned on me that I must be dreaming, I woke up.
Lucid dreaming has always been a skill I've wanted to build on, especially since I've dealt with nightmares and bad dreams for a lot of my adult life. Having the power to control what happens in my dreams makes it so that I can wake myself up when I want to wake up — like when something too stressful is happening — rather than wake up in a cold, frightened sweat after my imagination has had its f*cked up brand of fun with me.
There's not a ton of research on the relationship between lavender oil and lucid dreaming, but the general thought is that because lavender can help you fall into such a deep sleep, you have a greater chance of being able to lucid dream. And, as Turner notes, "any time we release stress and connect with our inner spirit before bed, dreams will become more vivid, clear, and lucid."
All I know is that I'm definitely going to keep using lavender oil each night before bed — if not for a better sleep, at least for more control over my wild dreams.