Long before there were sleeping pills, people relied on the natural soothing properties of herbs and flowers to promote a peaceful rest. A dream pillow is simply a pillow or sachet filled with a combination of dried herbs and flowers—its relaxing fragrances are used to lull you into a deep slumber. We’ll go over a few of the best dream pillow herbs to make your own easy DIY project. We’ll also share four different herb combinations you can try out.
Keep reading for more information on dream pillow herbs, their benefits, and how to make your own! A good restful sleep is only a few steps away…
How to use a herbal dream pillow
The purpose of a dream pillow is to promote a restful night’s sleep using a variety of dried botanicals to relax and soothe the body and mind.
There’s really no right or wrong way to use a dream pillow so long as you can smell the natural fragrances. (Think of a dream pillow as a blend of relaxing potpourri stuffed in a pouch!)
Try tucking a dream pillow inside your pillowcase, or placing under your pillow. You can also place one beside your pillowcase if you prefer. Others may like to clutch onto it like a pillow or teddy.
Whether you believe in the healing powers of natural botanicals or not, at the very least, you’ll enjoy lovely scents wafting into your bedroom as you doze off.
Best dream pillow herbs
While some herbs and flowers simply smell wonderful, others have calming, soothing, or sleep-inducing properties. Create your own customized herbal blend sleep pillow by combining two or more of the following dream pillow herbs.
Or, if you prefer to stick to a recipe, check out the section below.
Make fragrance last longer with fixatives
This part is completely optional, however when making a potpourri (which is essentially what you’re putting into a herb-filled dream pillow), many people use fixatives to make the scents last longer and as an all-around preservative (3).
There are two main ways to add a fixative:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Orrisroot and salt
The easiest way to apply a fixative to your DIY potpourri mixture is to pour some isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) into a spray bottle.
- Allow your dried flowers, herbs, and spices to fully dry. Blend together and let sit for at least 3 weeks to allow fragrances to mingle and set.
- Use the layering method: Lay down a layer of potpourri into a jar. Spray potpourri with rubbing alcohol, then spread another layer of potpourri. Pack into glass jars and seal tightly.
- Let this mixture rest in jars for 2–4 weeks.
Orrisroot and salt
If you don’t like the idea of using rubbing alcohol, a mixture of orrisroot and salt can be used. Orrisroot comes from the iris plant (Iris florentina).
Note: Parts of the iris plant along with orrisroot are poisonous when ingested. Keep away from children and pets.
To make a fixative, combine:
- 1 part orrisroot powder with 2 parts uniodized salt
- Combine with dried potpourri
4 recipes for dream pillows
While you can customize your favorite botanicals by combining two or more of your favorite sleepytime herbs listed above, you can also follow these tried-and-tested recipes if you prefer.
The first two herb-filled dream pillows recipes are from the handy tome, Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.
1) To-ease-melancholy-and-put-you-to-sleep pillow
- 2 ounces (60 grams) dried rose petals
- 1 ounce (30 grams) dried mint leaves
- 1/4 (7.5 grams) ounce dried cloves, crushed
2) Headache pillow
- 2 ounces (60 grams) dried lavender
- 2 ounces (60 grams) dried marjoram
- 2 ounces (60 grams) dried rose petals
- 2 ounces (60 grams) dried betony rose leaf
- 1/2 ounce (15 grams) dried cloves
When your head is pounding, break out this headache pillow and sniff away your aches.
The next two recipes are adapted from the book, Your Indoor Herb Garden: Growing and Harvesting Herbs at Home by DJ Herda.
3) Soothing pillow
- 4 parts dried hop flowers
- 1 part lime flowers (linden) and sweet woodruff
Here’s a good recipe for a soothing slumber: Combine the sleep-inducing properties of hop flowers with a touch of sweetness from lime blossoms, and the grassy/vanilla notes of sweet woodruff.
4) Fragrant pillow
- 3 parts dried meadowsweet
- 2 parts dried rose petals
- 2 parts dried agrimony
Meadowsweet has an aromatic fragrance similar to fresh honey; when combined with the sweetness of roses and the rich fruity scent of agrimony, you’ll be induced into a blissful slumber.
How long does the fragrance in homemade dream pillows last?
Depends on the freshness of flowers when picked, the type of fabric used, etc.
Generally the scents from homemade dream pillows last up to one year.
Tip: To “freshen” up your sleep herb pillow, gently crush the pillow or sachet between your fingers to release more fragrant oils from the petals and leaves.
How to make a dream pillow
You can use any type of scrap fabric for your dream pillow, and make it any size you wish. When selecting a fabric, it’s best to use natural, breathable fabrics such as muslin or cotton.
You also want to ensure the weave of the fabric is tight enough to ensure the contents don’t spill out.
Tip: For a no-sew option, you can use a glue gun in lieu of needle and thread.
A good size to make is a 5″ X 7″ pillow.
- Cut a 6” X 15” rectangle from a fabric of your choice.
- Fold in half lengthwise and sew along the sides leaving the top open. A 1/2-inch seam provides a good start.
- Turn rightside out and fill with your dried dream pillow herbs.
- Sew pillow closed by pressing in a 1/2 inch seam.
Enjoy your new dream pillow—pleasant dreams!
- Chang, Y. Y., Lin, C. L., & Chang, L. Y. (2017). The Effects of Aromatherapy Massage on Sleep Quality of Nurses on Monthly Rotating Night Shifts. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017, 3861273. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3861273. Accessed July 2021. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318279431_The_Effects_of_Aromatherapy_Massage_on_Sleep_Quality_of_Nurses_on_Monthly_Rotating_Night_Shifts
- Mayo Clinic, Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid?, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/valerian/faq-20057875. Accessed July 2021.
- Emery, Carla (2012). The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition. Sasquatch Books. ISBN-13: 978-1-57061-840-6.
- Herda, DJ (2020). Your Indoor Herb Garden: Growing and Harvesting Herbs at Home. New Society Publishers. ISBN 9780865719330.