Can Crystals Really Help You Sleep Better?
If you're in-tune with the worlds of complementary medicine or spiritual healing—or if you've been on Instagram recently and seen beautiful shots of gemstones—you've likely heard about crystals, minerals, and gemstones said to have health and healing benefits for the body.
People claim the stones interact with your bodies' energy points (a.k.a. chakras), alleviating stress, improving concentration and creativity, and even helping you sleep.
But while popular, can these pretty gems actually help you rest? Plus, if you're going to use them, where should you start?
Here, medical professionals, energy healers, and holistic specialists weigh in about using crystals for sleep.
What science says about crystals
Terry Cralle, RN, certified clinical sleep educator and Saatva sleep consultant points out that there is currently no scientific or medical evidence supporting claims about the healing properties of crystals.
As a Time article on the topic notes, studies on crystals are few and far between. One, conducted in 2001, found that people reported experiencing sensations after holding both real and fake crystals.
“We found that lots of people claimed that they could feel odd sensations while holding the crystals, such as tingling, heat, and vibrations, if we'd told them in advance that this is what might happen," Christopher French, a professor of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London told TIME. “In other words, the effects reported were a result of the power of suggestion, not the power of the crystals."
To this extent, Cralle says there could be a placebo effect—the belief that a crystal could work as opposed to the crystal truly “working"—at play.
Placebo treatments are effective in helping people feel better from all sorts of medical issues, including sleep disorders such as insomnia.
So, can crystals help you sleep?
Lack of scientific medicine aside, many complementary health experts say crystals do possess benefits in and of themselves.
“Often what keeps us up at night are lower vibrational energies like stress, worry, anxiety, or fear," says Heather Askinosie, co-founder of Energy Muse and co-author of Crystal Muse: Every Day Rituals To Tune In to The Real You. “Even an overwhelmed mind and busy thoughts can prevent us from turning off and falling—or staying—asleep."
Askinosie explains that crystals have a stable energy frequency, so they can align your energy with theirs. “By attuning our energy with their own, crystals can help us release any lower vibrational energy that prevents us from sleeping soundly."
Of course, who feels what can vary, notes Jessica Brodkin, founder of Love and Light Services. “Some people are really sensitive and they feel a lot, some people only feel a little, and some people feel nothing at all." Brodkin notes that this could be innate to someone but also related to how spiritual or in-tune someone is with mindfulness.
Crystals might also bring about feelings of mindfulness. “Simply holding a crystal and feeling the smooth texture, rough edges, and feeling the crystal in your hand is a form of mindfulness," says Katie Ziskind, licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Wisdom Within Counseling. “Being mindful can help you get present and allow your mind to stop focusing on the worries of the past or anticipations of the future." This, she notes, could help clear your mind and help you sleep.
Related: How to meditate for better sleep
How to choose (and use) a sleep crystal
If you're healthy and you want to try to use a crystal to sleep, there's likely little wrong with that.
When choosing a stone, use your intuition and see what you're drawn to at a crystal shop, suggests Brodkin. While you can shop online (sites like Etsy have large selections of crystals), the best way to choose crystals is in person, she says.
Experts favor these stones that could help you achieve a calmer state and drift off to sleep:
- Amethyst: This is “a very peaceful crystal that allows you to connect to your inner peace," says Askinosie.
- Rose quartz: This corresponds with the heart chakra, says Brodkin, and it can feel very relaxing and loving. “Rose quartz can help channel negative energy into positive energy," adds Ziskind.
- Lepidolite: It “relieves anxiety so you can release all the thoughts that are keeping you awake," says Askinosie.
- Onyx: This is a grounding, black stone that can help you sleep, says Brodkin.
- Selenite: It “cleanses you of anything you are holding onto from the day and guides you to let it go," says Askinosie.
- Celestite: This is “one of the ultimate sleep crystals as it soothes your soul and is known for its ability to prevent nightmares," says Askinosie.
Once you have a stone picked out, limit the number of crystals you keep in your bedroom. “Too much crystal energy can actually keep you up at night," says Askinosie. “We recommend working with just a few and placing them either on your nightstand or dresser. You can also place the crystals under your bed."
Make sure to cleanse your crystals at least once a month, to ensure that their energies remain at their fullest capacity, she says. “Over time, your crystal will pick up whatever energy you release so cleansing them is important to keep their energy clear." To cleanse them, use the smoke of burning sage or place crystals under the sunlight or moonlight for at least four hours.
Just remember: Many people overlook sleep issues (which have been linked to more serious health conditions such as heart disease) when talking with their doctors, says Cralle, who adds, “my concern would be if a person was using them in place of conventional treatment for a sleep disorder."
So if you think you could be suffering from a sleep disorder, bring it up with your primary care doc or seek the help of a specialist so that you can get the help you need—crystals or not.
Can a sleep app help you fall asleep? Find out what happened when one writer put three sleep apps to the test.