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Use Your Enneagram Type to Improve Your Sleep


Enneagram? No, this isn’t an offshoot of Instagram or anything like that. Enneagrams are a tool used by psychologists to help people understand their personality tendencies. It’s a way to decode parts of yourself to interpret how you may approach life and respond to personal struggles. Before you go too deep, just remember that this is a tool for development, not an all-knowing, all-seeing authority on who you are. Don’t let it define you or make you feel stuck in who you think you need to be. It’s sort of like astrology. It’s not going to predict everything about you, but it can be used as a guide to help you navigate your unique personality traits and overcome some aspects that you may need to work on to live your best life.

Finding Your Enneagram Personality Type

Who are you really? The philosophy around enneagrams can go very deep and elaborate, but basically, it’s a concept that provides insight on your core needs and why you may tend toward certain behaviors when those needs are not met. There are nine different enneagram personality types, and each one may overlap with the numbers next to it (called wings) and connect on the diagram with other numbers. We are all a complex mixture of the different wings and connecting numbers. Some sides of your enneagram pattern may be especially pronounced when you are stressed or in crisis. 

There are plenty of online enneagram quizzes that you can take to find what your personality type is, and for a fee, you can also purchase a more in-depth report on your results. Simply take the quiz and your enneagram type will be revealed. A word of caution — the results can be skewed depending on how well you know yourself. As a self-administered test, it relies on you being really honest and introspective. You may also exhibit certain traits and behaviors that are more pronounced at different phases throughout your life.

therapist drawing an ennegram during a session

Your enneagram may show you a little more of who you are and can be used to help you overcome issues holding you back or explain why you do some of the things you do. It can help you figure out how you best relate to others in your life, especially when you find out what kind of enneagram type they are. You can also find ways to adjust your lifestyle to better highlight your strengths and attend to your weaknesses. 

How Enneagrams Relate to Sleep

Better sleep? Yes, please! Your enneagram type may determine your sleep (or lack of sleep) patterns and help you get to the bottom of why you may have difficulties. For example, why is it hard for you to fall asleep sometimes but not others? What is on your mind keeping you awake? Why do you wait until you are absolutely exhausted to rest? What would make it easier to get you peacefully to dreamland?

After you have discovered your main enneagram type and subtype, you can use that information to help you create a bedtime routine that aligns with your personality type. By prioritizing sleep, all other aspects of life will go more smoothly, and you can continue to discover amazing things about yourself and the enneagram structure can help you with that life-long journey. 

Type One: The Reformer

This type tends toward perfectionism, which can manifest in a lot of ways, and they may find themselves at the end of the day trying to make sure everything is “just right” or mentally running through their to-do list. It may be difficult for them to unwind if they feel they have left something unfinished or if things have not turned out the way they planned. 

Type ones are good at planning and preparing, so creating a bedtime routine with a predictable and practical set of habits that sets them up for sleep success might come easily to them. This may include making a to-do list for the day ahead so that they aren’t thinking about everything they need to get done tomorrow as they are trying to drift off to sleep. Keeping away from the news or social media in the evening might be a good idea as they tend to focus on things they wish they could “fix” or improve. They may need to make adjustments to their routine over time to find just the right combo to send them into blissful, worry-free sleep. 

a couple in bed looking at their phones

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type ones cultivate openness, acceptance, and adaptability are eucalyptus, chamomile, and orange essential oils.

Type Two: The Helper

Type twos often bend over backward for other people or causes they believe in. While this is a wonderful trait, they tend to have difficulty saying “no” and end up overextending themselves. This not only leads to eventual burnout, but it can also lead to feelings of overwhelm and resentment. Setting boundaries is a big deal for type twos, and they may struggle with learning to do so. With everything they do for others, they tend to neglect their own needs and, at their core, really want that care and attention to be reciprocated. 

Prioritizing self-care may be challenging for them, but it’s an important life lesson for this type. Caring for their own needs in ways that make them feel nourished, relaxed, and fulfilled can help them feel comfortable and enhance their sleep quality. This could be as simple as taking a bath, trying self-massage or acupressure, or taking the time to do something they personally enjoy to wind down. Calming activities such as working on a puzzle, listening to their favorite music, reading a good book, and being just a tiny bit selfish can soothe their mind and nervous system. They may simply need to learn to say “no” to activities or people that make them feel depleted so they can get the proper rest they deserve.

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type twos encourage reassurance, unburdening, and restoration are juniper, neroli, and helichrysum essential oils.

Type Three: The Achiever

It can be hard for type threes to call it a day and stop whatever they are doing to focus on what may seem unimportant (sleep). They will push themselves sometimes past the breaking point to achieve their goals. Their inherent need to achieve often comes from a faulty belief that in order to be loved, they need to win all the awards, get top grades, or have dazzling success in their career. They often look outside themselves for validation, and there can be a lot of hidden feelings of insecurity. 

woman creating a vision board

Type threes can help position themselves for a good night's sleep by finding ways to affirm that their worth is not connected to achievement. It may be helpful to make lists or a vision board of things that bring them joy and connection rather than goals they think they should have. Avoiding social media in the evenings may also be helpful to avoid FOMO and feelings of needing to keep up with others. Even just thinking about the qualities they enjoy about the people in their life (not their achievements) can put things into perspective. Working with affirmations and meditation can help to quiet their inner critic and encourage them to tune into feelings of self-worth and confidence.

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type threes feel contentment and self-confidence are cardamom, lemon balm, and essential pine oils.

Type Four: The Individualist

Type fours are deep-feeling creatures who inherently hold onto a lot of emotions. This can make it hard for them to “let go” of what they have experienced that day (or week, or year), and sometimes can feel heavy and weighed down by their feelings. They are their own worst critic and have an overwhelming sense that there is something wrong or different about them that needs to be fixed. Always expressing their individuality and seeking creativity, it can be hard for them to pay attention to the ordinary parts of life, such as self-maintenance and the everydayness of having a bedtime routine.

It may be helpful for them to develop an evening routine that shakes off the weight of the day and gives them a chance to express themselves creatively. Journaling, abstract painting, or free-form dancing may be some good options to let them release pent-up emotions and explore and understand their own feelings better. Very sensitive to their surroundings, these types will do well in soothing sleeping environments that have a touch of style and uniqueness about them. They may be very responsive to color or light therapy and can explore how different colors may help them to feel energetic or calm depending on what they need at the time.

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type fours gravitate toward self-love, self-acceptance, and calm creativity are coriander, grapefruit, and rose essential oils.

Type Five: The Investigator

Type fives are constantly hungry for information, and it may be difficult for them to shut their brains off at night. They are conditioned to be scanning for useful information at all times, which informs how they relate to people and the world around them. They tend to be a bit detached from their own emotions, focusing instead on trying to explain and dissect rather than being in touch with how they feel. 

a couple doing yoga at home

A good way for five types to wind down may be to have some form of documentation, such as journaling any insights they gleaned throughout the day, or using a verbal recording device to capture their thoughts. These types do well to get out of their heads and into their bodies by doing something physical such as yoga, taking relaxing walks, giving themselves a foot massage, or trying acupressure. Object-based meditation, such as gazing at a candle, might be helpful to slow down their mind and focus their thoughts. Fives might also be drawn to sleep-enhancing techniques that have been scientifically studied and validated or may be good at determining what helps them to sleep better by observing and evaluating their sleep patterns over time. 

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type fives develop intimacy, optimism, and connection are geranium, thyme, and clary sage essential oils.

Type Six: The Loyalist

Six types seek to feel safe and secure. They are often thinking of the future and trying to be prepared for what might be coming their way. So focused on what-may-be, they have a hard time being present in the here and now. They can get carried away with their thoughts and all of the “what ifs,” even to the point of feeling panicky. Sixes always like to have a plan for the worst-case scenario, and their bedtime routine might be centered around locking doors and checking on pets or children. 

A good set of bedtime activities would be things that might help them feel secure and bring them back into the present moment. Meditating on a supportive affirmation, shutting down screen time (especially social media) early, and not watching the news or disturbing movies before bed might help them invoke a calm sense of being. Having a steady, predictable routine will help them ease into relaxation and encourage them to let go of worrisome thoughts.

therapist drawing an ennegram during a session

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type sixes gain feelings of security, courage, and stability are benzoin, lemon, and palmarosa essential oils.

Type Seven: The Enthusiast

Seven types just don’t want to miss anything! They may resist sleep, opting instead to go to that late night party or binge-watch a new show. They tend to have very high energy and are always looking for the next thing that brings excitement. They may have a wide range of friends that brings with them all kinds of fun experiences and ensures they never get bored. Sevens may avoid sleep until they absolutely must give in and finally crash, making them prone to overdoing it and overextending themselves in the name of fun. It can be hard for them to find ways to wind down or relax as they often try to avoid quiet moments (and sometimes even their own thoughts) as much as possible. 

Making healthy bedtime habits appealing for seven types can be tricky as they typically don’t like routines, and they can have a hard time sticking to one thing very long. A good book, a healthy sex life, a variety of herbal tea, listening to a new playlist, using a relaxation app, experimenting with aromatherapy blends, and snuggling with pets or children are all things that can keep it fresh for these types and encourage good sleeping habits.

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type sevens progress into tranquility, calm composure, and comfort in solitude are frankincense, lavender, and ylang-ylang essential oils.

Type Eight: The Challenger

Eight types like to have a challenge to solve and prefer to feel a sense of control and power. They may seek to control their environment (and sometimes the people around them), so creating a bedroom that meets all of their criteria can be very important. Adjusting lighting, temperature control, having white noise or soothing nature sounds, and maybe even using sleep cycle tracking devices could be helpful.

woman practicing stram of consciousness writing

Physical activity is a really good way for eight types to blow off steam and induce relaxation, so going on a quick jog or bike ride in the early evening is beneficial. Trying different relaxation techniques to see what works best is a good challenge that type eights might enjoy and will allow them to piece together a routine that calms their ample energy. Stream of consciousness writing or listening/singing along to music that mirrors how they might feel are ways to express themselves without the confrontations they may run into with other people. Eight types have a hard time showing vulnerability, so looking for methods to express their expansive feelings in a way that makes them feel safe can put their mind at ease and release pent-up emotions. 

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type eights promote feelings of compassion, trust, and tolerance are bergamot, marjoram, and peppermint essential oils.

Type Nine: The Peacemaker

Nine types are similar to type twos, but the reasoning behind their actions is different. Nine types may have difficulty standing up for themselves, but rather than having the desire to be needed by others (as with the twos), they just want everyone to get along, and most of all, they try to avoid conflict. They may be troubled by arguments they had during the day or if people around them aren’t getting along. Like type twos, working on boundaries and prioritizing self-care is really important. It could be as simple as deciding what to watch after dinner or ensuring they get a little “me time” each day.

They are always trying to balance the scales and make everyone else happy, so it can be hard for them to tune into what brings them joy. Nines can benefit from using journaling prompts that help them get in tune with themselves and how they really feel. Putting headphones on in the evening to listen to their favorite music or podcast can help them to be in their own little world for a time. Getting in touch with their bodies and minds through yoga or guided meditation can also have affirming influences and soothing qualities that can help invoke a good night's sleep.

Aromatherapy options that are great for helping type nines find certainty, self-expression, and develop boundaries are cedarwood, rosemary, and yarrow essential oils.

Waking up to Wellness

Enneagrams are a great tool for finding out a little more about yourself. This isn’t a theory that has been scientifically proven, but it can be eerily accurate. Each type tends toward certain extremes and defense mechanisms, and exploring them can be a pathway for furthering your growth and personal understanding. It can be common to feel a little unsettled when you come face to face with your shortcomings, but each enneagram type also has its strengths and positive attributes. Learning more about the core needs you have can help you to navigate through life, better communicate with those around you, and ultimately encourage the unfolding of a life in balance.