We all know a good night of sleep is important, but just how important is it? Being well-rested helps us in maintaining good mental and physical health throughout the day. However, with expectations from work, family life, and social pressures we experience a lot of added stress and anxiety that makes getting the perfect amount of sleep difficult.
Over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids must be used with caution and can bear a list of side effects. If you’re looking for a natural sleep aid to work into your nightly routine, then aromatherapy with essential oils may be the perfect solution.
In this article, learn what essential oils are, how to use them, and our list of essential oils for sleep to keep at your bedside. By the end, you’ll be achieving a full night's rest with your new favorite essential oil.
Table of Contents
- What Are Essential Oils
- How To Use Essential Oils For Sleep
- What Are The Best Essential Oils For Sleep and Relaxation?
- Ylang Ylang
- Clary Sage
- Simple Essential Oil Recipes For Sleep
- Where To Buy Essential Oils For Sleep
What Are Essential Oils
Essential oils have a history long before our popularized modern-day uses. Dating back to ancient Egypt, essential oils have been used throughout time by many cultures in aromatherapy, healing elixirs, and perfumes.
The term essential oil is rooted in the fact that the oils are the essence of the plant it is sourced from. The oil is a chemical compound from within the plant that provides it with not only its scent but also various other properties that help the plant prosper. In turn, we can use these compounds to our benefit as well.
We obtain essential oils naturally from plants through a distillation or pressing process depending on the source. Which is then collected in vials and bottles for our various uses. The number one proven effective use is the ability to create a state of relaxation. This is why we want to discuss the use of essential oils as a sleep aid.
How To Use Essential Oils For Sleep
There is a multitude of ways to incorporate your routine with essential oils to achieve better sleep. Whether you like your aromatherapy simple to enjoy while you get ready and into bed, or if you prefer an immersive experience, consider these methods when using essential oils for sleep.
One of the most popular ways to use essential oils is in a diffuser. Also known as an aroma lamp, the diffuser breaks down the oil and releases it as vapor. This allows for the direct inhalation of essential oils.
When using essential oils to promote sleep, set up your diffuser in your bedroom or nearby space where you are getting ready for bed. This will help you start feeling the relaxing effects so you are ready for a good night's sleep once you lay down.
You may also choose to leave the diffuser running on a timer while you lay in bed, to turn it off during the night, ensuring you are fast asleep under the effects of the essential oil.
An essential oil roller is another fantastic option. This method for essential oils provides both the opportunity for inhalation and absorption to benefit from the soothing effects of essential oil.
Rollers are used to apply essential oils directly to the skin for scents and their benefits that lasts hours. You can either purchase an empty roller that you fill yourself or a pre-filled essential oil roller.
Rollers aren’t for everyone and have the potential to cause skin irritation. Make sure that the oil you chose to use is safe for skin, organic, and appropriately mixed in a carrier oil for safe use.
If you rather avoid essential oils acting as a perfume on your skin, you may wonder alternatively where to put essential oils for sleep. There is a way to make certain that your essential oils stay in the bedroom where they are needed and not stay with you on your skin once you get up. Simply, place a couple of drops of your chosen oil onto the inside of your pillowcase when it is time to go to bed. Avoid putting the oil somewhere that will come in direct contact with your face as this can be overwhelming or irritating.
You can also make a fabric spray by diluting a few drops of oil in a spray bottle to mist your sheets before wrapping yourself in them.
In The Bath
If you like a soak in the tub to wind down, consider adding a few drops of essential oils to create a steamy aromatherapeutic experience. When using a skin-safe essential oil diluted in your bath, you get all the benefits for calming your nervous system as well as any skin-nourishing benefits.
When you’re done, towel dry and take in the lingering scent as you lay down for the night. Rinse off with a soap that can break down oil if you experience any discomfort.
If you’re someone who works on their feet all day long then you would love a relaxing foot soak to end your day. This concept works the same as if taking a bath with essential oils. Fill your foot soaker or a large tub with hot water to dilute your essential oil of choice.
A foot soak improves sleep by promoting blood circulation that helps keep the body at ideal temperatures through the night. Pair this routine with an appropriate essential oil and you’ll be set for an uninterrupted night.
Get your partner involved with getting ready for bed, or create a loving self-care routine with sleep-inducing massage oils.
Purchase massage oil or moisturizer that has your favorite bedtime scent, or alternatively, create your own! Take an unscented massage oil to mix your essential oils into. Give yourself the ability to try out different scents each night. Take it further and make it natural by using coconut or olive oil. Lavender essential oil is a great option with this method.
What Are The Best Essential Oils For Sleep and Relaxation?
Here we have compiled a list of 15 relaxing essential oils for sleep and their benefits so you can make the best choice for your personal nightly routine.
Each oil targets different areas that will ultimately bring about relaxation, calm anxiety, reduce stress and promote sleep.
The most popular and commonly noted essential oil for sleep improvement is lavender. The effects of lavender have been heavily researched and prove promising. The use of lavender essential oil will not only help you relax into a sleep state but encourages staying asleep. Reducing excess REM cycles and reaching that oh-so desirable deep sleep that allows us to wake up refreshed.
Lavender works by targeting our central nervous system, which includes our brain. Signaling that it is time to relax and let go of any harboring anxiety.
Leave your worries in the past with frankincense essential oil.
Frankincense is known as an emotional and spiritual cleansing scent. This comes in handy with releasing any negative feelings that can be causing us stress.
Incorporating frankincense in your night-time blend of essential oils can help you with reaching a sedative-like state of mental relaxation. This is why it is popular to use frankincense with meditation. Maybe a before-bed meditation with frankincense essential oil in the diffuser is just what you need for sweet dreaming!
The flower chamomile has a long history as a sleepy-time herb, commonly seen in teas. If you’re not a tea drinker, then chamomile essential oil will prove diversely helpful in its uses.
Chamomile’s chemical makeup responds similarly in the brain as anti-anxiety medication does, acting as a mild sedative and delivering a calm wave in our bodies. Particularly because of the antioxidant apigenin found in chamomile.
While chamomile is great for helping you fall asleep, pair it with lavender essential oil for a sleep that lasts all through the night.
Start catching your highly craved Zs with valerian essential oil, which is highly recommended for those dealing with insomnia.
Valerian essential oil has it all. Its sedative qualities on our nervous system has gained it the nickname “nature's valium”. Containing antioxidants and natural acids that reduce stress hormones and promote sleep, you can count on valerian.
Use valerian essential oil in any aromatherapy routine, however, for best results a direct inhalation method such as a diffuser will prove to be strongest.
Ylang ylang essential oil not only has a wonderful scent but also carries a list of benefits that can be found helpful when it is time to wrap up for the day.
The uplifting floral scent of ylang ylang has anxiety and depression-relieving effects in our brains - unfortunately, a common reason we lose sleep. Ylang ylang essential oil has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and help open airways. Optimal blood oxygen flow keeps the body out of stress responses and conducive to relaxation.
For some, relaxing is the hardest part. If that’s you, consider ylang ylang essential oil aromatherapy.
A number one staple in spas and massage facilities is the eucalyptus essential oil. This is because of its fresh scent that delivers on relaxation - a definite crowd-pleaser.
Eucalyptus essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help relax airways by aiding the clearing of congestion for easier breathing. A great choice when trying to sleep with a cold.
On its own, eucalyptus essential oil may not provide the level of relaxation you are looking to achieve. Try mixing eucalyptus and lavender essential oil for the full spa experience.
If you like less of a floral scent and lean more toward earthy and herb tones, then clary sage is the essential oil for you. This essential oil is another stress reducer, as well as a natural anti-depressant.
Clary sage essential oil acts on reducing cortisol in our systems, the number one hormone responsible for keeping us on alert in high-stress situations. Sometimes, we have high amounts of this hormone circulating after the stressor has passed, leaving us lingering in the negative effects.
Wind down from stressful days with clary sage essential oil in your diffuser while you do a light activity that makes you happy.
Sourced from richly scented trees, sandalwood is a down-to-earth essential oil to keep you grounded in the evenings before bed. Being grounded means balanced emotions and an uplifted mood. In turn, resulting in easy-flowing thoughts that allow you to drift off into a slumber.
A great essential oil option for those who like to meditate in the evenings or right before bed.
The magic-like workings of cedarwood essential oil on the brain is what makes this an essential oil for sleep. This essential oil is recommended for those experiencing insomnia.
When the scent of the cedarwood hits our olfactory system, our brains release serotonin - known as one of our feel-good hormones. Serotonin is a key precursor for melatonin, the hormone that helps us feel tired when it is time to sleep.
Marjoram is a relaxing essential oil that works best in a roll-on for application to the skin. Apply to areas such as the neck or feet where muscle stress is experienced.
The marjoram plant is from the mint family, giving it a sweet and light scent, making it ideal for sensitive noses - and especially kids. Try marjoram with restless young ones fighting bedtime.
There has also been some proof of its effectiveness in clearing airways of those experiencing sleep apnea.
A lesser-known essential oil, copaiba, holds a sweet scent with a slight bit of a kick reminiscent of pepper. If this is your cup of tea for the senses, then reach for copaiba essential oil for relaxation fueled sleep.
Copaiba essential oil acts on our central nervous system relieving built-up emotional stress.
Have you ever walked through a blooming garden? I guarantee it made you slow down. Maybe, smell the roses?
That is why rose essential oil is recommended as an aid for sleeping. The floral scent reminds us of the beautiful and colorful outdoors, and releases endorphins easing us out of a state of stress. Embrace a calm mind and body with rose essential oil in a linen spray for your bedding or furniture.
Jasmine is a scent almost anyone can get hooked on. It is an overall mood booster, making it a fantastic addition to your aromatherapy practice. In fact, this essential oil’s sleep benefits can compare to lavender in its effectiveness.
When using jasmine essential oil you can expect increased alertness during the day which helps reduce stress and anxiety in daily tasks and pressing situations. At the end of the day, use jasmine essential oil to leave any lingering worries at the door.
Use caution if choosing peppermint essential oil for sleep. The properties of this oil alone can make it more of a wake-up call than a wind-down cue. However, mixed with other strong sleep-inducing essential oils, you can create the perfect slumber blend.
Peppermint essential oil is great for soothing upset stomachs, sore muscles, and congested sinuses. Ailments that will keep anyone from a good rest.
Vetiver essential oil is another scent grounded in warm earthy tones. Most popular among masculine senses. This down-to-earth scent creates a space of total relaxation. So much so that in some cases has proven to change our breathing habits while we sleep, making for an even more relaxed state for staying asleep.
This small study on essential oils mentions vetiver oil changing breathing patterns to have longer exhales than inhales, a common breathing technique used in meditation to achieve states of total zen. With improved breathing, this hints towards its possible effectiveness of decreasing snoring in deep sleep.
Simple Essential Oil Recipes For Sleep
Having the perfect blend of essential oils can be the ultimate way to promote a good night. By using different oils meant to target stressors such as anxiety and high blood pressure with oils for stimulating relaxation, you can create the master combination to ensure complete relaxation and undisturbed rest.
Consider these essential oil recipes for sleep with use in your favorite method whether it be diffuser, rollers, or a linen spray.
- 3 drops Lavender
- 3 drops Bergamot
- 2 drop Ylang ylang
Roll- On Recipe
- 10 ml roller bottle
- 15 drops of Lavender
- 15 drops of Peppermint
- Fill remaining space with a carrier oil
- 12 drops of Eucalyptus
- 5 drops of Cedarwood
- 3 drops of Frankincense
- 3 ounces of carrier oil or alcohol base to dilute
Where To Buy Essential Oils For Sleep
With the popularity of essential oils, diffusers and aromatherapy there are many products to choose from. Unfortunately, this also means many unreliable and unsafe essential oils. It is common to see cheaper oils being synthetic which clogs our diffusers and causes irritation to our lungs and skin.
When shopping for essential oils it is safer to purchase from a reputable company that offers organic and certified oils.
Next time you are experiencing a period of restlessness or disrupted sleep, consider aromatherapy with one of these 15 essential oils for sleep. With numerous application methods to try, you can find one that meets your different preferences and needs. As well, don’t forget it doesn’t need to stop there, get creative with your blends and find the perfect essential oil for you!