Essential Oils For Sleep: Uses, Risks, And More

Essential Oils For Sleep: Uses, Risks, And More

Posted By Vaibhavi K on Jun 16, 2021

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep rejuvenates your body and keeps you youthful. But what if you can’t fall asleep? 

Over 70 million Americans have some sleeping disorder that keeps them up at night and makes them susceptible to chronic diseases, mental illnesses, and low productivity.  Allopathic medicines and sleeping pills are an option, but they can have numerous side effects like drowsiness and loss of appetite.

People are turning towards nature and natural sleep aid to find a solution that doesn’t have long-term effects on their overall well-being. One such natural and easy home remedy is using essential oils for sleep. 

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are made from the extracts of various plants. These oils capture the plant’s flavor or essence, which can then be used for their individual benefits. 

Their use dates back to 4500 BC in Egypt, where they were used in beauty products. Essential oils have been used as a natural remedy against certain sleep disorders as well. Lavender and chamomile being some of the best essential oils for sleep. These extracts are mixed with a carrier oil that helps stabilize the extract and keeps it from evaporating or burning the skin when applied. 

essential oil falling in glass bottle by dropper

Research on the Effects of Essential Oil on Sleep

Research confirms aromatherapy to be one of the best ways to get better sleep. 

A 2019 research studied the effects of lavender, bergamot, and ylang-ylang oil on the sleep pattern of 42 adults. The results showed that inhaling these aromas improved the sleep quality of the participants. They did not wake up as frequently in the night and reported feeling more energetic the next morning.

Another study done in 2020 confirmed that lavender is beneficial for improving sleep in diabetic patients as well. Apart from relieving stress and promoting deep sleep, essential oils have other beneficial health effects. They can:

  1. Reduce anxiety and stress.
  2. Strengthen your immune system.
  3. Manage depression.
  4. Improve sleep quality.

How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep

If you are planning to use essential oils for better sleep, here are some ways you can safely try them.

  • Rub some essential oil on your palms, feet, and temples before bedtime. It is better not to apply the oil directly if you have sensitive skin. Instead, mix it with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil.
  • Use a diffuser to make your bedroom fragrant. You can easily find essential oil diffusers in the market.
  • You may light a candle that has essential oils infused in the wax.
  • Rub your palms with a few drops of essential oils and inhale deeply.
  • You can also add a few drops of the oil to water and spray it on your bed and pillows.
  • Add some essential oil to boiling water and inhale it with the steam. 
a woman has poured essential oil for sleep on hands to apply

10 Best Essential Oils For Sleep And Relaxation

There are several varieties of essential oils, and each has different properties. So then what essential oils are good for sleep?

Here is a list of some of the best essential oils for relaxation and sleep.

  • Lavender Oil

Lavender is extracted from the lavender shrub. It has a sweet floral scent with a hint of pine. The best way to use it is by diluting it in distilled water and spraying it in your bedroom. If you are rubbing it onto your skin, it is best to mix it with a bit of olive oil. It might not suit your sensitive skin in its raw form.

  • Chamomile Oil

Extracted from the chamomile plant, chamomile can help manage insomnia. Chamomile oil is one of the best essential oils for sleep, and it helps manage your stress and anxiety. Rub a little on your palm and inhale. You can also apply it to the soles of your feet and on your temples.

  • Bergamot Oil

Bergamot is a citrus fruit that does not produce stimulative effects like other citrus fruits. It has a soothing effect instead. As a result, your heart rate and blood pressure slow down, inducing sleep. However, you should avoid using it before going out in the sun since it is photosensitive.

Various essential oils for sleep with flowers decorated on a dark background
  • Marjoram Oil

Marjoram oil is well known for its relaxing properties and is also known to help with snoring. In addition, it can calm down your brain activity and is one of the most effective essential oils for sleep apnea.

  • Clary Sage Oil

Have you been in a bad mood lately? The stress of daily life can contribute to depression. Clary Sage oil acts as an antidepressant. It reduces the levels of cortisol, which is the hormone leading to stress. 

Diffuse some Clary Sage oil in your bedroom in the evenings. That will help uplift your mood before sleeping.

  • Valerian Oil

Working with your neurotransmitters, Valerian oil is a well-known sleep inducer. Possessing a rich, musky, and woody aroma, valerian roots are used to extract this medicinal oil. Valerian oil blends well with lavender, rosemary, and pine essential oils. 

  • Sandalwood Oil

Extracted from the wood and roots of East Indian sandalwood trees, sandalwood oil has a soothing and harmonizing effect when inhaled or rubbed on the temples of your head or the soles of your feet. 

  • Ylang-Ylang Oil

Native to Indonesia, Ylang Ylang is used on the skin to treat mild infections, dryness, and to lower blood pressure. Its natural antiseptic properties can help you stay healthy while helping you relax before sleep.

  • Jasmine Oil

Derived from the white flowers of the Jasmine plant, jasmine oil has a sweet floral fragrance that will calm your senses instantly. It can help balance your hormone levels and while reducing stress significantly. 

  • Peppermint Oil

A hybrid of spearmint and watermint, peppermint oil helps reduce nausea, headaches, and muscle tension. It is also commonly used as a flavoring agent in food and mouthwashes to leave you smelling and feeling fresh. 

Risks of Using Essential Oils

You should handle essential oils with care. Make sure you read all the instructions before using them. The labels usually come with instructions telling you where to apply essential oils for sleep.

You will get the best results with topical application. However, don’t forget to do a patch test before applying it to your skin. Rub a small quantity on your palms and leave it for a day. If you do not get any reactions, it is safe for you to use.

Take care not to ingest essential oils. That might lead to stomach disorders and nausea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to be particularly cautious while using essential oils.

Other Ways to Improve Your Sleep

You can consider making some changes in your lifestyle to improve your sleep schedule.

  • Reduce your caffeine intake. Avoid consuming caffeine in the evenings.
  • Start having your dinner early. It gives you enough time for digestion. You will not suffer from problems like acid reflux.
  • Keep away your phone and other devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed. That will give your brain the time to relax. The blue light of your phone and computer is harmful to your sleep.
  • Wash your hands and feet before going to bed. Don’t forget to change into airy and comfortable clothes. As your body relaxes, you will drift into sleep easily.
  • Set a bedtime and adhere to it. It will send a signal to your body that it is time to wind up.

If you are over 35 years old, then sleep is even more critical to your overall well-being. Read this article to know more. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you rub essential oils on your feet for sleep or spray them on your bed, they will improve your sleep quality. You will wake up with renewed energy every morning. If you have a medical condition, don’t forget to consult your physician before using them.


Which essential oils are sedative?

Some essential oils like bergamot and valerian have a sedative effect on your body. This can reduce snoring, calm the nervous system, and lead to restful sleep.

Do essential oils have any side effects?

Essential oils might lead to allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin. They can also lead to digestive problems if ingested.

What are some essential oils for sleep and anxiety?

Lavender, chamomile, and Bergamot are considered to have a soothing effect that helps relieve anxiety, reduce stress, and lead to deep sleep.