9 Best Essential Oils for Sleep in 2019 | Top Rated EOs for Sleep
April 11, 201910 min read
SIDE NOTE: We recommend finding a company who you trust in where and how they source their essential oils. We cannot stress enough that quality of essential oils is EVERYTHING. If it is not with a reputable company, then you may not get what you order. With that being said, we are big believers in DoTerra Essential Oils. If you are going to order from DoTerra, we recommend becoming a wholesaler for them, as it will save you a significant amount of money. Here is a link to become a wholesaler under us and become part of our team. Under each description of the essential oil, we have included an affiliate link to buy it from DoTerra and direct on Amazon when available. Buying through these links helps keep this blog going.
While millions of people easily fall asleep every night, roughly 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. Of these, about 4% rely on prescription medication to fall and stay asleep each night before having to get up for work the next day. If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, then you know how a good night’s sleep can make all the difference in your mood, productivity, and energy levels.
If you regularly find yourself lying awake, staring at the ceiling, and hoping your brain will shut down soon, or waking up feeling tired and groggy from a restless night, then you might have fatigue to deal with. While sleeping pills might help get you back on track, they are not without their side effects. Essential oils offer a natural alternative that can help you relax, calm your busy mind, and slip into a deep sleep.
What Makes An Essential Oil Good For Sleep? How Can Essential Oils Help You Sleep?
Many people don’t realize the effect that scent has on us, but if you’ve ever smelled fresh cookies and had your mouth water in response, then you know that scent can trigger physical reactions in the body. In addition, scent has close ties with memory and emotion, proving that the power of scent is undeniable. In fact, when we smell something, the olfactory nerve sends signals to the limbic system and amygdala – the parts of the brain responsible for memory and mood. This connection is why scents can impact how we’re feeling; for example, certain scents may make us feel happier, soothed, or even help us recall a memory.
Essential oils can do a lot more than just freshen up your home and their popularity has grown as researchers continue to learn more and more about how different scents can influence mood, energy levels, focus, and sleep. However, not all essential oils have been shown to improve sleep. As aromatherapy has demonstrated, essential oils can be used for a wide range of purposes, from relieving migraines to treating acne to alleviating congestion.
Specific essential oils, including those that are highly concentrated versions of natural oils in plants, have been shown to improve sleep quality. Scents that promote relaxation are ideal to get you in the right headspace for deep sleep. It’s important to keep in mind that many essential oils are adaptogens, meaning they may have different effects on different people. For example, while vetiver oil relieves insomnia for some, it can create a feeling of refreshment and alertness for others.
The best essential oils for sleep can be broken up into two groups: oils that clear your airways to alleviate snoring and sleep apnea, and oils that calm the mind and reduce anxiety to battle insomnia. However, using essential oils as part of your bedtime routine can also help train your mind so that the scent of your favorite oil is associated with relaxation and falling asleep.
How to use essential oils for sleep
There are a number of different ways to use essential oils to help you sleep. One of the most common ways is to use a diffuser, like this one from DoTerra, which is a great premium, high-quality diffuser, but if you are just starting and want to start out on a budget, try this one from Anjou.
If these diffusers are a bit out of your price range, no need to worry! You can also massage a few drops of your oil onto your forehead and temples, neck, chest, wrist, hands, and/or toes. If you like taking soothing baths before bed, you can also add a couple drops and Epsom salts as your tub fills up.
If you’re a fan of room sprays, try adding some drops of essential oil and a bit of water to a spray bottle and spray the mixture into the air or on your pillow before bed.
For those who suffer from sleep apnea or nasal congestion, adding a few drops to a pot of boiling water and sitting with your face over the pot, and a towel draping over your head, can create a little tent for you to steam your face and open up your airways.
When applying essential oils topically, the oils will permeate your skin. This means that, in addition to affecting your olfactory nerve, the oils will enter your bloodstream at a faster rate and have more of an effect. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid applying essential oils topically and stick to diffusing.
9 Best Essential Oils for Sleep
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Not only is it a popular scent for perfumes and room sprays, Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils for sleep and relaxation. Lavender oil has a soothing scent that’s been associated with relaxation and sleep for decades, and has also been used as a natural remedy for anxiety. Extensive research demonstrates lavender’s effects on the body, including the reduction of anxiety and depression.
Using this oil before bed can help you relax as lavender has sedative effects. Since lavender has been studied profusely, several studies indicate lavender’s effectiveness for improving sleep quality, increasing time asleep, and elevating daytime alertness. Lavender is also linked to lower blood pressure, skin temperate, and heart rate, all of which contribute to a good night’s sleep. If a sore body is contributing to your lack of sleep, lavender can also help with pain relief.
Ylang-ylang, meaning flower of the flowers, gets its name from its strong, sweet smell. Ylang-ylang plants are native to India and produce yellow flowers. The oil from these flowers are known for treating hypertension. As researchers continue to study the beneficial effects of the plant, more uses are being discovered. Ylang-ylang induces drowsiness and can be used to calm nerves, making it great for people who find their thoughts keep them awake at night.
Ylang-ylang can be used for more than just sleep. It also has antiseptic and antiseborrheic properties, meaning it can help with skin conditions such as dandruff. It is also a natural antidepressant that doesn’t cause the same side effects that chemical compounds and synthetic dopamine blockers can.
Chamomile is an herb that comes from daisy-like flowers and is known for its sedative effects and healing properties. Chamomile is a natural remedy which has been consumed for centuries for a number of health conditions, including depression and anxiety. It can also help relieve feelings of stress and fatigue. If you have tight, sore muscles chamomile tea can help you unwind and release tension. Chamomile can also alleviate arthritis pain, boost digestive powers, and improve heart ailments in people of all ages.
You’re probably already familiar with the popular chamomile tea. Drinking chamomile tea can help fight sleep disorders and insomnia, and improve sleep quality. Chamomile can also improve sleep duration and therefore help strengthen your immune system. One of the main benefits is its versatility – it’s a powerful sleep aid for adults, yet gentle enough for children.
Neroli is produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree, and consequently has a sweet citrus like smell. Being both fruity and floral at the same time, it’s one of the shining stars of the perfume world. Neroli is often found in creams, makeup, and other skin care. Neroli oil’s light, floral fragrance can help calm your senses, reduce stress, and improve your mood. This makes it a great option to help reduce anxiety at bedtime to help you fall asleep.
It can also reduce cortisol levels and assist in the production of neurotransmitters that have a calming effect. Neroli is no one-trick pony – it also has rejuvenating activities and can help improve the appearance of skin and relieve acne. Using neroli in your bath can help you fall soundly asleepand get youthful, glowing skin – who knew a sleep aid could double as a skin care product? It works on your skin by preventing breakouts, controlling sebum, and attending to sun damage. Try blending neroli oil with chamomile, rose, ylang-ylang, lemon, or sage for the ultimate calming cocktail.
Cedarwood oil is derived from the needles, leaves, bark, roots and berries of cedar trees. As you may have guessed, this oil has a signature woodsy aroma that is comforting, relaxing, and warm. Using a few drops a day can help restore your sleep-wakefulness balance, while also bringing you a sense of calm. Cedarwood oil is also well-known for its weight loss effects, anti-hair loss properties, skin soothing abilities, and allergy relief.
Cedarwood oil is a relatively affordable oil that’s also known to improve sleep quality. It can help reduce stress by causing your body to produce more serotonin, which also boosts your mood. It’s also a natural sedative, meaning it’s great for fighting insomnia. Cedarwood oil contains a terpene called cedrol, which is the active, sedative ingredient in the oil. Massaging a couple drops into your neck, head, and back can help you relax before bed. You can also blend it with lavender, sandalwood, and jasmine for optimal results.
Sandalwood oil has anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties, but above all, sandalwood oil balances biomechanics and organ systems. Sandalwood is one of the best essential oils for sleep due to its powerful sedative effect, which can help improve overall health, memory, and immunity. Sandalwood is unique because supports homeostasis, which is the ability of a being to maintain stability and proper functioning in spite of changes. The three main types of sandalwood are Indian sandalwood, which the most effective, then Hawaiian sandalwood, and finally Australian sandalwood.
You can find sandalwood in the form of incense sticks, home sprays, perfumes, and of course, essential oils. Although inhaling the concentrated scent of sandalwood oil can be a bit overwhelming, the strong smell can instantly induce sleep. Beyond sleep, sandalwood can help improve the digestive system, reduce physical stress, and reduce systolic blood pressure.
Valerian is a tall, flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. For decades, those involved in alternative medicine have used valerian essential oil to enhance cognitive abilities, heal fatigued muscles, and improve sleep quality. Valerian root extract is perfect for troubled sleepers and insomniacs as it can prevent the recurrence of depression and anxiety disorders while reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
At one time, valerian oil was referred to as the “heal all” oil due to its extensive use. Valerian oil can be beneficial for heart problems by regulating blood pressure and reducing palpitations. If that weren’t enough, valerian oil can also help reduce menstrual cramps. Plus, you can use valerian oil for massages or brew herbal tea directly from the root!
Vanilla is another scent that is appealing to most people, while also having sedative effects on the body. Vanilla has a sweet scent that evokes feelings of warmth and happiness, and can induce relaxation and stress relief. It can minimize hyperactivity and restlessness, while lowering blood pressure and soothing the nervous system. For this reason, vanilla is one of the best essential oils for treating anxiety, stress, and sleep problems. This is why so many bath products use vanilla fragrance. Vanilla improves sleep quality, working on both physical and mental levels to help you relax. This oil quiets the mind and relieves tension, while also helping you fall asleep faster.
Bergamot, a unique citrus fruit, is a cross between a lemon and an orange. You may think that a sweet citrus scent would have an invigorating effect, however bergamot’s main benefits include anxiety and stress relief. This is because the flavonoids found in bergamot oil are good relaxants which soothe nerves, reduce tension and help cure ailments associated with stress including depression, high blood pressure, and insomnia. These flavonoids can also stimulate dopamine and serotonin production, which help you relax and get sleepy. Bergamot can also help lower blood sugar levels, reduce pain, prevent infections, aid digestion, and more.
Affiliate Information for Amazon and DoTerra: We recommend finding a company that you trust in where and how they source their essential oils. We cannot stress enough that quality of essential oils is EVERYTHING. If it is not with a reputable company, then you may not get what you order. With that being said, we are big believers in DoTerra Essential Oils. If you are going to order from DoTerra, we recommend becoming a wholesaler for them, as it will save you a significant amount of money. Here is a link to become a wholesaler under us and become part of our team. Under each description of the essential oil, we have included an affiliate link to buy it from DoTerra direct on Amazon when available. Buying through these links help keep this blog going.