7 Essential Oils For Sleep & How To Use Them
I’m sure you know at least one person that sells essential oils – or at least raves about how oils have changed their life. I’m also sure you wonder if they are actually effective or if they’re just one big placebo effect.
There really is oil hype for a reason. Not only have essential oils been used for centuries to help people overcome all sorts of health problems and obstacles, but modern science is also starting to back up these claims with various studies.
And one way these essential oils are really proving to be effective is in the area of sleep.
Nearly all humans experience at least some sleep troubles – if not chronic sleep troubles. A common go-to treatment is prescription sleep aids. But these often come with dependency issues, morning grogginess, and a whole slew of frustrating side effects.
Using natural sleep supporters can help you find the rest you need without all the other negatives. That’s why I’m here with your guide to essential oils and sleep.
- First I’m going to give you a rundown of my 7 favorite essential oils for sleep and why they are so effective
- Then I’m going to give you a rundown of my 4 favorite ways to use those essential oils before bed
Your 7 Essential Oils For Sleep
Experiment with these oils below because everyone is different. You may like the smell of some, but not the others. You may find one really does the trick, while another doesn’t make a difference for you.
Also keep in mind that every single one of these oils has other benefits too – from skin health to respiratory support.
If you could only buy one essential oil, you’d want it to help just about everything, right? Lavender would probably be that choice. It’s undoubtedly one of the most versatile essential oils, and it also one of the most recognizable.
You may not have heard about any of the essential oils below, but I’m positive you’ve bought something with lavender before – from lotions to neck pillows.
And there’s a reason why lavender is everywhere – it is extremely soothing, calming, and distressing. Exactly everything you need for a good night’s sleep.
Studies have even shown that lavender has a “mild sedative” effect that can promote “deep sleep.”
This is an ancient oil that has been used therapeutically for centuries (in fact, you may recognize it since it is mentioned in the Bible).
Frankincense is a calming oil that encourages your body to relax. So, of course, it makes a great oil for getting you ready to sleep soundly.
It’s interesting to note that frankincense has been used to help women with hormonal issues like PMS or menopause. Though there isn’t an official study backing this up, it could be nice to try if your hormones are making it harder to sleep.
3. Roman Chamomile
When you want to drink a hot tea to soothe you before bedtime, what do you probably choose? Chamomile, or at least a sleep time blend that has chamomile in it.
So it should come as no surprise that Roman chamomile essential oil is fabulous for helping you sleep.
Multiple studies have shown that both the tea and the essential oil actually can help people fall into deeper sleep. Chamomile can even mimic some of the sleep benefits of benzodiazepines without the prescription negatives.
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4. Juniper Berry
One study looked at a combo of oils that included juniper berry (it made up 12% of the blend – others were sandalwood and rose). Researchers evaluated insomniacs who had been on benzodiazepines to help them sleep.
Using the oil blend allowed 26 of 29 subjects to reduce their benzodiazepine need. And 12 “did not require any drug for sound sleep.”
To learn more about the many ways juniper berry can help you (including nightmares!) check out this short video:
Vetiver is an oil you are probably not as familiar with. It is known for its ability to really “ground” you (which makes sense since it smells like the ground – earthy and spicy). It is great for calming the mind and promoting relaxation.
Vetiver definitely has a unique, earthy smell. If you are having trouble getting used to the scent, add one drop in with more pleasing oils like lavender.
Pro tip: Vetiver is often really thick, so thick it may be hard to get out of the bottle. I like to use a toothpick to help get the drops out.
Cedarwood smells just like you would expect it to – like cedarwood. It’s a warm, earthy, woodsy scent and helps calm you down (in fact, it’s often in blends for those with ADD/ADHD to help them calm during the day).
One study on rats in particular showed that cedarwood essential oil “had marked sedative effects.”
Plus, the essential oil community often says that Cedarwood can actually increase your melatonin production – which would then help your circadian rhythm. There is no scientific study backing this up, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
Our last essential oil for sleep is one of the most interesting. Not only is bergamot known for helping to calm and soothe, it is also known for helping you reenergize again.
This means you can use it before bed to help you fall asleep, but you can also use it again the morning to help you get ready for your day.
Bergamot is an extremely diverse oil. Here’s a short video on 5 ways bergamot can support your body (4 new ways other than sleep help!):
How To Use Your Essential Oils For Sleep
So now that you know all about these sleepy essential oils, it’s time to figure out what to do with them. Many times people bring their new oils home and then feel completely clueless about practically including them into their routine.
Though here are countless ways to use essential oils – and you should feel free to get creative – here are my 4 favorite ways to use essential oils for sleep.
1. Buy a Diffuser
One of the best ways to use these essential oils for sleep is to simply diffuse them in your bedroom.
I like to turn on the diffuser a few minutes before I actually settle in for the night. I have it on a timer to go off in four hours. But if you feel like you tend to wake up 5 or 6 hours into sleeping, buy one that can go all night.
Then have fun finding your favorite blends and mixes. Here are a few examples to get you started:
From One Essential Community:
- 3 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
- 2 drops bergamot essential oil
- 2 drops frankincense essential oil
- 3 drops bergamot essential oil
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 drop cedarwood essential oil
- 1 drop vetiver essential oil
Experiment with the amount of drops you want to put in your diffuser depending upon the size of your room. Even the most soothing, delicious scents can feel overwhelming if you put way too much in your diffuser. I recommend trying it out during the day before you have to sleep.
Pro tip: Make sure the diffuser either does not have a light or has a light that can be turned off. You do not want any light in your room if you’re having trouble sleeping.
2. Make a Pillow Spray
If you don’t want to diffuse your entire bedroom with the scents of these essential oils for sleep, a pillow spray can be a great way to direct the scent to your nostrils only. Here’s how to make one:
- Find a small spray bottle, dark glass is best
- Fill it mostly with clean water
- Add 10-20 drops of essential oils; many people just use lavender, but I like to mix it up with lavender, chamomile, and bergamot
- Top it off with a couple tablespoons of either witch hazel or vodka; this is extremely important so the oil and water will mix better
I like to lightly spray my pillow right when I get in bed. That way I can breathe in the oils as I read a book.
Just make sure you do not soak your pillow. A few light sprays will mist the pillow without getting it wet at all.
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3. Give Yourself a Massage (or ask your partner…)
An essential oils massage before bed is packs a double punch to insomnia: not only are you benefiting from the essential oils from sleep, but you are also benefiting from the massage itself.
If you are by yourself, dilute one or more of the essential oils above with a carrier oil. I like either coconut oil or jojoba oil. Rub the mixture into your feet and calves. Then give your neck and shoulders a massage too.
Give yourself a few minutes to really work any of the tense areas. This will help your body to relax better.
If you are with a partner, offer to switch off pre-bed massages.
4. Put Them In Your Herbal Tea
You can only drink essential oils if they are from a reputable brand and have some sort of “safe for ingestion” label on their package. If you’re not sure, do plenty of your own research on brands that are safe to consume.
Once you have found bottles that are safe to put inside your body, not just outside of your body, you can enjoy them in a hot drink.
Just like the massage, this is a double benefit: you get the essential oils for sleep and you get the soothing tea.
Lavender or bergamot can actually taste great in an herbal tea. Don’t put too much, just a drop or two. I like to add them to a plain chamomile tea. But if I have some other herbal tea in the house, I like to add a drop of chamomile to it.
Sleeping Well With Essential Oils
Hopefully all this information on essential oils for sleep will encourage you to give this natural option a try.
Combining these essential oils for sleep with an all-natural sleep aid can help you tremendously. I like to use Eu Natural’s Serenity Natural Sleep Aid to get plenty of magnesium, melatonin, zinc, and valerian root (and even some extra chamomile!) before bed.