Plants are the source of essential oils, which are pure natural substances. In various cultures, these oils have been utilized for medicinal and cooking purposes, as well as perfumes and cosmetics. In recent years, essential oils have become increasingly popular as aromatherapy tools because of their therapeutic and relaxing properties. Consider using essential oils to help you sleep if you’re one of the millions of individuals who can’t get to sleep.
What the research says
Essential oils can offer a wide range of advantages, from reducing the effects of certain infections and boosting the body’s immune system to relieving stress. You can use essential oils to help you relax and get a better night’s sleep.
Lavender essential oil is widely known as a natural sleep aid despite the fact that research on the usage of essential oils is limited. The effect of lavender essential oil on 31 healthy, young sleepers was studied in 2005.
Lavender was found to improve the quantity of slow- and deep-wave sleep that individuals experienced, according to the study’s findings. The next morning, everyone said they had “increased vitality.”
DoTERRA’s Balance is a favorite of Leah Outten, a mother of five who uses essential oils in her home. There are a variety of oils included in the formulation of Balance, including:
- needle and leaf of a spruce tree
- What a waste of wood.
- resin derived from the frankincense tree.
- Blue tansy in full bloom.
- Chamomile flower in a blue hue.
Lavender essential oil is sometimes added to Outten’s Balance blend. She claims that by using the oils in combination, she is able to relax and drift off to sleep more quickly.
Clary sage oil may also be helpful in calming the mind. Women undergoing urodynamic examinations were found to be more relaxed when the oil was diffused, according to researchers in a 2013 studyTrusted Source.
Do Essential Oils Help You Sleep?
In a nutshell, the answer is yes! Using essential oils to help you fall asleep may be a good idea. Essential oils have been studied for their potential to help people sleep, and a 2014 review found that “the bulk of the study data supported a beneficial influence on sleep of essential oils.” It was discovered that the oils had a slight to moderate hypnotic effect on those who used them, allowing them to sleep more soundly.
Study participants who used essential oils “increased the release of serotonin and endorphins, resulting in activation of the parasympathetic nervous system,” according to a study published in 2017. “Endorphins have sedative effects, whereas serotonin binds to enzymes at night to make melatonin,” the authors explained. (Melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep medication that is usually supplied in the form of gummies.)
How to use essential oils for sleep
Essential oils can be used in at least three different ways:
- Inhaling. You can inhale essential oils through a diffuser the most frequent form of application. Using a diffuser, a few drops of the essential oil are added and the oil molecules are spread throughout the air.
- Use on the skin directly. As the molecules pass through the skin in this way, they can be absorbed by the body. When you utilize this method, some of the oil will evaporate, allowing you to inhale and experience the oil’s aroma. When using essential oils, it is best to dilute them before applying them to the skin with a carrier oil like apricot oil or almond oil. To test your compatibility with an essential oil, a small amount should be applied topically to a discreet spot on your body.
- Ingesting. Essential oils can be added to food and beverages, but they should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. Since inhalation and direct application are the only two feasible methods of administration, there is a higher potential for harm than good in this situation.
These sleep aids function in two ways, depending on which essential oil(s) you choose to use. Some are calming and conducive to sleep, while others clear your airway and make it easier to breathe, allowing you to go off to sleep.
How do essential oils work?
In the body, essential oils have an affect on your olfactory and limbic systems (the “emotional brain”) when they are absorbed.
It is through inhalation that essential oil molecules make their way to your brain. The limbic system’s amygdala, sometimes known as the brain’s emotional center, is influenced by their presence in the brain.
Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin can be released in the brain as a result of essential oils working with the olfactory system. Serotonin is required to generate melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep, as well as other neurotransmitters that help you rest and unwind.
How we chose the best essential oils for sleep
Plant materials used to make essential oils include the leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, and roots. Because so many plants generate them, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the selections.
It’s possible you’ve already noticed that specific oils can be used for a variety of purposes in aromatherapy research. Is there a way to tell which one is best for you?
The effects of essential oils may vary from person to person, but for the purposes of this article, we choose to focus on those that are commonly known to help people relax and sleep better. In order to restrict the alternatives, here is how we did it:
- Type of essential oil. Essential oils that have been shown to help people relax and sleep have been added.
In-depth discussions with subject matter experts and scholarly investigation.
- For goods like essential oils, word of mouth can be helpful, but we also looked at scientific studies to gain further information on whether or not these essential oils seem to have proven benefits for sleeping. Licensed massage therapist Jo Sahlin, of Olympia, Washington, also shared her knowledge with us, as she has worked with aromatherapy before.
- Availability. We’ve selected essential oils that can be purchased online from reputable sellers.
- Transparency and high standards. On their website or upon request, reputable brands that sell high-quality oils should include a certificate of analysis or safety data sheet. We compiled a list of essential oils from brands that offer this proof.
Best essential oils for sleep
A good night’s sleep is the only cure for insomnia, as anyone who has experienced it will tell you. Getting a good night’s rest might be difficult in today’s hectic world. When things aren’t going as planned—whether it’s high blood pressure, a stressful work environment, or even troubles at home—the body reacts by trying to relax.
It’s a good thing that there are several natural ways to help you sleep better. When used correctly, certain essential oils can help you go off to sleep.
For most people, just a few drops is all that’s needed, and the most common methods of ingestion include air diffusers and steam from boiling water. Find out which essential oils can help you sleep better and longer at night by reading on!
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is well-known for its wide range of health benefits, but it also excels at promoting restful sleep. Inhaling lavender oil has been shown in numerous trials to be an effective treatment for insomnia. Another reason for this is that lavender oil has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and heart rate, as well as temperature and blood pressure, all of which are processes that occur naturally as the body prepares to go to sleep. Lavender oil has also been shown to relieve anxiety, which is essential for a peaceful night’s sleep after a stressful day.
2. Ylang Ylang Oil
While lavender oil is the most powerful sleep aid, ylang ylang is a close second. Like lavender oil, ylang ylang is a tropical tree extract from Asia that helps drop blood pressure and pulse rate and prepares the body for sleep. Breathing in the oil’s fruity aroma, which is itself calming, produces a relaxing effect.
3. Chamomile Oil
Aside from the specific benefits of chamomile oil, its relaxing properties and ability to help people sleep are more universal. While the direct benefits of this oil on the body’s rhythms and temperature are negligible, the delicate floral perfume has a calming and relaxing impact on the mind when diffused in the air. Anti-anxiety properties of Roman chamomile include its pleasant, apple-tinged scent.
4. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil, though not a typical sleep aid, is excellent for fostering restfulness by clearing your mind, both physically and figuratively. In addition to the pleasant perfume, diffusing peppermint oil in the air of your bedroom will help alleviate any seasonal allergies or dust sensitivity that you may be suffering from. When your nasal passages are finally soothed, the transition to relaxation and eventually sleep comes quickly and satisfyingly.
5. Bergamot Oil
Everyone can benefit from bergamot oil, and insomniacs are no exception. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial characteristics, the bergamot oil is similar to lavender and ylang ylang oil in that it aids sleep by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Bergamot oil, on the other hand, has been demonstrated to alleviate tension, which is a typical impediment to getting a good night’s sleep. A few drops in a hot pot of water and a deep inhale will put you to sleep in no time!
6. Sandalwood Oil
Sadly, the price of sandalwood oil outweighs its rich aroma. However, as with many other things, quality does matter. Due partly to its mood-balancing characteristics, few oils are as effective as sandalwood in encouraging profound relaxation as this one. Sandalwood oil is different from other oils in that it balances your emotions. Other oils may lower heart rates or chase away problematic thoughts. Sandalwood is an essential ingredient in sleep mixes, so always keep some on hand for times when you need to relax and unwind.
7. Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood essential oil has the same woodsy aroma as sandalwood essential oil, however it is less expensive and less effective than sandalwood essential oil. Chamomile can be used topically or diffused in your bedroom for greatest results.
8. Marjoram Oil
Even if you’re having trouble falling asleep, several essential oils can help, but only marjoram oil has the ability to keep you asleep. You can depend on the sweet scent to calm your body and mind and put you to sleep so soundly that you get the rest you need to heal and recharge. The sweeter the marjoram, the more effective it is as a sleep aid.
9. Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage oil is a must-have for anyone suffering from depression. If you’ve ever struggled to sleep at night due to a fear of the dark, clary sage oil can help you overcome those difficulties by soothing your restless mind and lulling you into deep, peaceful sleep.
10. Vetiver Oil
This oil’s primary focus should not be on its pleasant scent, but rather on its overall impact. Vetiver oil isn’t for everyone because of its strong, earthy scent, but the benefits are undeniable. To help you decompress and unwind, vetiver oil may be just the thing you’ve been searching for. You’ll be astonished at how quickly your worries start to melt away when you diffuse it into the air before you go to bed.
11. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil, like peppermint oil, has a calming scent as well as sinus-clearing properties. Eucalyptus oil has the dual effect of relaxing you and alleviating your congestion so that you can get the good night’s sleep that you require.
12. Valerian Oil
Another well-known oil for relieving stress is valerian, which has long been used in aromatherapy for its relaxing properties. For this very reason, Valerian is a common addition in many midnight drinks. You’ll get a good night’s rest thanks to valerian oil, just like marjoram.