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Essential Oils for Sleep: Dos and Don'ts

The smell is a powerful sense. It can take us back to childhood, remind us of the important events in our lives, and even have a persuasive influence on our decisions. Different smells can have a powerful impact on our mood, ability to focus, energy levels, and, of course, a positive effect on sleep.

Essential oils are also known as volatile oils. They contain the aromatic compounds that make up of the plant’s fragrance. Essential oils are extracted using several techniques, the most popular ones include steam distillation, solvent extraction, carbon dioxide extraction, cold pressing, and enfleurage. 

Essential oils for sleep are widely used all over the world and they’re becoming even more popular as people search for natural remedies. In this guide, you will find all the necessary information on how to use essential oils properly, what smells you should pick and which essential oils for sleep have gained the best evaluations. 

Cynthia Tamlyn

Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, CMHIMP

How do essential oils impact our sleep & how to use them correctly?

It depends on the oils being used. Stimulating oils can make harder it falling asleep, and some oils commonly used for relaxing can have a paradox reaction with individuals who have a negative scent memory or a sensitivity to that oil. Essential oils should not be diffused for any longer than 15 minutes, and in a bedroom setting, no more than one to two drops of oil are needed. However, it's best to consult with a certified aromatherapist who can guide into the best aromatic supports for your needs or create a blend specifically for you.

Essential Oils for Sleep: Why Use Them? 

Most people choose essential oils because they can help us to relax and prepare for sleep. It’s actually one of the best techniques to fight insomnia. A significant number use essential oils while meditating or doing yoga. They smell so nice and gentle that anyone who experiences the effect can no longer imagine their home without the alluring scents. 

While there are many sleep medications, why essential oils for sleep are better? The answer is really simple - they’re all-natural and won’t give you the side effects associated with sleeping pills

Essential oils for sleep: natural

The constant usage of sleeping pills can lead to disruptions in your sleep cycle. They’re easy to get used to and once that happens, falling asleep on your own will become an even more difficult task. What is more, sleeping pills can lead to daytime drowsiness and cause serious accidents due to your dizziness. 

Since essential oils are completely natural, they won’t cause any unwanted side effects. Various analyses approved of the positive impact that aromatherapy has on the quality of our sleep.[1]  

Also, did you know that essential oils have positive outcomes on postpartum women? This period is one of the most crucial stages of pregnancy but more and more medical experts have finally accepted the positive effects of aromatherapy. 

The study showed[2] that various essential oils have positive effects on anxiety, fatigue, mood, quality of sleep, stress, post-cesarean-delivery nausea, post episiotomy pain, postpartum, physiological and psychological health. 

How Essential Oils are Used? 

Essential oils can be inhaled in various ways based on the desired effects. However, some of the essential oils are applied in specific techniques to achieve maximum results. Take a look at the best ways to use essential oils for sleep. 


This is the most favored oil inhaling technique. All you need to do is put a few drops of oil into the diffuser, sometimes together with water (make sure to read the instructions beforehand). 

Essential oils for sleep: diffuzer

Diffusers will disperse the essential oil for sleep into the air. It will spread the scent evenly for the amount of time you've selected. Such a technique will not only allow you to relax but can also help to kill fungus and bacteria by purifying the air. 

Dry Evaporation 

This technique does not require any additional tools, such as diffusers. Pour some essential oil onto a cotton ball or tissue - it will slowly evaporate into the air. If you want to get an instant dose, simply sniff the cotton ball. 

Otherwise, you can put the cotton balls with the favored essential oil on your desk, in the car, bathroom, or any other place where you feel like adding additional scent.


Simply place a few drops of essential oils for sleep into the water-based solution and shake it up. Then spray it into the air. A few times if you want to feel very minimal scent or more to set the intended mood. 

You can add citrus and set the holiday mood or use valerian oil to relax. However, you should always remember that not all essential oils are suitable for each and every one of us. While some do not prefer certain scents, other individuals might react more sensitively and even notice some side effects.   

Essential oils for sleep: essential oils


This technique is mostly used by people who suffer from a sinus infection or have a cold. Put a few drops of essential oils into the bowl of steaming water, place a towel over your head and breathe deeply. Just don’t forget to close your eyes

This technique allows the oil to evaporate quickly and give you that instant effect. Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the recommended options. 

Calming Essential Oils

Calming essential oils for sleep are the most popular not only among people who suffer from insomnia but also the ones that use aromatherapy for meditation purposes. Let’s see which essential oils to help sleep are among the top recommendations. 


Valerian is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. It has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient Greece and Rome (at least). It has been used as a pain reliever, antiseptic, migraine treatment, and for other purposes. 

The best way to use valerian is by putting a few drops to the aromatherapy diffuser and allowing for the scent to spread all over your room. You will notice that the valerian essential oil will make you calm and sleepy. Valerian is amongst the best essential oils for sleep. 


Essential oils for sleep: lavender essential oil

Lavender is one of the most widely used flowers for the extraction of essential oil for sleep. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cosmetics. Lavender essential oil is often put to the hair masks and oils, body and face creams, and other beauty products for the multiple benefits it brings

The research showed that “...lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) in men and women. All subjects reported higher vigor the morning after lavender exposure, corroborating the restorative SWS increase.”.


Jasmine is a flower that’s been widely used to make medicine. It serves for various purposes, such as relaxation, in cancer treatment, to increase sexual drive, and even for liver diseases. Jasmine oil is one of the few essential oils that can calm you down without causing sleepiness. So, it’s also great for concentration. 

Just like almost every other oil, you can put a few drops of jasmine drops in the diffuser and allow it to spread into your room, or simply inhale directly from the bottle. 


Chamomile is widely known for its relaxing and soothing properties. Zick together with other researchers stated that chamomile provides good benefits for people who suffer from chronic primary insomnia[3]. It also relieves depression and stress. Some studies even show that chamomile oil application can increase the sleep duration of the infants. 

Some of the most recommended ways to use chamomile essential oil for sleep are by putting a few drops into a warm bath or massaging it into your skin. However, if you’re rubbing oils directly to your skin, you should carefully check the recommendations of each manufacturer. 

Essential oils for sleep: chamomile essential oil


Rose oil can create a romantic atmosphere and help to relax. Rose essential oil is extracted from rose petals and is known as the most romantic scent. 

You can add rose essential oil to your body and face creams that are unscented. Also, a few drops of rose oil in the warm bath will provide you with perfect recreation. 

Holy Basil

It’s not the basil that you’re putting on your pizza, however, it comes from the same family. Holy basil has a spicy and minty aroma that’s known to help in treating physical and mental stress. 

It’s one of the most popular essential oils for sleep. You can add a few drops of holy basil essential oil and allow it to spread into your room. 

Sweet Marjoram 

Marjoram is the herb known for its refreshing and soothing properties. The essential oil is extracted from the flowering tops and leaves. The scent is sweet and mild, with a woody and minty note. 

Sweet Marjoram essential oil goes well together with Wild Orange, Cypress, Bergamot, and Lavender oils. 


Essential oil for sleep: Bergamot essential oil

Bergamot is a type of orange that has stress-relieving qualities. It’s also used to alleviate pain, improve circulation, digestion, and even enhance mood. 

This scent is often used to make perfumes, soaps, shower gels, colognes, and gives the Earl Grey Tea their signature aroma. If you love drinking this tea, then Bergamot essential oil for sleep will be just the right choice.  

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is not the same as lemon, it’s actually known as Melissa that’s been consumed for centuries for its health benefits. Lemon Balm essential oil is mostly associated with stress-relieving and calming properties. That’s why it’s often considered as the best essential oil for sleep. 

Even though you can find other essential oils for sleep in the market, the above-listed options are the most widely used to decrease stress, anxiety and help fight insomnia. 

Best Essential Oils for Sleep

Looking for the best essential oils for sleep can be really exhausting and time-consuming. That’s why I went through this process for you and found the best essential oils for sleep based on the users' reviews. 

Plant Therapy - Lavender Oil

Essential oils for sleep: lavender

Plant Therapy offers Lavender essential oil that has a sweet, floral, herbal scent. This oil can be used for various purposes. Just by spreading the oil into the air, you will create a pleasant home environment. This oil has therapeutic properties, is perfect to use before bed due to the calming effect, and can be added to your favorite non-scented cream, body wash or bath salt. 

I’ve found lots of positive reviews and wouldn’t be wrong to consider Plant Therapy’s Lavender oils as the best essential oil for sleep. Well, at least one of the best. It’s recommended to add a few drops into the oil diffuser 30-60 minutes before bed. 

Edens Garden - Clary Sage 

For its clean and sweet aroma, Clary Sage is often used to make elegant perfumes. It has been used as a fragrance for ages, however, it turns out that it’s also one of the best essential oils to help sleep. 

This oil is perfect for the sleep time bath. Add about 5-7 drops of Clary Sage oil to a warm bath and relax. It can be mixed with other Edens Garden oils to produce an even more pleasant aroma. 

Healing Solutions - Sweet Marjoram

Sweet Marjoram is known for its calming properties and that’s why it’s often used to fight insomnia. This oil is highly evaluated among users. The majority of them are happy with the potency and pleased with the scent. 

Healing Solutions provide 100% pure, therapeutic Sweet Marjoram oil that you can get for lower than average pricing. 

Essential oils for sleep: Sweet Marjoram essential oil

NOW Solutions - Bergamot

Now Solutions sweet aromatherapy Bergamot oil is cold-pressed from the fresh fruit peels. They offer a variety of essential oils to help sleep but Bergamot is among the most popular options. 

This oil can be used for different purposes. You can use it to spread fresh air into the room, melt away your tension and relax. 

Aviano Botanicals - Roman Chamomile

While chamomile is known as a stress-relieving herb, the Roman Chamomile is the most widely used to relieve stress, anxiety and treat insomnia. Aviano Botanicals' best essential oil for sleep can be used in various ways. You can add a few drops of oil into the warm bath, mix it with your moisturizer or hair products to improve the condition. 

Based on the research:[4] "Chamomile can help in improving cardiovascular conditions, stimulate the immune system and provide some protection against cancer."


Therefore, you can choose from a variety of essential oils for sleep. While many of them have calming and stress-relieving properties, you should choose the scent based on your personal preferences.

Essential oils are a natural alternative to sleeping pills that can help to fall asleep faster. Differently from sleeping pills, they do not have any undesired side effects. Calming scents can be also used while meditating and practicing yoga. 

Essential oils for sleep: essential oils

The most recommended essential oils for sleepers who suffer from insomnia, include Valerian, Lavender, Jasmine, Chamomile, Rose, Holy Basil, Lemon Balm, and others. These oils have soothing and calming properties and should be used before going to bed. 

There are a few different ways to inhale the essential oils. And while I would recommend getting a diffuser, other sleepers prefer to inhale it straight from the bottle. 

If you want to experience all the beneficial effects that essential oils can provide you with, you should choose only high-quality, tested and approved products. 

By the way, you should never underestimate the power of a quality mattress.

Cynthia Tamlyn

Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, CMHIMP

Contributed By Cynthia Tamlyn, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, CMHIMP

Cynthia Tamlyn is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist specializing in pediatric post-traumatic stress disorder. She works with families to support healthy sleep patterns and emotional wellness for ...

Read Full Bio...

Scientific References

Contributed by Cynthia Tamlyn, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, CMHIMP

1. Hwang E, Shin S: 'The effects of aromatherapy on sleep improvement: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis.'

2. Tsai SS, Wang HH, Chou FH: 'The Effects of Aromatherapy on Postpartum Women: A Systematic Review.'

3. Suganya Panneerselvam: 'Effectiveness of aromatherapy in insomnia'

4. Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta:Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future'

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Recent User Reviews


No side effects

Using essential oil

Hello, I [usually] just use a small tissue. Dip it a little and put it near your table or bed. The aroma will be just magnificent and not very strong. Thanks

Thank you

Useful and easy to read ^^

Very convenient and clear

I like that you have specified the method of use for each of the oils. Very convenient and clear structure

I want fresh and calming

I want something fresh and calming. Help? Anyone?

Oils help you sleep better

I know that many actors and singers use similar essential oils. So you should definitely try it!!

Whole variety of essential oils

Nowadays ther are a lot of different scents of essential oils. U can choose anything from a very strong and allurinn to a very soft and relaxinn...

If you are very sensitive

I want to add that some people can be very sensitive for a various essential oils. Choose the one that won't disturb you too much


Thank for article. Good article

Natural essential oils

Natural products are always better than synthetically created. There is no harm in such products.

Good job!

I learned a lot about essential oils. Thank you for your effort and time!

My recommendation

Rose, Bergamot, Lavandin. Truly the best essential oils. I recommend

Gentle scent

I think using spray is a little bit aggressive. I prefer to use a diffuser - as for me more gentle scent

Diffuser for essen oil

It's best to buy a special diffuser, it costs about 25$. I think for that price you can get a decent one. But... the price can go up to 100-150$! The choice is yours ;)

Slept like a baby

Divine relaxation. Slept like a baby

Jasmine aroma

My wife and I love the Jasmine aroma. I feel it like simple and gentle.

Keep writing!

thank you I love trying different essential oils and aroma candles. Hope to see more of this soon! Good luck!

Try aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is my thing~~~ I can't imagine a good night sleep or true relaxation without my favorite aroma candles and oils

Great scent.

clary sage is awesome, thank you

Valerian oil

Don't use valerian oil if you have a cat. You know what could happen ( ^ ^ )


Does the lavender oil really helps you to fall asleep.

Lavender oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The research performed by the Namni Goel revealed that lavender essential oil increased the duration of the deep sleep stage in both men and women. Even though today you can choose from a wide range of lavender essential oils, Plant Therapy product is amongst the top recommendations.

How can I stay asleep all night?

If you want to experience an uninterrupted and high quality of sleep, you should set up a calming bedtime routine (read a book, meditate), sleep in cool and dark bedroom, avoid late naps, caffeine, tobacco, and start exercising regularly. Also, if you sleep on an old and uncomfortable mattress, you should get rid of it and get a new, comfortable option.

What is a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are created mostly from polyurethane and have additional chemicals added that increase its viscosity and density. It’s also often called “viscoelastic polyurethane foam”. In order to create the air movement and let your body “breath” while you sleep, it has open foam bubbles. Memory foam mattresses are created in a way to adapt to your body curves and to also recover their original shape after you get up. Therefore, this kind of top mattresses offer you the feeling as if is created specifically for you.

Do top rated mattresses offer a money-back guarantee? Is there a catch?

All of the top mattress brands offer a money-back guarantee. The free trial usually starts from 90 to 100 nights, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can simply give it back. The majority of best mattress providers will not only give your money back but will also come to get it for free. If the mattress provider is reputable, there won’t be any catch - everyone understands that you have to try the mattress before knowing if it fits you.

What is off-gassing? Is it poisonous?

Off-gassing refers to the odor which comes from a new mattress. It’s the process that happens when volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) leak out of the mattress foam into the air. Those chemicals include both human-made and natural components, including formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons. Top rated mattresses will have zero or very minimal off-gassing. Many of them are sent to the customer already after the off-gassing. Is it dangerous, though? Even though the smell can be unpleasant, there’s usually only a very small amount of chemicals that can do no harm to your health.

How long do top rated mattresses serve?

The durability of a mattress depends on the provider and the quality of the materials used. Usually, you get a 10-year warranty, which will be valid in case of any defects. Normally, mattresses will serve you from 7 to 10 years, or even longer. Thus, when you buy the best mattress, you should take it as a long-term investment.