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.
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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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scientific ReferencesContributed 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'