The 6 Best Essential Oils for Sleep and Relaxation: Uses, Benefits and Oil Blends

In one way or another, we’ve all been told that we should have enough hours of sleep every night for us to function at our best every day. Little did we know though, it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re an adult. Sometimes, a busy day can eat away all your energy, and you’re so tired that you can’t even sleep.

There are times that you may find it hard to sleep due to various stressors and health issues. Lack of sleep, when prolonged, can have serious health consequences. If you want to achieve optimum health, you’ll need to get a good amount of sleep every night.

  • Essential Oils for Sleep
    • Lavender
    • Ylang Ylang
    • Bergamot
    • Cedarwood
    • Mandarin
    • Basil
  • Precautions
    • For All Essential Oils
    • Particular Cautions for Each Essential Oil
  • How To Use the Essential Oils
    • How to Use Lavender Essential Oil
    • How to Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
    • How to Use Bergamot Essential Oil
    • How to Use Cedarwood Essential Oil
    • How to Use Mandarin Essential Oil
    • How To Use Basil Essential Oil
    • Aromatherapy Blends for Sleep
  • Summary
  • Bibliography

If you find it hard to fall asleep, or have inconsistent sleeping patterns, try aromatherapy as a natural healing method. We’ve curated the best essential oils for sleep and relaxation on this list. Every essential oil also has a myriad of health benefits that can positively affect your overall well-being as well.

essential oils for better sleep

We did a side-by-side comparison with two of the world's biggest essential oil brands.

essential oil brands comparison

Essential Oils for Sleep

1. Lavender

sleep_essentialoils2The lavender plant is one of the most popular house plants, commonly used as displays at home

Lavender essential oil, which is extracted from fresh Lavender flowers, has medicinal uses such as treating fatigue, depression, anxiety and insomnia. The aromatic benefits of lavender include increasing slow-wave sleep, which is a type of deep sleep where muscles are relaxed and heartbeat slows down. This kind of sleep is where the brain regenerates and organizes memory really well.

Studies have shown that sniffing lavender helps people fall asleep and stay asleep all throughout the night. Researchers from the University of Southampton also confirmed that the scent of lavender improved health conditions of patients suffering from insomnia.

Lavender oil is effective in inducing deep sleep if diffused in your bedroom. Incorporate lavender essential oil in your sleep therapy for better health and wellness.

Blending with Other Essential Oils: lavender blends well with bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, mandarin, marjoram, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosemary, tea tree, thyme and vetiver.

Learn about the essential oils that blend well with lavender oil

2. Ylang Ylang

sleep_essentialoils3The ylang ylang flower is one of the most fragrant and distinct scents which made it popular in the perfume industry

Ylang ylang can help you gain a restful sleep at night due to its calming and relaxation benefits. Like other essential oils for sleep, it reduces stress and anxiety that are common culprits for lack of sleep. The essential oil is also beneficial for people experiencing depression, in which insomnia is one of its symptoms. If you have trouble falling asleep due to muscle or joint pain, mix a few drops of ylang ylang oil with a carrier oil as a massage mixture to apply on tense areas.

For people with insomnia or chronic fatigue syndrome, they can supplement their medical treatment with ylang ylang aromatherapy. Ylang ylang essential oil has mild sedative properties which calm a fast heartbeat and high blood pressure. It also has spiritual benefits such as awareness, peace and self-love which contribute to a person’s well-being.

Blending with Other Essential Oils: ylang ylang blends well with bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, clove, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon,  litsea cubeba, mandarin, marjoram, neroli, patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver essential oils.

Learn More About Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang ylang essential oil blends

3. Bergamot

Bergamot is a great essential oil to help you relax, or even go to sleep. A lot of us have gone through nights when no matter what we did, we just couldn’t fall asleep. Sometimes the lack of sleep extends into insomnia episodes that would go on for weeks or even months. In such circumstances, a little bit of aromatherapy with bergamot oil can do your body and mind wonders. It will help calm, relax and relieve any tension. The oil is also a natural sedative. So anytime you can’t catch a good night’s sleep, turn down the lights and inhale the scent of bergamot essential oil.

Bergamot also has positive benefits for your mental and emotional health. It helps fight feelings of anxiety and depression by promoting the secretion of hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.

Blending with other Essential Oils: bergamot oil blends well as an equalizer, modifier and enhancer with other essential oils. Bergamot blends especially well with eucalyptus, geranium, lemon, lemongrass, lavender, cedarwood, patchouli, and ylang ylang essential oils.

Learn More About Bergamot Essential Oil 

4. Cedarwood

sleep_essentialoils5The cedar tree is a member of the pine family, native to the Himalayas and Mediterranean

Cedarwood has a woodsy and comforting scent that makes it a wonderful grounding essential oil for sleep. A perfect way to experience the benefits of cedarwood essential oil is pouring a few drops of it in your oil diffuser a few minutes before bedtime.

It’s not just a good sleep aid. It is also an effective sedative which decreases heart rate and blood pressure, making it a helpful remedy for anxiety and hypertension. It’s safety and efficacy as a sedative has also been studied. Cedarwood’s effects on the autonomic nervous system show a decrease in sympathetic activity and an increase in parasympathetic activity; which are related to how our body induces sleep and sleeping patterns.

Blending with Other Essential Oils: cedarwood blends well with bergamot, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, jasmine, juniper, lavender, neroli, orange, petitgrain, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, vetiver, and ylang ylang essential oils.

Learn More About Cedarwood Essential Oil

5. Mandarin

sleep_essentialoils6Once ripe, the mandarin fruit is soft and firm, but also heavy for its size

Being a stress reliever, it's no surprise that mandarin essential oil is also a great sedative for nervous disturbances and inflammation. It’s known for its relaxing and calming properties, helping you experience relief from anxiety and stress. It also helps in the body’s overall health by improving blood circulation, removing toxins, and relieving spasms.

Other essential oils for sleep have a lot of other benefits, and mandarin is no different. Mandarin essential oil’s health benefits is not just a modern discovery, but it has been used throughout the history of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. These traditional healing modalities have used mandarin to calm and relax the entire body, and thereby induce sleep. Inhaling mandarin oil can also increase sleep duration.

Let Mandarin essential oil help relax your senses, and provide you with the dose of sleep you need to stay healthy. It's a natural healing solution, so there are no harmful side effects.

Blending with other Essential Oils: You can make various blends by combining mandarin essential oil with other commonly used essential oils like clary sage, vetiver, sandalwood, rose, geranium, jasmine, ylang ylang, lime, cinnamon, clove, ginger, patchouli, tangerine, lemon and lavender.

Learn More About Mandarin Essential Oil

6. Basil

Basil is well known as an essential oil that effectively reduces anxiety, fear, nervousness and tension. This essential oil, when diluted and applied to the temples and back of the neck, can greatly help both mind and body. The oil’s calming qualities make it perfect to reduce overwhelmed emotions, stress, and fatigue.

You can diffuse basil essential oil in your home to deal with stressful situations, or to relax and unwind. This can also work quickly as a natural headache relief. Massage one or two drops with a carrier oil onto your feet or over your adrenals every night.

Blending with other essential oils: basil essential oil blends well with other essential oils, including bergamot, cypress, cedarwood, fennel, geranium, helichrysum,  grapefruit, lavender, lemongrass, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, white fir, and wintergreen.

Learn More About Basil Essential Oil

Precautions

Consult a health care practitioner first before using any essential oils alongside with your medication or treatment.

For All Essential Oils

  1. Patch Testing: Make sure you do a patch test on your skin for sensitivity prior to using on more areas of your body or for a long term period. Make sure to do the patch test on your feet or forearm to ensure you don’t experience irritation like redness, burning, hives or allergic reactions. Keep the essential oil away from your eyes and the insides of your ears or nose.
  2. Pregnant or Nursing Women: These essential oils should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women as it can have an impact on hormonal levels, muscle condition, or nerve functioning. It’s also not appropriate for anyone with epilepsy.
  3. Infants and Children: Keep out of reach from children. Avoid using the essential oils on infants and young children.
  4. Ingesting Essential Oils: Even though essential oils are made from all-natural sources, that doesn't mean that they're safe to ingest. Thus, you should avoid ingesting any essential oil.
  5. Dilution: Dilute the essential oil first before using on sensitive areas such as the face, neck, genital area, and etc.

Particular Cautions for Each Essential Oil

  1. For Lavender Essential Oil: Possible skin sensitivity might occur. Do a patch test first to check for skin irritations. One or two drops of lavender essential oil is enough to use as a sleep aid. A maximum of three drops should be the limit in using lavender essential oil.
  2. For Ylang Ylang Essential Oil:  Possible skin sensitivity might occur. Do a patch test first to check for possible skin irritations.
  3. For Bergamot Essential Oil: May cause photosensitivity. Apply sunscreen after using blends or formulas that use bergamot oil. It can also lower your blood sugar levels way too much that can be potentially harmful. It is advised to stop using bergamot oil at least 2 weeks prior to surgery.
  4. For Cedarwood Essential Oil: Pregnant women, especially in their first trimester, should use cedarwood with caution. Do not ingest as it can cause nausea, vomiting, and digestive problems.
  5. For Mandarin Essential Oil: When under exposure to the sun, refrain from using mandarin oil as it can increase the risk of sun damage to the skin.
  6. For Basil Essential Oil: Basil should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women as it can have an impact on hormonal levels, muscle condition, or nerve functioning. It’s also not appropriate for anyone with epilepsy.

How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep

There are many different ways you can use essential oils for sleep. You can use them on aromatic and topical applications to help your mind and body ready for slumber. Here are just a few ways you can benefit from the calming and relaxing properties of essential oils.

1. How to Use Lavender Essential Oil

Bedroom: Add a few drops of lavender oil to beddings, blankets or pillows for a good night’s sleep.

Aromatherapy: Use aromatically to feel more calm and relaxed. Add a few drops to your diffuser, and use the required settings to diffuse the oil while you’re sleeping.

Facial Steamer: Pour distilled water in a facial steamer and wait for it to steam. Then add 1 - 2 drops of lavender essential oil. Position your face over the facial steamer and inhale the scent. You can also do this facial steam by boiling two cups of water in a pot over medium heat. When the water steams, turn off the stovetop and pour 2 drops of lavender oil. Cover your head with a towel and inhale into this calming steam for a few minutes.

2. How to Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

In the Bath: Mix ylang ylang oil with Epsom salt and pour in your bathwater for a relaxing dip.

Emotional Balance: Mix a few drops of ylang ylang essential oil with a carrier oil and apply on your chest for emotional balance.

Facial Steam: Add 5 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Drape a bath towel over your head and breathe in deeply over the steam. Do this relaxing steam for 3 - 10 minutes

Aromatherapy: Add 3 - 4 drops of ylang ylang oil to your diffuser and let its calming scent diffuse in your room before bedtime.

Massage: Add 6 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil (jojoba, almond or fractionated coconut oi). Gently apply this massage blend into sore or tense areas. After which, add a few drops of ylang ylang oil to a tissue and inhale slowly for 4 - 5 times.

Natural Air Freshener: Add a few drops of ylang ylang oil to a spray bottle filled with distilled water. Spritz all over your room to experience its refreshing and calming scent.

3. How to Use Bergamot Essential Oil

Aromatherapy:  Diffuse at home, in the classroom, or at the office to create an uplifting, inspiring, and positive environment. Pour a couple of drops in the palms of your hands or handkerchief and inhale to experience a calming aroma.

Massage: Combine a couple of drops with a carrier oil or vegetable oil and use it for an invigorating massage.

In the Shower: Apply a few drops of bergamot oil to your skin while showering. Enjoy its calming aroma and and skin purifying benefits.

4. How to Use Cedarwood Essential Oil

Aromatherapy Diffuser: Diffuse 2 - 3 drops of cedarwood in your preferred oil diffuser to relax the mind and body.

Massage: Add a few drops of cedarwood oil to a carrier oil if you’re going to use it in massage therapy.

Instant Lift: Inhale this essential oil whenever you need a boost in confidence or calm your anxieties.

cedarwood intro ad

5. How to Use Mandarin Essential Oil

Using a diffuser: You can use mandarin essential oil via a diffuser which will allow you to create a relaxing environment filled with the great smells of this citrus fruit.

Inhalation: Inhale drops of mandarin oil directly from your palm to let the oil induce and prolong sleep.

In the Bath: You can also add it to your bath, which will not only be great for your skin but also make you feel fresher and happier.

Refreshing Room Spray: You can use mandarin essential oil to create your own air freshener and spray in your home. It'll bring great mental benefits and make your house smell great!

Linen Spray: Add 25 drops of mandarin oil and 1 tablespoon of witch hazel to 1 cup of distilled water. Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before use. Spritz over your bedroom, beddings and pillows to help you get a good night’s sleep.

6. How to Use Basil Essential Oil

Sore Muscles: Mix a few drops of basil essential oil with a carrier oil. Apply to sore or fatigued muscle and joints for relief.

Fatigue: Apply on your feet or diffuse aromatically to relieve yourself from fatigue. To experience more relief, inhale the essential oil first and then apply to the crown of the head, forehead, chest and navel.

7. Aromatherapy Blends for Sleep

Here are some helpful essential oil blends you can make at home using the different essential oils for sleep and relaxation.

sleep_essentialoils8Essential oils have calming effects which can help you relax and sleep better

7.1. Deep Sleep Blend

The combination of lavender and cedarwood guides you in your nightly dreams. It has mental, emotional, physical and spiritual benefits for overall well-being. Use this as a nighttime blend to help induce a deep sleep.

Ingredients:

  • 4 drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil

Instructions: Drop the required essential oils in a cool-air diffuser. Make sure that you’re using distilled water in the diffuser before dropping in the essential oils.

Which other essential oils can help you get deeper sleep?

7.2. Lavender Bliss

Add the following drops of essential oils to your preferred aromatherapy diffuser or inhaler to promote peaceful sleep.

  • Lavender: 6 drops
  • Ylang Ylang: 3 drops
  • Bergamot : 1 drop

7.3. Lavender and Mandarin Blend

This enriching blend of lavender and mandarin will help calm and relax you for a restful slumber.

Ingredients:

  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of mandarin essential oil
  • 5 ml glass roller bottle
  • Carrier oil (sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil)

Instructions: Mix the required amount of essential oils for sleep in a glass roller bottle. Top the bottle off with your prefered carrier oil. Apply to feet and neck. You can also diffuse 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of mandarin to an oil diffuser.

7.4. Sleep Diffuser Blend

Add the following essential oil blend to your cool-air diffuser or air purifier for a great night’s sleep.

  • Bergamot: 3 drops
  • Lavender: 3 drops

7.5. Relaxing Bath Salts

Bath salts are easy to make and use. They also have amazing health benefits. Here’s one recipe that gives you a relaxing bath to soothe mind and body

Ingredients:

  • 4 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • ¼ cup baking soda

Instructions: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Make sure that the essential oils are evenly distributed. Store the bath salts in an airtight container. Use ¼ to ½ cup of this salt blend for every bath

Another blend idea: One alternative to the essential oil blend above that you can use in the bath salt recipe is to mix 2 drops of lavender, 3 drops mandarin and 4 drops cedarwood.

If you’re looking for high-quality bottles to store and preserve your essential oils and blends, check out this shop for the perfect solution.

Summary

Sleep is essential for overall health, as it is a determining factor on the proper functioning of the brain and other organs of your body. Having a good amount of sleep every night will give you the energy and stamina you need to face day-to-day challenges. Lack of sleep poses serious consequences which will take its toll on your health. If you are wary about the side effects of sleeping pills, try aromatherapy as an alternative healing solution to induce a restful sleep.

The pleasant aroma of essential oils will calm and relax you, while providing you with relief from stress, tension and fatigue. Essential oils for sleep can help induce deep slumber and promote healthy sleeping patterns. You can benefit from essential oils by using them with an oil diffuser, aromatherapy inhaler, smelling salts, shower steamer or in the bath. Try the essential oils discussed on this article, and see which will be your favorite in helping you relax and sleep.

sleep_essential_oils

Aroma Foundry also has a Dream Time Collection 6-Pack which includes lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot, cedarwood, mandarin, and basil. You can use each essential oil for their particular uses, or blend a few of the essential oils as mentioned in the recipes above. These essential oils for sleep were prepared with the highest quality of raw materials and processing. We’ve curated these essential oils for this particular set to promote healthy sleeping habits and holistic wellness.

Bibliography

  1. 11 Surprising Benefits Of Mandarin Essential Oil | Organic Facts - https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-mandarin-essential-oil.html
  2. 12 Best Essential Oil Diffuser Blends For Sleep | One Essential Community - https://oneessentialcommunity.com/essential-oil-diffuser-blends-for-sleep/
  3. 15 Best Essential Oils For a Better Sleep | Well-Being Secrets  - https://www.well-beingsecrets.com/essential-oils-for-sleep/
  4. 15 Recipes For Relaxing Bath Salts {with Essential Oils} | One Essential Community - https://oneessentialcommunity.com/recipes-for-relaxing-bath-salts/
  5. 5 Amazing "bedroom Benefits" Of Ylang-ylang. Adria Schmedthorst - https://easyhealthoptions.com/5-amazing-bedroom-benefits-ylang-ylang/
  6. 6 Benefits Of Mandarin Essential Oil + 9 Ways To Use It | Natural Living Ideas - http://www.naturallivingideas.com/mandarin-essential-oil/
  7. 6 Natural Sleep Oils That Will Knock You Right Out | The/Thirty - 
https://thethirty.byrdie.com/best-essential-oils-for-sleep
  8. Autonomic Responses During Inhalation Of Natural Fragrance Of Cedrol in Humans.
S Dayawansa - K Umeno - H Takakura - E Hori - E Tabuchi - Y Nagashima - H Oosu -  Y Yada - T Suzuki - T Ono - H Nishijo - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=14614968
  9. Essential Oil Blends For Sleep. Elise - Elizabeth - Ashley Breanna - https://www.frugalfarmwife.com/article/essential-oil-blends-for-sleep/
  10. Lavender Song Essential Oil Blend. Modern Soapmaking - http://www.eocalc.com/blends/lavender-song/
  11. Pure Lavender Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions | Sustainable Baby Steps - 
http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/pure-lavender-oil.html
  12. Three Ways To Use Lavender Plants and Essential Oils As a Sleep Aid. Marlene Bertrand - https://remedygrove.com/wellness/Three-Ways-to-Use-Lavender-Essential-Oil-as-a-Sleep-Aid
  13. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions | Sustainable Baby Steps - http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/ylang-ylang-essential-oil.html
  14. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Uses and Benefits | Aromaweb - https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/ylang-ylang-oil.asp
View all resources
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