6 Essential Oils for Sleep and Relaxation (Updated April 2020)

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, this is easier said than done, especially when you’re an adult. Fortunately, you can use essential oils for sleep and relaxation.

If you find it hard to fall asleep, or have inconsistent sleeping patterns, try aromatherapy with essential oils as a natural healing method. We’ve curated the six best essential oils for sleep and collected all of them in the Aroma Foundry Dream Time Collection. Every essential oil in this pack also has a myriad of health benefits that can positively affect your overall well-being as well.

essential oils for 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

Sleep is important for your mental, emotional, and physical health. Adults, for example, need 7 to 9 hours of sleep in order to stay healthy and sharp. However, there are so many things that can keep you up at night and affect the amount and quality of sleep you get.

Having trouble sleeping can affect you in your day-to-day life. With the right use of calming essential oils, however, you'll be sleeping like a baby faster than you can say "night-night."


1. Lemon Essential Oil

lemon essential oil
Lemon is very ubiquitous and versatile, and for good reason. It can improve your nails and hair, help manage allergies, strengthen your immune system, and more Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas / Pixabay.


Lemon essential oil can help you when you've got a lot of things on your mind. Sometimes, anxiety, stress, tension, and even over-exhaustion can prevent you from getting some decent shut-eye. A clear, calm mind unburdened with worries is essential to a good night’s sleep.

It's likely that lemon might not be the first thing you think about when you’re looking for things to help you get to sleep, but it’s definitely worth considering. While this zesty, refreshing citrus fruit is great for waking you up, it can also help you relax and de-stress.

The Science of Lemon Essential Oil

A long list of beneficial nutrients and compounds make up lemon essential oil. These include α-terpineol, nerolidol, farnesol, and more. However, the major compounds, which make up the majority of the essential oil, are limonene and β-pinene.

Limonene has been found to be able to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in aromatherapy. It can also help reduce appetite, protect against stomach ulcers, and fight against harmful microbes.

Because lemon essential oil is one of the best sources of limonene, it's a useful oil to have when you're having trouble sleeping. Even if you're doing fine slumber-wise, lemon oil can still be helpful in a variety of ways,

lemon essential oil

Using Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil can be refreshing and energizing, but it’s also helpful in relieving stress. A few drops in a diffuser a couple of hours before bed can help you clear your mind and relieve your stress.

Because lemon oil is versatile, it can also be used in other different ways. You can add it to cleaning solutions, soaps, massage oil blends, and more. Just a single bottle of the oil can open up so many possibilities.

To make a blend including lemon essential oil, use these other essential oils:

  • Rosemary
  • Grapefruit
  • Tea tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Lemongrass

Learn more about lemon essential oil benefits.

Which essential oils blend well with lemon oil?


2. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

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


Ylang ylang essential oil can help you gain a restful night's sleep due to its calming and relaxing effects. Like other essential oils for sleep, it reduces stress and anxiety, which are common culprits for sleep disturbances. The essential oil is also beneficial for people experiencing depression, a condition that can also lead to insomnia.

The Science of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

There's a reason why ylang ylang essential oil is known for its calming and relaxing properties. It's one of the best essential oils for sleep and relaxation, and it owes this reputation to its various chemical components.

A compound called linalool makes up about a quarter of ylang ylang essential oil. Linalool is also present in other essential oils, such as lavender. It can help reduce stress, induce relaxation, and even improve blood flow.

Thus, ylang ylang essential oil can be quite useful if you're prone to having palpitations, anxiety and panic attacks, and other similar issues. Once you're calmer and more relaxed, you're more likely to fall asleep faster.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Using Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

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

Meanwhile, 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.

Ylang ylang essential oil blends well with these essential oils:

  • Patchouli
  • Bergamot
  • Rosemary
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemongrass

Learn more about ylang ylang essential oil benefits.


3. Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil is great for helping you relax, especially when you're going through nights when no matter what you do, you 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 essential oil can do wonders to your body and mind.

The oil can help you feel more calm and can also help relieve any tension. It's also a natural sedative. Thus, anytime you can’t catch a good night’s sleep, turn down the lights and inhale the scent of bergamot essential oil.

The Science of Bergamot Essential Oil

One thing that happens when you're anxious or nervous is your heart rate accelerates. Fortunately, that's something that bergamot essential oil can help with. It has been found to be able to help lower heart rate, which can help you calm down.

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. Additionally, it can help reduce the production of a hormone called corticosterone, which is known as a stress hormone.

While stress and anxiety are natural and sometimes beneficial responses to certain situations, they can at times go into overdrive. If you get anxiety and panic attacks, bergamot essential oil can be very helpful.

Using Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot, like other essential oils, is quite versatile. It can work quite well in aromatherapy, which is one of the best ways to enjoy its benefits. You can use a diffuser to benefit from the fresh aroma and calming effects of bergamot, or you can use the oil in a massage oil blend.

Additionally, bergamot can also be used as an ingredient in handmade soaps, candles, and more.

Bergamot essential oil can blend well with these essential oils:

  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Patchouli
  • Grapefruit
  • Tea tree

Learn more about bergamot essential oil benefits.


4. Cedarwood

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


Cedarwood essential oil has a woodsy and comforting scent that makes it wonderful for inducing sleep. It has soothing and calming properties that can help you settle in for the night and help you feel refreshed in the morning. A collection of essential oils for sleep won't be complete with cedarwood.

Give your aromatherapy and massage oil blends a grounding and earthy dimension with the help of cedarwood oil. It can work well with other essential oils, but it can also be effective on its own.

The Science of Cedarwood Essential Oil

While cedarwood essential oil is effective at helping induce sleep, it's not just a good sleep aid. It is also an effective sedative that decreases heart rate and blood pressure, making it a helpful remedy for anxiety and hypertension.

Its safety and efficacy as a sedative have also been the subject of research. Cedarwood’s effects on the autonomic nervous system show a decrease in sympathetic activity and an increase in parasympathetic activity. These effects are related to how the human body induces sleep and maintains sleeping patterns.

As a bonus, cedarwood oil also has a variety of other benefits. It can help you calm down while also helping get rid of harmful microbes and irritating insects. Among other properties, it is also an anti-inflammatory, anti-seborrheic, astringent, antispasmodic, and more. 

cedarwood essential oil

Using Cedarwood Essential Oil

A great 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. The aroma alone can help you feel more at peace and more comfortable. You're thus at a better position to fall asleep.

Cedarwood oil is also a great ingredient to use for perfumes, balms, soaps, massage oils blends, and more.

You can blend cedarwood with these essential oils:

  • Patchouli
  • Tea tree 
  • Basil
  • Grapefruit
  • Sage
  • Peppermint
  • Lemongrass
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary
  • Ylang ylang

Learn more about cedarwood essential oil benefits.


5. Mandarin

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


Mandarin essential oil is a great sedative and works against nervous disturbances and inflammation. It's therefore no surprise that mandarin essential oil is an effective stress reliever. 

The health benefits of mandarin essential oil are not a modern discovery. The mandarin fruit 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.

The Science of Mandarin Essential Oil

Mandarin oil helps in the body’s overall health by improving blood circulation, removing toxins, and relieving spasms. It can thus help you feel more relaxed physically, which can be effective in relaxing your body and priming it for a full night of sleep.

If you suffer from bad anxiety and panic attacks that keep you awake or affect the quality of your sleep, mandarin essential oil can be helpful. It's a strong sedative that can even effectively help calm convulsions. Thus, there's a very good possibility that it can help you ride out a panic attack.

Anxiety can contribute to a lack of sleep, and a lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety. Mandarin essential oil can help break this cycle.

mandarin essential oil

Using Mandarin Essential Oil

Let mandarin essential oil help relax your senses and provide you with the dose of sleep you need to stay healthy. As long as you make sure that you're careful, the use of mandarin essential oil won't have adverse side effects.

You can use mandarin oil in aromatherapy, but it can also be an ingredient in sprays, perfumes, massage oil blends, and more. However, if you plan on applying mandarin essential oil topically, make sure to dilute it in a carrier oil and avoid going out under the sun for at least 12 hours after application.

These essential oils blend well with mandarin essential oil:

  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Bergamot
  • Lime
  • Lemongrass
  • Patchouli
  • Basil
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang

Learn more about mandarin essential oil benefits.


6. Basil

Basil essential oil is well-known to be able to effectively reduce anxiety, fear, nervousness, and tension. The oil’s calming qualities make it perfect for easing overwhelming emotions, stress, and fatigue. However, it can also help fight off infections that may be affecting you physically.

Mental, emotional, and physical balance is important in maintaining a restful night's sleep. Basil oil can definitely help you attain that, and more.

The Science of Basil Essential Oil

Perhaps one of the best things about basil essential oil is that it's a very effective antimicrobial agent. It can help you get rid of infections that can clog up your sinuses and give you bad headaches that keep you from resting fully. Basil can help you clear up infections and its effects.

Furthermore, basil essential oil can function as a muscle relaxant. If you're in pain after a day at the gym, or if you've overexerted yourself a little too much, basil can definitely help. It can ease sore muscles and thus help relieve pain that might prevent you from sleeping soundly.

With its analgesic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, basil essential oil is an important addition to any arsenal of essential oils for sleep and relaxation.

basil essential oil

Using Basil Essential Oil

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 reliever. Massage one or two drops with a carrier oil onto your feet or over your adrenals every night.

Basil essential oil, when diluted and applied to the temples and back of the neck, can also greatly help both mind and body.

These essential oils can blend well with basil:

  • Patchouli
  • Cedarwood
  • Tea tree
  • Rosemary
  • Ylang ylang

Learn more about basil essential oil benefits.

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

For All Six Essential Oils

  1. Patch testing: Make sure you do a patch test on your skin for sensitivity prior to applying essential oils on more areas of your body. The patch test can be done on your feet or forearm to ensure that 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. The oils may 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. You should also be careful when diffusing essential oils around pets.
  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 if it's not food-grade.
  5. Dilution: Dilute the essential oil first before applying it topically on your skin.


Particular Cautions for Each Essential Oil

  1. For lemon essential oil: Avoid applying lemon essential oil topically if you have to go out into the sun within the following 12 hours. Do a patch test first to check for skin irritations. Pregnant women should consult with their physician before using lemon 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 it can be potentially harmful.
  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 safe for anyone with epilepsy.


How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep

essential oil recipes

There are many different ways you can use essential oils for sleep. You can use them on aromatic and topical applications to help get 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 Lemon Essential Oil

Bedroom: In a glass spray bottle, mix about 10 drops of lemon essential oil with 1 tablespoon of salt. Fill the rest of the bottle with water and shake to mix the ingredients well. Spray the solution onto 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 lemon essential oil. Position your face over the facial steamer and inhale the scent. You can also cover your head with a towel while you inhale 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. Afterward, 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.

essential oil recipes

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. Note that you must be careful if you're going to use essential oils in public. Some people might be allergic to strong scents, or some might simply find them unpleasant.

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

In the Shower: Apply a few drops of diluted 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: Enjoy the aroma of this essential oil whenever you need a boost in confidence or to calm feelings of anxiety.  


5. How to Use Mandarin Essential Oil

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

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 glass 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 of fatigue. To experience more relief, inhale the aroma of the essential oil first and then apply a diluted mixture 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.

essential oils for sleepEssential oils have calming effects that can help you relax and sleep better.

7.1. Deep Sleep Blend

This combination of lemon and cedarwood can guide 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.


  • 4 drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops of lemon 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.

7.2. Lemon Bliss

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

  • 6 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 3 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
  • 1 drop of bergamot essential oil

7.3. Ylang Ylang and Mandarin Blend

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


  • 10 drops of ylang ylang 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 preferred carrier oil. Apply the mixture to feet and neck.

You can also diffuse 5 drops of ylang ylang and 5 drops of mandarin.

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.


  • 3 drops of bergamot essential oil
  • 3 drops of ylang ylang essential oil

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 both your mind and body.


  • 4 drops of lemon 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 lemon, 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 Aroma Foundry's essential oils shop for the perfect solution.



Sleep is essential for overall health, as it is a determining factor in the proper functioning of the brain and the 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 that can take their 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 one you like to use best when you need help with inducing relaxation and sleep.

buy essential oils
Aroma Foundry also has a Dream Time Collection 6-Pack, which includes lemon, 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 collection to promote healthy sleeping habits and holistic wellness.



  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 - 
  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. 10 Amazing Benefits Of Lemon Oil | Organic Facts - https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-lemon-oil.html
  11. 17 Health Benefits of Lemon Essential Oil. James Redfield - https://www.celestinevision.com/2015/07/health/health-benefits-of-lemon-essential-oi
  12. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions | Sustainable Baby Steps - http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/ylang-ylang-essential-oil.html
  13. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Uses and Benefits | Aromaweb - https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/ylang-ylang-oil.asp
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  1. Background
  2. Essential Oils for Sleep
    1. Lemon
    2. Ylang Ylang
    3. Bergamot
    4. Cedarwood
    5. Mandarin
    6. Basil
  3. Precautions
  4. How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep
  5. Summary
  6. References