5 Best Essential Oils for Sleep and Relaxation

Scents have immense benefits and can influence memory and emotion in people, whether it is from a perfume or freshly cooked dishes. Particular smells tend to affect people differently, with some of them enhancing alertness and cognition. 

These scents, like those used in perfumes, are extracted from aromatic plants in the form of oils, which can improve focus and energy levels, as well as induce sleep. Essential oils, as they are called, are now often used in aromatherapy due to their potent antiviral and immune-boosting properties. They also promote relaxation by relieving stress and anxiety, ensuring that you maintain good physical and mental health.

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Most Popular

  • It is a natural insect repellant
  • It can reduce pain and irritation from insect bites
  • It strengthens the nervous system
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Natural Aphrodisiac

  • It is not too harsh in its pure form
  • It is used in aphrodisiacs for its energizing effects
  • It has anti-aging properties
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Anxiolytic Fragrance

Roman Chamomile
  • It helps with anxiety
  • It is an antioxidant
  • It relieves symptoms of Colic and menstrual cramps
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Natural Antioxidant

  • It alleviates specific menopausal symptoms
  • It is used in treating anxiety and depression
  • It contains antioxidants
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Quick Healing Fragrance

  • It increases sexual desire
  • It relieves abdominal pain
  • It promotes relaxation, reducing the risk of a stroke
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A study on the effect of aroma essential oils that was carried out on some nurses who worked on night shifts demonstrates how aromatherapy can be used to improve sleep quality. Inhaling these fragrance oils have been known to help people achieve better sleep outcomes, among other health benefits for centuries. Learn more about aromatherapy as we take a comprehensive look at the five (5) best essential oils for sleep and relaxation.

Most Popular: Lavender

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Lavender has become increasingly popular due to its calming effect on people suffering from anxiety disorders. It also relieves stress and promotes relaxation, hence its use in aromatherapy for alleviating the symptoms that are associated with insomnia. The soothing scent of lavender and its beneficial effects on anxiety, pain, and depression has prompted several studies to gain further insight into the effectiveness of the essential oil.

Although lavender is known to elevate daytime alertness, the sedative effect and pain-relieving properties have made it a key ingredient in several baby products. It is an effective alternative to most sleep aids and is capable of making you fall asleep even faster.


  • It is a natural insect repellant.
  • It can reduce pain and irritation from insect bites.
  • It strengthens the nervous system.
  • It has antibacterial properties.


  • May cause skin irritation in some individuals.
  • It can cause the enlargement of breast tissues in men.
  • It causes nausea.

Natural Aphrodisiac: Sandalwood

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Sandalwood has been in use since ancient times for relieving anxiety and stress, hence promoting relaxation and restful sleep. It has a rich, woody scent that holds sway for decades and has numerous traditional uses, making it extremely valuable.

The essential oil extracted from the wood has been used traditionally for treating mental and digestive problems, as well as common cold, scabies, and hemorrhoids. In aromatherapy, its sedative and antibacterial properties have helped its users maintain a sound body and mind. Its effects may vary for different individuals, but can be very useful in treating skin inflammation.


  • It is not too harsh in its pure form.
  • It is used in aphrodisiacs for its energizing effects.
  • It has anti-aging properties.
  • It improves mental clarity.
  • Useful in treating skin problems.


  • Prolonged use can cause reactions for people with sensitive skin.
  • It may darken the complexion of some individuals.

Anxiolytic Fragrance: Roman Chamomile

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The Chamomile is an herb that is highly potent and sought after for its distinctive scent and calming effects. The Roman variant also can rejuvenate dying skin cells and can be used to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders.

Chamomile has become available in various forms due to its extensive use in cosmetics and aromatherapy. For centuries, it has been used in making herbal tea for treating specific ailments, including ulcers, inflammations, muscle spasms, and menstrual cramps. Studies have shown its ability to relieve symptoms of Colic in children.


  • It helps with anxiety.
  • It is an antioxidant.
  • It relieves symptoms of Colic and menstrual cramps.
  • It has antimicrobial benefits.


  • It can make the skin red and itchy.
  • It can cause an allergic reaction with symptoms like a swollen throat, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, and coughing or wheezing.
  • It may interact with the prescription drugs cyclosporine and warfarin when taken in high doses.

Natural Antioxidant: Valerian

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Valerian root has been used in traditional medicine since ancient times for its sedative effects. The herb has sweet-scented flowers that are known to promote the feeling of calmness, allowing you to enjoy deep sleep cycles.

Valerian oil from the root contains antioxidants and other compounds that are known to facilitate the proper functioning of the nervous system. It produces the same effect as anti-anxiety medications, like Xanax and Valium. Various herbal teas contain Valerian root as a key ingredient due to its ability to improve the quality of your sleep.


  • It alleviates specific menopausal symptoms. 
  • It is used in treating anxiety and depression. 
  • It contains antioxidants.
  • It relieves stress.


  • It has some side effects, like headaches, stomach upset, dry mouth, or vivid dreams.
  • It slows down the central nervous system, which may cause complications in people undergoing surgery.

Quick Healing Fragrance: Jasmine

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Jasmine is a plant that is widely grown for its sweet floral scent and medicinal value. It is known to have calming and tranquilizing, hence its use in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety disorders. According to research, the smell of Jasmine has been found to have the same effect as mood enhancers and sleeping pills without being addictive like most psychotropic drugs.

Besides promoting quality sleep, Jasmine has been used to relieve all forms of abdominal pain due to dysentery and during cancer treatment. It can help wounds heal faster, reduce the risk of a stroke, and increase sexual desire. People with unhealthy food and sugar cravings use Jasmine to suppress their appetite.


  • It increases sexual desire.
  • It relieves abdominal pain.
  • It promotes relaxation, reducing the risk of a stroke.
  • It hastens the healing of wounds.


  • Users may experience skin irritation.
  • It is not suitable for pregnant women and nursing mothers when used in large amounts.

Key Considerations For Choosing Essential Oils

Efficacy and Method of Use: Organic products also have chemical properties that can have adverse effects on human health when misused. You may react differently to each scent, hence the need to find the right fragrance that satisfies your requirements. Proper research should be carried out before using essential oils or any new product. After you have found the right aromatherapy oil, you may use it through any of the following methods that suit you best:

Diffusion – This method involves dispersing the molecules of the essential oil into the air, making it possible for inhalation and subsequent absorption into your bloodstream where it takes effect. Diffusion is quite effective and beneficial to people with respiratory issues. It is carried out by simple evaporation, where drops of oil are added to hot water, and the aromatic vapor is inhaled. Ultrasonic diffusers and atomizers can also be used.

Topical Application – Essential oils may be applied directly to the skin but in its diluted form. The use of carrier oils like coconut and olive would minimize toxicity hazards posed by these products in their pure form. Diluting with lotions and gels are also recommended. When applied on parts of the skin with the right concentration of arteries, like the wrist and temple, it gets easily absorbed into the bloodstream where its effects kick in.

Oral Ingestion – Essential oils are insoluble in water and should not be ingested in their pure form. However, they can be found in gelatin capsules, which, when swallowed, travels down safely to the intestines where they are absorbed. These capsules should only be taken under medical supervision.

Baths – Adding essential oils to baths has been practiced for centuries. Diluting of carrier oils is recommended to ensure that you do not suffer any adverse reaction. Its method of action is similar to that of topical applications. The oil gets absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, and some of it gets inhaled.

Authenticity: Several products are available in the market today, hence the need to keep an eye out for proof of authenticity before making a purchase. The botanical name, as well as the chemotype of the plant, its source (extraction process and the country it originated from), or expiration date,  should be provided by the brand. Other considerations include superiority in terms of grade, as you may find some products tagged “clinical grade” or “therapeutic grade.” 

Purity: The purity of essential oils does not determine its effectiveness as the therapeutic components may only occur seasonally. You should also note that the extraction process also determines if the product retains its chemical balance when it is ready for distribution. It is increasingly becoming difficult to find pure essential oils, as most retailers often sell adulterated products to make more profit. With proper research, you can find a trustworthy and reputable brand that can provide the quality that you desire.

Allergies: You may want to apply a tiny amount on your skin to be sure that you are not allergic to any of its ingredients before using any product. Diluting with carrier oil ensures that essential oils are usable for kids, due to the sensitivity of their skin. Stop using the product and consult a healthcare professional immediately you notice any skin reactions.

Cost: To produce a specified quantity of essential oil, you would need an amount of plant matter that is several times its size. These oils will remain expensive in their pure form as a result. You should determine if the value of what you would get from its use outweighs the cost before making the purchase. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do essential oils help you sleep?

Although research is ongoing to prove the effect of aromatherapy on sleep, the fact that essential oils have been linked to improved tranquility and relaxation that is essential for quality sleep is enough information to support the claim. For those that are seeking non-pharmacological methods to improve the quality of their sleep, this study on postpartum women is proof of the efficacy of aromatherapy.

What is the best way to sleep with essential oils in your bedroom?

Exposure to essential oils through diffusion for not more than one hour before bedtime is beneficial in lowering your heart rate and promoting calmness. The use of ultrasonic diffusers or atomizer would ensure that you inhale enough molecules to enhance the quality of your sleep.

What scents wake you up?

Some essential oils promote alertness by stimulating certain parts of your brain, enabling you to wake you up from sleep. Jasmine and peppermint fragrances both have calming effects, as well as increases beta waves in your brain. You may have noticed the feeling of alertness on some mornings. Was it just the smell of some hot spicy food?

Can I leave diffuser on all night?

Although essential oils are natural products, over-exposure may have some detrimental effects. Research has shown that prolonged exposure can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, which may cause cardiovascular issues. Exposure for 15 minutes to 1 hour should be ideal.

Final Thoughts

You may need to consult your doctor before using essential oils to avoid the adverse effects of interaction with prescription drugs. After choosing your preferred oil, ensure that it is diluted in the correct ratio before applying to your skin to prevent inflammation and other side effects. If used correctly, essential oils can help you fight insomnia as you go on to leave a healthier life.

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