How To Use Essential Oils for Better Sleep

Are you one of those people who toss and turn at night?

Or wake in the early hours of the morning and can’t get back to sleep?

Maybe you find it hard to relax and calm yourself when it’s time for bed?

I seem to go through stages where sleep can be a bit elusive.  It is ironic that when there is a lot going on with work, family and ‘life’, the exact time when sleep is so important to rest and repair, it is often the hardest to get a good quality nights sleep.

If like me, you find any of the above familiar, essential oils may be the answer to your prayers for a better nights sleep.  They have worked wonders for me, particularly when I’m going through a ‘sleepless’ patch.

Below is all you need to know about how to use essential oils for sleep.  I’ll cover the best oils to use, how to use them plus there are a couple of useful recipes to try.  But first, we’ll take a look at some of the research about essential oils and sleep.

Do essential oils really work for sleep?

The effects of aromatherapy and the use of essential oils for improving sleep have been widely studied.  These studies along with clinical evidence support the conclusion that essential oils can work to improve the quality and duration of sleep (1).

One example is a 2015 study in Turkey involved using lavender essential oil via inhalation on 60 ICU patients (2).  The study was prompted because patients in the ICU were having terrible sleep issues.  Researchers wanted to try whatever they could to alleviate the insomnia for these patients and ICU patients everywhere.

The clinical finding (based on patient’s responses to two separate standardized tests that determine sleep quality) was that the 2% lavender essential oil solution delivered via inhalation was effective.  It had a positive, measurable, and marked effect on the patient’s ability to rest adequately.

Furthermore, many of these patients were experiencing simultaneous cardiac issues which the anxiolytic effect of the lavender oil seemed to improve as well. By relieving some of the anxiety and stress from which these patients were suffering, the lavender oil improved their ability to rest and their overall condition.

Other studies have shown an improvement in the quality (3) and depth of sleep (4) in different groups.

Although aromatherapy would not be recommended as the primary treatment for severe, chronic, medical sleep disorders, it most certainly should be considered as an adjunct or auxiliary treatment.  If no serious sleep disorder exists, then aromatherapy likely will be adequate in terms of alleviating mild cases of stress induced insomnia.

It is also worth remembering that regardless of whether or not essential oils prove effective in a particular situation, they certainly won’t harm you or give any ill effects.

Where do you put essential oils for sleep?

There are a variety of ways to deliver essential oils while sleeping.  All have similar results in terms of efficacy so it really is a matter of personal preference.

Here are some of the places to put essential oils so you can benefit from them before and during sleep:

  • Soak a cotton ball and place it next to bed or under your pillow
  • Place 10 – 15 drops of essential oil in a hot bowl of Epsom or sea salt water by the bed
  • Spray an essential oil diluted solution on linens, pillows and blankets (see recipe below)
  • Put essential oils into an electric diffuser that has automatic cut off
  • Massage oils into the soles of your feet

While the above methods are perfect while sleeping, you can also use essential oils for relaxation and calm before bed.  Try them in a bath, massage, diffuser or a foot soak.

What essential oil helps you sleep better?

The following are the best essential oils to help with sleep. It’s not surprising that all of these oils have a naturally pleasant fragrance which contributes to their calming influence.

  • Lavender
  • Valerian
  • Clary Sage
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Bergamot
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Sandalwood

Check out the best brands of essential oils here.

While lavender is well known to help with sleep, consider some of these other essential oils too.  You can combine them or make up a blend to use.  Start with these recipes:

“Dream Time” Essential Oil Sleep Blend

Combine the following oils in a small dark bottle.  Use in any of the methods listed above or add 6 drops to a bedtime bath.

  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 8 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
  • 10 drops clary sage essential oil
Dream Time Essential Oil Sleep Blend Recipe

“Night Night” Pillow Spray Recipe

Make up a bottle of this spray to keep beside your bed (and the kids bed too).  It helps promote relaxation, calm and deep sleep.


  • 15 ml distilled water
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop Roman chamomile essential oil
  • 1 drop wild orange essential oil
  • 1 drop ylang ylang essential oil


Add all the ingredients to a 20ml glass spray bottle. Shake well to combine and spritz over your linen and pillowcases every night before bedtime.

Using aromatherapy and essential oils to help you get a good nights sleep is an effective and natural approach. If you are having any problems, try the essential oils and methods listed above to help.  It is far better than resorting to medications or any other ‘chemical’ help and at the very least, your bedroom will smell beautiful.

How to use essential oils for sleep



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