What Are The Best Essential Oils For Sleep?

Lavender sprigs, half bottle of essential oils for sleep

Can’t sleep? 

While it could be stress, or maybe too much Netflix binge-watching, science thinks it could be something else: you haven’t been sniffing enough lavender lately.

Essential oils, such as lavender, have amazing properties. They have been proven to:

  • improve sleep
  • calm pain
  • lessen anxiety

As our lives get busier, it’s more important than ever to get enough sleep.

Essential oils can help.

How Essential Oil Therapy Affects Your Mind and Body

Essential oil therapy, or aromatherapy, is the science of using naturally extracted oils from plants to promote health.

Scent has a powerful effect on our mind, body, and even our memory. The scent of paper can bring you back to your first day of school. Applying rosemary oil to your skin can reduce muscle pain. And lemon can have positive benefits on managing dementia.

Our sense of smell directly impacts the memory and emotion centers of our brain. As our olfactory nerve picks up odours, it immediately tells our brains about our environment.

Smell smoke? Your brain tells you to urgently leap into action. The scent of freshly baked bread can make your stomach growl.  

Many essential oils can also trigger your brain to prepare for sleep. Essential oil therapy zeros in on those smells, helping to alleviate numerous sleep issues including insomnia, sleep anxiety, and restlessness.

What Essential Oils Are Good For Sleep?

close up of lavender


Lavender is one of the most well-known essential oils for sleep. Used as a sedative for centuries, scientists are just beginning to understand lavender.

In scientific studies from gerbils to college students, lavender has been shown to:

  • reduce anxiety
  • improve sleep quality
  • calm nausea
  • and ease symptoms of depression

Lavender oil is also thought to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It can help heal irritations from minor burns and bug bites, and even reduce discomfort from post-surgery or chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena essential oil is also a powerful sleep helper, and is one of the top recommended essential oils for insomnia sufferers.

Sleep studies have shown that ingesting a lemon verbena oil-infused syrup before bed can actually treat insomnia for many sufferers of this sleep disorder.

Indigestion causing your sleep issues? Lemon verbena can help with that too. As a stomachic, this essential oil is known to reduce indigestion, as well as heartburn and other digestive tract afflictions.

Other Essential Oils That Help with Sleep

There are other essential oils that can also help with sleep, although further studies are still needed for more conclusive results. These essential oils include:

  • vanilla
  • rose
  • geranium
  • jasmine
  • valerian
  • roman chamomile
  • clary sage
  • sweet marjoram
  • cedarwood
  • sandalwood
  • citrus

Be wary of some of these, like sandalwood and citrus, as they can also have the opposite effect—giving some individuals more energy, making it more difficult to get to sleep. 

How To Use Essential Oils For Sleep

Essential oils can be used in many different ways to help you sleep.

Make sure that you read up on the best way to use your favourite essential oil, as not every oil can be used in the same way.

Be especially careful about which oils are safe for topical treatment and which can cause skin or allergic reactions.

Add oil to your bath

If a bath is part of your good sleep hygiene routine, why not add a few drops of essential oil?

Essential oils like lavender make an excellent addition to your nighttime routine. The calming and relaxing properties of lavender added to a warm bath can help prepare your body and mind for sleep.

Simply add several drops of lavender (or your favourite essential oil) to your bathwater, scheduling your bath 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime.

Make a syrup or tea

Honey and Lemon tea for sleep

There are many essential oil recipes out there just waiting for you to try them!

From lemon to chamomile, many of these teas and syrups can work wonders on improving your quality of sleep.

Here’s one of our favourite recipes for sleep:

Lavender Chamomile Tea

  • Hot water
  • 1 bag of chamomile tea
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 drop of lavender essential oil

Bring water to a boil and steep tea bag for 1-3 minutes. Remove tea bag, and swirl lavender essential oil in tea with a toothpick. Enjoy!

Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 30 freshly picked verbena leaves

Make simple syrup by combining sugar and water in a saucepan, bringing the mixture to a soft boil. Stir frequently. Once sugar has dissolved, allow to cool.

Pack a canning jar (Mason brand or any another 0.5 quart canning jar will do) with verbena leaves and press them lightly. Add simple syrup to jar and screw the lid on tightly. Store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

This simple syrup can be used in teas, added to water, or enjoyed straight up to 30 minutes before bed.

Use a diffuser

Woman pours essential oil into diffuser for better sleep

Room diffusers have picked up in popularity over the past few years, and those with sleep troubles are the top consumers.

Ranging in price from $30 to $80, these devices work by diffusing a water/essential oil mixture into the air.

If using a diffuser for sleep essential oil therapy, make sure you buy a diffuser that can adequately cover the size of your bedroom. 

Place the diffuser on your nightstand and turn it on 5 to 10 minutes before you crawl into bed.

Use a linen spray, or make your own

Linen sprays are another way to benefit from the amazing properties of sleep essential oils.

You can purchase an assortment of linen sprays at stores or your local farmer’s market. They are also popular items at Christmas craft shows, so keep your eyes peeled for local sources.

To use, simply mist the linen spray over your sheets and/or pillowcases. It’s also a great way to keep your linens smelling fresh and clean. Some essential oils have antibacterial properties which can keep your sheets lasting longer in between washes.

Use one or combine any of the methods above with and your bedtime routine and a great mattress, and you are well on your way to a better night’s rest!

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