Best Essential Oils for Sleep

Jodie Weston Jodie Weston  |  Updated: November 12, 2020
Best Essential Oils for Sleep

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Are you finding a good night’s sleep more and more elusive?

Many factors in our lives can cause us to struggle drifting off into restful slumber. Maybe the stress of the day makes it difficult to turn your brain off at night. Maybe a stuffed up nose or joint pain wakes you up throughout the night. Different struggles interfere with our ability to get the restorative rest our body craves.

Thankfully, there is a solution to get the “zzzzs” you need: essential oils!

Essential Oils as Sleep Aids

Essential oils are a liquid substance derived from natural substances, like flowers or fruits. The hundreds of different scents offer unique benefits, from soothing a sore throat to tackling allergies. Using them for sleep is a great solution for a few reasons.

  1. Help avoid chemical solutions. For many of us, a chemical stimulant like caffeine is used to compensate for a bad night’s sleep. Too much can be harmful for your body. Plus, it does not fix the problem. It just masks the issue for a few hours and you return to an exhausted groggy state once it wears off.
  2. Help promote good sleep habits. A regular sleep routine involves going to bed around the same time each night and getting up around the same time each morning. One of the best sleep habits is to stick to a sleep routine.Essential oils can help you establish and implement this routine. For example, at X time each night I will do a self-massage with oil around 30 minutes before I want to go to sleep.
  3. Help tackle issues impeding a good night’s sleep. It is incredibly frustrating trying to get a good night sleep and not getting one. You practice good habits. You do not use screens in bed. You maintain a sleep routine. You exercise during the day. Yet you still cannot get good sleep!Different issues like stress or a stuffed up nose can thwart even the best efforts to get a good night’s sleep. Thankfully, essential oils can help target the root of the issue. Soon you will be sleeping soundly!

Sleep and Insomnia

Insomnia is when you have the opportunity for a good night’s sleep, yet you still struggle to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. You aren’t tired because of noisy neighbors or because you only allow yourself 5 hours of sleep a night. You set yourself up for a good night’s sleep, but just cannot seem to get one.

Around 40 million Americans experience insomnia each year. You are definitely not alone in your struggle!

Insomnia can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, difficulty breathing because of a stuffed up nose, and pain. Good news though, essential oils can target each of these issues!

Essential Oils and Insomnia

Research shows essential oils like lavender can help fight insomnia and improve sleep. Essential oils can help fight insomnia by tackling the underlying causes. Get rid of the cause of insomnia and you can get rid of the insomnia. A good night’s sleep awaits you!

Insomnia Cause One: Stress

Stress seems to permeate almost every area of our life. Work projects pile up. Fights occur with loved ones. Vehicles and technology breaks. Throughout our day, stress can pile up inside us.

Then when we head to bed in the evening, we can’t fall asleep. Our bodies are still on edge. Our brains are still processing and ruminating. Stress is a huge trigger for insomnia.

That’s where essential oils come into play. Numerous studies find essential oils are a powerful weapon against stress, aiding us in a good night’s sleep.

One way to fight back against stress is through the use of adaptogens. Adaptogens work to undo the negative impacts of stress on our bodies and balance our hormones. Basil works as an adaptogen, helping our body normalize against the harms of stress.

Basil oil does work, though, to fight fatigue and clear our minds. Make sure to use basil oil during the day to fight the stress. Used at night, it may make you extra alert.

When our anxiety rises, our stress levels and our heart rate go up. Both make it difficult to fall into the relaxed state needed to fall asleep.

Lemon oil is often used because of its power at reducing anxiety and stress. Research shows it also is effective at lowering our heart rates. Both help facilitate a good night’s rest.

The charming scent of Christmas time is a helpful relaxer. Similar to lemon oil, peppermint oil is great at helping us reduce anxiety and stress.

Another powerful tool against stress and anxiety, lavender oil is a great resource. Lavender oil tackles many issue areas keeping us from a good night’s sleep. It calms our nervous system, decreases our skin temperature, lowers our heart rate, and calms our thoughts.

When we feel stressed, our body often enters into the panicked state of fight or flight mode. During this time, our body releases a hormone called cortisol.

One study found smelling rosemary helps reduce cortisol levels, helping us feel less stressed and more ready to sleep.

Insomnia Cause Two: A Stuffed Up Nose

Proper breathing is essential for a good night’s sleep. We need a clear airway to get the needed oxygen and enter into deep sleep. A stuffed up nose can be a good night’s sleep killer.

Allergies and illnesses can create congestion, making it harder to breathe and get a restful night sleep. Many essential oils can clear up our noses and assist in a good night’s rest.

Clear up your nose with this popular cooking spice. Oregano oil contains rosmarinic acid, which is a natural antihistamine that helps decrease congestions and other allergy symptoms.

When you suffer a stuffed up nose, you also suffer from poor air flow into your nose. Eucalyptus can help you feel an improved air flow, which can be much needed relief when suffering from a stuffy nose. It also relieves congestion and loosens phlegm, helping you breathe easier.

If your stuffed up nose is caused by a sickness, peppermint oil is a great solution.

Peppermint oil contains methanol, which works to relieve stuffy noses and help you breathe easier. It also unclogs your sinuses and relaxes the muscles in your nose. Peppermint also helps target drainage from mucus and provides a cooling sensation to relieve a scratchy throat.

Lavender oil is a helpful tool for respiratory issues, like sinus congestion and inflammation of lung airways. If your allergies are acting up, you can use lavender oil to get much needed relief.

Insomnia Cause 3: Pain

Pain can make it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Our brain naturally focuses on the throbbing pain in our joins, head, etc. The more focused we are on the pain, the more alert our brain becomes. Turning off our brain and falling to sleep becomes a challenge.

Eucalyptus oil is a great remedy against pain. It can be a powerful treatment for pain relief. It soothes and fights pain, helping your brain stop focusing on it and instead drift into slumber.

Using Essential Oils for Sleep

It is simple to use essential oils for a good night’s sleep. There are three main ways to apply the essential oils.

Topical Application

Because our skin is semi-permeable, you can place the oils on your skin. This allows their active properties to be absorbed into the body.

It is important to note, though, that not all essential oils are meant to be placed on our skin. Always check and be sure your chosen oil works for topical application.

Whenever you apply oils to your skin, you always want to use a carrier oil. This helps protect your skin against irritation.

One great way to apply essential oils topically is with a self-massage. This helps you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep, especially when you target areas where you hold your stress (like shoulders or forehead).. Try out our recipe for a body butter or vapor rub with your favorite oil.

Aromatic Application

Another way to use essential oils is to breathe their scent in. Diffusers are a tool to spread the oil throughout the air in your room. Place one by your bed to inhale, preferably while not using screens in bed.

Or, if you do not want to spend the money, you can place a few drops of the oil onto a cotton ball or tissue near your pillow.

Oral Application

Oral application involves ingesting the essential oil in some way, like placing a few drops into water or tea. There are some safety concerns associated with oral application, which is why I advise against it.

Finding Essential Oils

Most grocery stores, pharmacies, and natural stores carry at least a few essential oils. For a better selection of options, though, you can turn to online shopping.

For a beginner’s set, we recommend the Essential 4 Pack. For a larger option, we recommend the Health and Wellness Kit. If you decide to buy either option, make sure you enter in the code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” for a 10% discount on your order!

Other Uses for Essential Oils

Essential oils are a fantastic natural resource with many uses from sickness remedies to household cleaners. Search our site for essential oils to discover many more uses of essential oils. Or check out or Pinterest board for a collection of DIY projects and tips.

Thank you for reading!

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6 Responses to “Best Essential Oils for Sleep”

  1. Oh dear Gaye. Can you come up with a winning oil to stop the itch of Chiggers? They snuck in on me and I have them so bad that I scratch all night. That’s why I cant sleep.

    • Here’s one I use. Start with a small amount of aloe vera gelee and add tea tree, frankincense and lavender essential oils. I don’t use a recipe, as such, but just drip the oil into the aloe vera. I’m guessing between 10 and 20 drops of each of the oils. You don’t have to make too much as a little goes a long way. This works for me, but I have found that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone! Good luck!

    • Peppermint oil is great for itchiness. Sometimes i combine it with lavender oil & it’s never failed, and not just for 5-10 minutes, but for hours at a time. I just put a single drop of peppermint, or both oils on my finger and rub them into the itchy area well. Sometimes you may need 3-4 drops depending how bad it is.

  2. I think you meant to say that peppermint oil contains “MENTHOL”, rather than “METHANOL”? Methanol is a dangerously toxic alcohol (one carbon atom fewer than ethanol, the alcohol commonly found in beer & wine).

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