Essential Oils to Help You Relax and Sleep

Essential Oils to Help You Relax and Sleep

Stress and anxiety keeping you up at night? Say goodbye to sleepless nights with essential oils. Discover how lavender, chamomile, cedarwood and other aromatic oils can help you unwind, reduce tension and drift off to dreamland.

In this blog article, we will be sharing the top oils for relaxation plus tips for creating a soothing pre-bedtime routine. Sleep better with the calming scents of nature.

How Essential Oils Help With Relaxation and Sleep

Essential oils are extracted from plants and contain the plant’s aroma, flavors, and active compounds. When inhaled, these aromatic compounds send signals to the brain that can influence mood, reduce anxiety, and promote sleepiness.

Several essential oils contain sedative properties that help calm the nervous system. When massaged into the skin, they are absorbed into the bloodstream and interact with receptors in the brain that regulate sleep and wake cycles. This can increase REM sleep and total sleep time.

Here are some of the ways essential oils promote relaxation and sleep:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Balance hormone levels
  • Ease muscle tension
  • Promote feelings of calmness
  • Support circadian rhythms

Top Essential Oils for Relaxation and Sleep

Many essential oils can help you relax and sleep better. Here are some of the most effective options to consider.


Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils for sleep and relaxation. It contains linalool and linalyl acetate – compounds that have sedative and calming properties.

Inhaling lavender essential oil reduces heart rate and blood pressure, easing the body into a relaxed state. Massaging lavender oil onto the temples, wrists, neck, and bottom of feet promotes deeper sleep.

Roman Chamomile

Roman chamomile oil contains esters such as isobutyl angelate that interact with GABA neurotransmitter receptors. This produces a calming effect that reduces anxiety and tension.

Using roman chamomile oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or diluted in a carrier oil for massage can relieve stress and nervousness while preparing the body and mind for sleep.


With its sweet citrusy aroma, bergamot oil is very soothing. It contains linalool which has relaxing properties. Bergamot oil can lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Add a few drops of bergamot essential oil to your bath or apply topically to your abdomen and behind your ears before bedtime. Its uplifting aroma also makes it effective at easing depression.

Bergamot oil


Known for its warm, woody scent, cedarwood essential oil induces the release of serotonin which converts to melatonin – the sleep hormone. This makes it effective for combating insomnia.

Cedarwood oil also contains sesquiterpenes that stimulate the limbic region of the brain which controls emotions and memory. This promotes deeper REM sleep.

Add several drops of cedarwood oil to an essential oil diffuser and place it by your bedside.


Containing calming compounds like linalyl acetate, marjoram essential oil reduces cortisol levels and eases anxiety. Traditionally used to treat insomnia, marjoram oil brings on a sedative effect that can help you fall asleep faster.

Mix marjoram oil with a carrier oil and massage into the back of the neck before bed. You can also diffuse it in your bedroom.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang-ylang oil has an exotic, floral aroma that creates soothing and romantic vibes. It contains compounds such as linalool that have sedative and anti-anxiety properties.

Research shows that ylang-ylang oil decreases blood pressure and breathing rate which facilitates sleep. Blend a few drops with a carrier oil and massage over your body before going to bed.


Vetiver is known as a grounding, earthy essential oil. It induces relaxation by stimulating GABA activity in the brain – the same neurotransmitter targeted by anti-anxiety medication.

The heavy, woody fragrance of vetiver essential oil calms nervous energy. Add some vetiver oil to a diffuser before bedtime to promote a state of relaxation ideal for sleep.

Clary Sage

Clary sage oil contains natural phytochemicals called terpenes which have sedative and hypnotic effects. It reduces cortisol which allows the body to unwind.

A couple drops of clary sage oil mixed with coconut oil and massaged into the skin can ease depression while increasing the ability to fall into deep, restorative sleep.


Distilled from the root of the valerian plant, this essential oil contains valerenic acid and isovaleric acid that act directly on GABA receptors. This is beneficial for reducing anxiety and sleep issues like insomnia.

Valerian essential oil works best when inhaled. Put a few drops in an essential oil diffuser by your bed so you gently inhale its sleep-inducing aroma all night long.

Essential Oils for Sleep

Tips for Using Essential Oils for Sleep

To use essential oils to help you relax and sleep better, follow these tips:

  • Use 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. Avoid perfume-grade oils.
  • Do not ingest essential oils unless under the guidance of an aromatherapy specialist.
  • Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut, almond, or jojoba oil before applying to skin.
  • Add 2-3 drops of oil to an essential oil diffuser and place near your bed.
  • Massage oils into the bottom of the feet, behind the ears, temples, or wrists.
  • Mix essential oils with epsom salt and add to a warm bath before bedtime.
  • Combine different essential oils to create a relaxing, custom blend.
  • Keep a sleep journal to note how you feel after using certain essential oils.

With regular use, essential oils can help you establish healthy sleep patterns so you wake up feeling rested and energized. Be patient and try different oils or blends to discover which aromas work best for your mind and body.

Other Tips for Relaxation and Better Sleep Hygiene

While essential oils can help induce sleep, you should also practice good sleep hygiene habits. Try to:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine before bedtime.
  • Limit exposure to blue light from electronics at night.
  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark.
  • Do relaxing activities before bed like light yoga, reading or meditation.
  • Avoid heavy meals within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety by keeping a worry journal.
  • Get regular exercise during the day.

Using essential oils along with healthy sleep habits can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and improve sleep quality. Be consistent and you’ll likely notice better energy levels and productivity during the day.


Getting adequate sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health. Unfortunately, many factors like stress, anxiety and underlying conditions can disrupt normal sleep patterns resulting in insomnia. Pharmaceutical sleep aids come with side effects and are meant for short term use.

For a natural way to encourage restful sleep, explore aromatic essential oils. Massaging oils like lavender, roman chamomile, and marjoram into the skin or diffusing them at bedtime can induce relaxation, reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality.

With so many essential oils to choose from, experiment to find the scents that work best for your needs. Use consistently along with good sleep hygiene for a nightly routine that helps you unwind and wake up refreshed. Learn here more about falling sleep faster and better.