Best Essential Oils For Sleep

small bottles of extract oil from flower

You’ve heard it since you were a child: you need to get a good night’s sleep. Inadequate sleep causes a multitude of health and wellness problems. But it’s hard to get a restful night’s sleep if you’re having trouble with any of the following:

Falling asleep, staying asleep, sleep apnea, insomnia, anxiety or stress. Sometimes trouble sleeping may also be caused by illness, skin irritations, upset stomach or general aches and pains.  The right essential oils can be helpful for any of these maladies.

Many people have trouble sleeping or have a poor sleep schedule. There are prescriptions or over-the-counter medications that can help, but they cause unwanted side effects.

One of the best remedies for poor sleep is a natural one -- essential oils. But how do you choose the right one and what do they do? We’ve put together a list of the best essential oils for sleep so you can make the right choice before you buy.

Comparison Table

Essential Oils Basics

1. What are Essential Oils?


Essential oils are natural oils derived from plants, herbs, trees, flowers, and other sources. They are a natural remedy for a variety of conditions and improve general health and wellness.

a bottle of an essential oil

Image Via Pixabay.com

Most essential oil products are steam distilled -- a process that uses steam to pull the natural oils from foliage. However, some products, like oranges, have so much oil that they can be cold pressed to achieve the same results.

Typically, essential oils are sold in 10mL-15mL brown vials with a dropper attached to the inside of the cap. Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent. So no matter what you’re using them for, make sure you dilute them and only use a few drops. Usually, 1-3 depending on the potency of the oil and how you’re using it.

2. How Much do Essential Oils Cost?


You can typically expect to pay around $20 per bottle for most of the common essential oils and upwards of $100 per bottle for the more rare oils. Most essential oils are sold in small amounts, but because they are highly concentrated, so you only need to use a few drops at a time.

When broken down to an average cost per drop, the expense becomes incredibly reasonable. For the most part, the average cost per drop of essential oils is between $0.05 and $0.30.

3. What Affects the Price of Essential Oils?


The price of essential oils can vary greatly depending on several factors. The potency of the product, the quality, and the availability can all affect the cost of individual oils. A company’s standards and quality control, as well as their harvesting and distillation process, can influence the overall price of a brand.

The quality of essential oils and the distillation, shipping, and storage process can all change the quality of the essential oil long before it gets into your hands. Essential oils are often stored in temperature controlled rooms and bottled in dark glass. Both of these factors protect the potency of the essential oils aromatic qualities.

Supply and demand also play a big part in the cost of essential oils. For instance, lavender is among the cheapest because it is readily available, abundant, and easy to harvest. Frankincense, on the other hand, costs quite a lot more because it is rare and harder to grow and harvest.

The FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils, but most brands have their own set of standards and quality control guarantees. In addition, they can choose to become a Certified Organic company through the USDA organic certification process. Often a brand has only specific oils that are USDA Certified Organic.

4. Where Can I Buy Essential Oils?


Most stores that carry health and beauty products sell essential oils, but there is a wide range available online and through specialty stores as well. While there are many essential oil brands and companies, most offer their products on Amazon.

Some essential oils are sold at full strength while others are diluted with a carrier oil. A carrier oil is a neutral plant-based oil like coconut, almond, jojoba, or olive oil. Because essential oils are potent, they can cause skin and eye irritation at full strength. It is never recommended to apply essential oils anywhere on your skin at full strength and always be careful to avoid getting them in your eyes.

When reading labels, watch out for essential oils that say “100% natural essential oil.” It doesn’t necessarily mean the oil in the bottle is full strength. It only means that the essential oil itself was not diluted or mixed with other products or fillers before bottling.

How We Reviewed Essential Oils for Sleep

We invested much time and effort into researching the best essential oils for sleep. Many sources were used to provide the most accurate, useful, and unbiased information available. Using these sources, we have provided you with a list of the best essential oils for sleep. We based our list on effectiveness, safety and mildness, least number of side-effects, availability, cost, and approval ratings.

What are the Best Essential Oils for Sleep?

Essential oils have many uses. They are used in medicine, supplements, cleaning products, perfumes, beauty products, and more. One of the most common uses is home aromatherapy. Aromatherapy can be used to ease a multitude of conditions.

If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, then the right essential oils could help. The best essential oils for sleep are known to have calming effects that reduce stress and anxiety, make you feel more grounded, and relieve aches, pains, or other irritations.

Here are the best essential oils used to aid sleep.

Lavender


Rocky Mountain Oils Lavender Essential Oil 15ml - 100% Pure Essential...
  • PURE ESSENTIAL OILS – The RMO Lavender Greece Essential Oil is pure and natural. It is grown with organic practices...
  • AROMATHERAPY ESSENTIAL OILS - Lavender Greece Essential Oil has a medium-strength floral, herbaceous, and sweet aroma...
  • ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DIFFUSER - Add Lavender oil to a diffuser or inhaler and breathe deeply for a calming effect. Use it...

Lavender is the most common and widely used aromatherapy scent. It is a flowering plant used in many different ways; in food, as decoration, and for the extraction of essential oils. It is cultivated in temperate climates throughout the world.

Multiple studies have shown that lavender has a calming effect on the brain. It can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer by increasing slow-wave or deep sleep. Also, it has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.

You can find lavender essential oil in abundance in personal care and home products. This essential oil will be the easiest to find and obtain at a reasonable price.

It is very gentle and safe for most people. However, you should ask your doctor before using lavender essential oil if you are taking medication, are pregnant or nursing, or before using it on children.

Wild/Sweet Orange


Rocky Mountain Oils Orange Essential Oil 15ml - 100% Pure Essential...
  • PURE ESSENTIAL OILS – The bright, just-peeled scent of Orange Essential Oil is part of the Rocky Mountain...
  • AROMATHERAPY ESSENTIAL OILS - Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis) is also commonly known as Sweet Orange. Orange...
  • ORANGE ESSENTIAL OIL FOR DIFFUSER - Diffuse Orange oil to help stimulate a cheerful mood and optimism. Orange Essential...

Wild orange or sweet orange essential oils are made from the peel of an orange (not the fleshy fruit). The peels are cold-pressed to release the oil for use in many products.

Orange essential oil can be calming and reduce anxiety. It has anti-inflammatory, antidepressive, and sedative properties. Use it after a long day to reduce stress and fatigue.

Some oranges used to create orange essential oil can cause phototoxicity. You’ll want to be careful if applying it to the skin, even if you dilute with a carrier oil first. Protect yourself from UV rays and sun exposure for at least 24 hours after applying orange essential oil topically.

Cedarwood


Plant Therapy Cedarwood Atlas Organic Essential Oil 100% Pure, USDA...
  • RESPIRATORY, SKIN, HAIR AND SCALP SUPPORT: Use Cedarwood Atlas Organic to help support your respiratory system. Use in a...
  • 100% PURE, ORGANIC CEDRUS ATLANTICA WOOD OIL: It has a calming dry woody (slightly masculine) aroma with a very subtle...
  • BATCH SPECIFIC GC-MS REPORTS ON EVERY OIL: Every bottle of oil from Plant Therapy goes through multiple rounds of...

Cedar is a species of coniferous tree. Its berries, branches, needles, and bark are steam distilled to produce essential oils. If you’re feeling anxious and need to calm down or relax, cedarwood is a great essential oil to reach for. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and sedative properties.

Cedarwood essential oil works as a natural sedative. Because of these sedative effects, it will help you fall asleep faster and let you sleep more peacefully. It can also calm inflamed or dry skin, and ease arthritic pain.

Ingesting cedarwood oil can cause severe damage to the digestive system.

Vetiver


Plant Therapy Vetiver Essential Oil | 100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural...
  • CALMING OIL PROVIDES ULTIMATE RELAXATION: Vetiver is magical sleep aid and ideal for relaxation. The pleasant, but...
  • 100% CERTIFIED PURE VETIVERIA ZIZANIOIDES: Vetiver is a root oil jam-packed with skin benefits. Mix a few drops of...
  • BATCH SPECIFIC GC-MS REPORTS ON EVERY OIL: Every bottle of oil from Plant Therapy goes through multiple rounds of...

Vetiver is a tall grass native to India but commonly cultivated in tropical regions. It grows in wide clumps about five feet high. The essential oil is made by steam distilling the roots of the grass.

Vetiver oil can promote good nerve health and heals nerves damaged by stress and anxiety. It also relieves insomnia and symptoms of some nervous disorders.

Vetiver essential oil is generally considered safe, even for consumption of small amounts. It is a non-irritating and non-toxic substance.

Roman Chamomile


Rocky Mountain Oils - Roman Chamomile -5ml | 100% Pure & Natural...
  • Roman Chamomile Has A Powerful Floral Scent With Nuances Of Wood And Herbs
  • Included In RMO's Sleep And Skin Care Collections
  • GC/MS Verified As 100% Pure, Natural, And Therapeutic Essential Oil

Roman chamomile is a flowering plant known for its many healing properties. It has been used since ancient times for a variety of medicinal purposes. The essential oil is made by steam distilling the petals of the flower.

Roman chamomile produces a calming effect on the mind and body. It also has soothing properties that can calm itchy or irritated skin conditions. Try Roman chamomile if eczema, dry skin, insect bites, or allergies are keeping you awake.

Roman chamomile essential oil may be irritating if applied directly to the skin so make sure to test a small spot before using it on a large area. It can also cause nausea or vomiting if used in large doses.

Ylang-Ylang


Plant Therapy Ylang Ylang Complete Essential Oil 100% Pure, Undiluted,...
  • TRANSPORTS YOU TO A TROPICAL PARADISE: Ylang Ylang has a sweet, heady floral aroma. Add a few drops to your favorite...
  • 100% PURE YLANG YLANG COMPLETE ESSENTIAL OIL: Steam distilled for 12-18 hours, from the blossoms of the ylang-ylang tree...
  • BATCH SPECIFIC GC-MS REPORTS ON EVERY OIL: Every bottle of oil from Plant Therapy goes through multiple rounds of...

Ylang-ylang is the perfume derived from the flowering Cananga tree. The petals of the flowers are steam distilled to release the essential oil. Ylang-ylang helps to promote relaxation and has a sedative quality. It is often used to reduce symptoms of stress and could lower high blood pressure.

Ylang-ylang is considered to be safe for children and adults when used as a food flavoring or applied topically.

Frankincense


Rocky Mountain Oils Sacred Frankincense Essential Oil 15ml - 100% Pure...
  • PURE ESSENTIAL OILS – The RMO Sacred Frankincense Essential Oil is pure and natural. It is grown with organic...
  • AROMATHERAPY ESSENTIAL OILS - Medium-strength balsamic, rich, warm, slightly spicy, sweet, and woody aroma presenting a...
  • ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DIFFUSER - Add Sacred Frankincense oil to a diffuser to enhance deep meditation, working to balance...

Unlike the other products listed above, frankincense is not a plant itself. It is actually the hardened resin of a Boswellia tree. It has been traded for thousands of years and is native to the Arabian Peninsula.

Frankincense is the most expensive essential oil on this list. That is because the Boswellia tree is hard to grow, it’s native to areas of the world that often experience political unrest, and the resin is difficult to harvest. That said, frankincense oil has many healing properties. In addition to relieving stress and anxiety, it can also reduce pain and inflammation.

Frankincense oil is known to have blood-thinning effects. Anyone that has issues with blood-clotting conditions should avoid using frankincense unless advised otherwise by a medical practitioner.

Patchouli


Plant Therapy Patchouli Essential Oil | 100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural...
  • BALANCE MOOD AND TREAT YOUR SKIN: Patchouli grew to fame in the 1960s. It was popular in the "hippy culture" due to its...
  • 100% PURE POGOSTEMON CABLIN LEAF OIL: This therapeutic-grade essential oil is steam distilled from the green leaves of...
  • BATCH SPECIFIC GC-MS REPORTS ON EVERY OIL: Every bottle of oil from Plant Therapy goes through multiple rounds of...

Patchouli is a bushy herb from the mint family. It grows in warm tropical climates. It is almost exclusively used for producing essential oils, though it’s leaves are sometimes used in herbal teas. It is also common to use the oils in perfumes, aromatherapy, and insect repellants.

Patchouli oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve skin irritation, arthritis, and gout. It has sedative-like effects that relax and soothe the body. It is useful in the treatment of depression due to its impact on hormone levels and chemical reactions in the body. It can also fight some bacterial and fungal infections.

Users should be cautious of its potent sedative effects if used in large amounts and be aware that it may cause overstimulation in some people.

Valerian


Edens Garden Valerian Essential Oil, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade...
  • Like wandering into a dense and beautiful forest, Valerian’s aroma is intensely woody and something you’ll never...
  • Known as the “heal all,” Valerian has enjoyed a lengthy history as a medicinal essential oil. Called upon to remedy...
  • Women-owned and family-operated since 2009, we personally source each essential oil and raw ingredient to ensure...

Valerian is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. It produces small white or pink flowers and grows about a foot high. The root of the valerian plant has been used in medicine since the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its essential oils are derived from the root using steam-distillation.

Pink Valerian Flower with a ladybug

Image Via Pixabay.com

Valerian works as a sedative which helps treat sleep disorders like insomnia. It can help you fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. It also reduces stress and anxiety including those feelings caused by PMS.

Valerian can help you sleep better, but it is best to try it in small doses to see how you react to it. Some people have adverse side effects such as headaches and nausea. Others report feeling sluggish after waking and having dry mouth and vivid dreams.

Rose


Plant Therapy Rose Absolute Essential Oil 100% Pure, Undiluted,...
  • WALK THROUGH A ROSE GARDEN: A few drops of Rose Absolute (Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract) in a diffuser or bubble bath...
  • LOVELY OIL WITH MANY PRACTICAL USES: The pleasant, comforting aroma of Rose Absolute acts as a natural aphrodisiac and...
  • BATCH SPECIFIC GC-MS REPORTS ON EVERY OIL: Every bottle of oil from Plant Therapy goes through multiple rounds of...

Roses are a woody flowering plant whose petals are used in everything from food and candy to perfumes and beauty products. Rose essential oils are made from various types of rose petals, though the Damask rose is commonly used. Rose petals contain therapeutic compounds that offer a variety of health benefits.

Pink Rose flower in the table

Image Via Pixabay.com

Rose oil is beneficial for treating general sleep disorders because it has a calming and grounding effect. Studies have also shown that it relieves stress, anxiety, and depression by reducing the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The SNS is responsible for the brain’s fight-or-flight instinct.

Rose essential oil is generally very safe. That said, you should take the same standard precautions as with any essential oil.

Comparison

​CALMING:

  • ​lavender
  • ​cedarwood
  • ​vetiver
  • ​roman chamomile
  • ​ylang-ylang
  • ​frankincense
  • ​patchouli
  • ​valerian
  • ​rose

​Stress and anxiety relief:

  • ​All

​Anti-inflammatory:

  • ​lavender
  • ​Orange
  • ​cedarwood
  • ​roman chamomile
  • ​ylang-ylang
  • ​frankincense
  • ​rose

​Sedative:

  • ​Orange
  • ​cedarwood
  • ​Vetiver
  • ​ylang-ylang
  • ​Patchouli
  • ​Valerian

​Pain relief:

  • ​lavender
  • ​Orange
  • ​cedarwood
  • ​roman chamomile
  • ​frankincense
  • ​Patchouli

How to Use Essential Oils

​Oil Diffuser:

​Add essential oils to an oil diffuser before bed and let it run throughout the night.

​Massage:

​Mix 1-3 drops of essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil then massage into skin.

​Bath:

​Add a few drops of essential oils to warm bath water and soak for at least 15 minutes.

​Room Spray:

​Put a few essential oil drops in a spray bottle, dilute with water then spray on your bed sheets or directly into the air like you would an air freshener.

The Final Choice

As you can see, there a lot of options for using essential oils to help with sleep. We recommend ordering a sample pack of essential oils before committing to a larger quantity. Most retailers offer sample packs of essential oils and are often sold as a set based on their intended use.

Lavender oil is our recommendation if you’re using essential oils for the first time. It is gentle, inexpensive, easy to obtain, and easy to use. It is the most versatile essential oil, and its calming effects are well backed by scientific research. Overall, lavender oil is the best essential oil for sleep.

Following closely behind lavender are orange and cedarwood essential oils. Orange essential oil doesn’t have specific calming effects, but it does relieve stress, anxiety, and pain. Although cedarwood checks all the boxes in the comparison chart above, it is a bit more difficult to find than the orange essential oils.

If you’re looking for a brand with USDA Certified Organic oils, we recommend Rose Mountain Herbs. They are committed to producing high quality all-organic products. Plant Therapy Oils is another company to try if you’re looking for the best value for your money. Lastly, Rocky Mountain Essential Oils are a little more expensive, but they are of high quality and offer a great line of Certified Organic essential oils.

If you have a known allergy to any of the essential oils listed above be sure to avoid them. If you purchase a mixture of essential oils in one bottle, be sure to read the label carefully. Experiment with different combinations to figure out what scents you like best and which oils help you get the best night’s sleep.

Author: Jon Stahl

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