Essential Oils and Sleep

Essential oils are natural compounds that are found in plants and are extracted from leaves, roots, shrubs, flowers, rind, and resin and the purest essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals from which they were extracted.

They aren’t exactly new. In fact, they have been used across all world cultures for thousands of years for healing and wellness, because humans have a symbiotic relationship with plants. Their chemistry dovetails with our own chemistry to benefit our health and wellness. That’s the beauty of aromatherapy. 

As the goal is to achieve balance, we must always remember to first remove anything that could be contributing to imbalance such as a poor diet, questionable lifestyle choices, lack of exercise, stress levels, and relationships that do not serve. Keeping these things in check will help the body regulate itself, receive what it needs in good things like plant extracts, to find balance.

There seems to be a growing interest in essential oils these days for their soothing and calming effects and if you are one of the very many suffering from difficulty sleeping, you might want to consider adding aromatherapy to your nighttime routine.

Two easy ways to use aromatherapy for sleep: 

Breathe them in! The easiest way to enjoy the aromatic benefits of essential oils is by breathing them in. You can inhale from the bottle, cup in your hands, or diffuse. Cold water diffusion is a convenient and easy way to breathe in the chemical constituents in the oils that help promote quality and more restful sleep. 

Soak them in! Topical use is very popular. Some people move from casual oil users to devotees after learning how to use oils on the skin. When this method is employed, our bodies absorb the plants’ molecules directly into our skin for us to reap their benefits. There are so many oils that can be diluted with a pure vegetable oil that are beneficial in a massage and help promote good sleep.

Mix and Match Methods:

You can get creative with these methods and mix and match them into effective bedtime routines. Essential oils are now your new secret weapon as you catch some zzzs.

Prepare the environment. Create a pleasant, peaceful environment in your bedroom as you prepare to sleep. You can create a lavender pillow mist or place a cotton ball with a few drops of Lavender inside the pillows.

Enjoy a calming bath. Nothing says soothing like a warm soak if yo’ve got a bathtub. Add essential oils to your bath while you start to wind down. Lavender, Cedarwood, Bergamot, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile are a few favorites.

Make a massage blend. Here is one of my tried and tested relaxation blends that always does what it was set out to do.  Two drops each of Lavender, Stress Away, Frankincense in 30ml of carrier oil massaged after bath time is always a luxuriously soothing experience.

Roll in the deep sleep. Sometimes we can’t help interrupted sleep. Good thing it’s easy to reach for a prepared blend you can leave by your bedside. Tranquil Roll On conveniently combines Cedarwood, Lavender, and Roman Chamomile with a soothing aroma that creates a calming, serene and peaceful experience.

Diffuse into dreamland. Seal the deal by diffusing into the night. Cold air diffusion atomizes a microfine mist of essential oils into the air, where they remain suspended for several hours for us to reap their benefits, and that includes promoting restful sleep.

What's the science behind this?

When you inhale essential oils, they make their way through the olfactory system and impact the limbic system, which is also known as the seat of emotions and memories. 

Research shows that their chemical constituents cause the brain to secrete neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which help modulate our mood. This can result in feeling calm, relaxed, and sleepy when it’s time for you to get some shut eye.

Know better to do better! Dig a little deeper into the key constituents of each oil below and see where they lead you.

The Oilbularyo Picks:

Here’s a list of my favorite sleep oils.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Considered the panacea of aromatherapy, this calming and soothing oil contains constituents that helps everything wind down and sets the pace for quality sleep. Lavender blends with almost anything and that’s why I love her!

Key constituents: Linalyl acetate, Linalool

Bergamot (Citrus aurantium bergamia). Bergamot essential oil has an aroma that is both uplifting and calming, making it a perfect help in managing stressful feelings. Combine it in the diffuser with Lavender just before lights out.

Key constituents: Limonene, Linalyl acetate, Linalool.

 (Cedrus atlantica). Cedarwood essential oil is recognized for its calming and grounding aroma, which can be paired with Lavender as part of your bedtime routine. It creates a tranquil environment when diffused to help wind down at the end of the day. 

Key constituents: Alpha-himachalene, Beta-himachalene, Gamma-himachalene.

Clary Sage
 (Salvia sclarea). Traditionally used as a medicinal herb, Clary Sage contains the naturally occurring constituent linalyl acetate, which contributes to its calming and soothing herbal aroma. When I feel my stress levels rise because of hormones, this is the oil I turn to, and everything is beautifully taken down a significant notch!

Key constituents: Linalyl acetate, Linalool.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii). This sacred oil has a grounding, woodsy aroma that promotes feelings of relaxation and tranquility and creates a safe and comforting environment when diffused. 

Key constituents: Alpha-pinene, Beta-caryophyllene, Limonene, Sabinene, Alpha-thujene, Incensole.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Valerian essential oil exudes a musky, tranquil aroma that helps create a restful environment conducive to sleep and lulls the mind into a sense of comfort. It’s a perfect bedtime companion to transform your space into a restful environment. 

Key constituents: Bornyl acetate, Camphene, Alpha-fenchene, Alpha-pinene, Beta-pinene.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides). Vetiver’s grounding aroma provides a calm addition to your nighttime routine. Apply it to the bottoms of your feet as part of your bedtime routine! 

Key constituents: Isovalencenol, Khusimol, Beta vetivone.

Sacred Sandalwood (Santalum album). Native to southern India and Southeast Asia, this aromatic plant has been revered as culturally and spiritually significant for at least 2,000 years. Sacred Sandalwood essential oil has a grounding, woodsy aroma that can be diffused at bedtime for relaxation, calm, and spiritual well-being. 

Key constituents: Alpha-santalol, Beta-santalol.

Here's a roller I love to make when I need to get some shut eye.

One more thing!

While I love essential oils, they aren’t magically going to send you off to sleepy slumbers if lifestyle changes are in order. So do yourself a solid favor and take an honest look inside. Consider cutting down on that extra shot of caffeine, sugar, and switch up lifestyle choices that don’t serve. Once you are on the path to balance, you’ll be amazed at how intelligent your body can be in reaching homeostasis and whole life wellness. 

Sweet aromatic dreams, my friend!


Some excerpts taken from:

Snug as a bug: Essential oils for when your kids go to sleep. (2021, August 18). The Lavender Life. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from


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