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Ever heard of essential oils for your sleep issues?
Chances are if you are like millions of other people you probably have trouble sleeping at night.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 40 million people have problems falling asleep in the United States.
So, maybe you’re like one of the many people living in this world that has problems falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or has any number of sleeping issues.
Truth be told it’s one of the reasons I got into essential oils in the first place.
A lot of people are really confused on how to use essential oils for their sleeping problems.
I have read countless books, researched sleep online, and literally lost sleep over looking for information on essential oils and sleep. So, in this article, I am going to show you how to use essential oils to help you sleep better.
Here is a video by Dr. Axe that talks about sleeping and essentials:
Sleeping pills are not the answer to your insomnia problems. Believe me, I have tried sleeping pills for my sleep issues and they are bad news. Sleeping pills can come with a lot of unwanted side effects.
I’m not a doctor, but I have had sleeping problems for several years. It’s really a big problem that many people struggle with each and every single night.
Let me tell you a quick story about sleeping pills, specifically Ambien and why it wasn’t a good sleeping pill. I took it for a month or so and strange things would happen at night. I would pour food down the toilet, drive to the dumpster (lived in an apartment), and even woke up on the garage floor.
The truth of the matter is I had no memory of what happened after taking Ambien. I have heard horror stories about sleeping pills and bizarre activity after taking it.
Over the counter sleeping pills are not a good option either because they are habit-forming, even if they state they are not on the bottle. Lastly, many people feel sluggish after waking up from over the counter or prescription sleeping pills.
Recommended Sleep Per Night
- Newborns 14 – 17 hours
- Infants 12 – 15 hours
- Pre-schoolers 10 – 13 hours
- School-Aged Children 9 – 11 hours
- Teens 8 – 10 hours
- Adults & Young Adults 7 – 9 hours
- Older Adults 7 – 8 hours
This information was provided by sleepfoundation.org.
How To Use Essential Oils For Sleep
One way to apply essential oils is to your skin. Do make sure you use a carrier oil if you’re going to apply them to your skin, though. I wrote an essential oil dilution guide which shows you everything about diluting essential oils. Typically, people will rub the essential oils at the base of the skull behind their ears. You can rub the essential oil on your temples, base of your skull, solar plexus, wrist. Lastly, you can rub the oils on the bottom of your feet.
It does take about 20 minutes for the essential oils to get into your system when you apply them topically.
As you can see the image to the right shows a roll-on I made for sleep. I used vetiver and lavender with an almond carrier oil. You can get some blank roll-on bottles by clicking here.
Here is my exact blend for my roll-on sleep blend:
- 15 ml of sweet almond carrier oil.
- 10 drops of lavender.
- 5 drops of vetiver.
Probably the easiest way to use essential oils to sleep is to diffuse them with an electronic diffuser. Personally, I use the URPOWER diffuser or my Innogear 150ml diffuser. You simply add 4-6 drops of essential oil and diffuse them 30 minutes to an hour before bed.
You can also leave your electronic diffuser running through the night which will help you stay asleep during the night. It also helps increase the quality of your sleep.
Also, you can put the essential oils in your hands and rub them together. Then you cup your hands over your nose an inhale them for 1 – 2 minutes. Furthermore, you can always just inhale them right out of the bottle for 1 – 2 minutes. I also highly recommend you get an inhaler. I have reviewed and recommend this one by Plant Therapy.
You can easily make your own pillow spray to help you sleep. There are premade pillow sprays (see this one this one by Aura Cacia), which is well worth it. But, to make your own pillow spray you’re going to want to use any variety of the essential oils listed down below.
You need the following:
- 2 oz glass spray bottle.
- distilled water.
- 1/2 tsp vodka.
- 24 drops of essential oil (up to you to which ones you want to use).
Here is how to mix essential oils for your pillow spray:
- Mix your vodka and essential oils into a spray bottle.
- Add water to the bottle.
- Spray your pillow before bedtime. Do this about 5-10 minutes before bedtime.
Don’t forget to shake the bottle before using it each time.
Top 13 Essential Oils For Sleep Problems
Down below are different essential oils that you can use to help with your sleeping problems. The top 3 lavender, Roman chamomile, and vetiver are the most effective ones. You might want to try out several of them to see what works best for you. Different people will react differently to different essential oils.
Lavender is one of the most useful essential oils. It can be used for a number of different problems. Lavender is one of the most studied essential oils.
It should be no surprise that lavender is at the top of the list for essential oils that help you sleep. A lot of people are aware that it’s great for relaxation, but the truth is it’s fantastic as a sleeping aid.
Lavender helps calm the nervous system down. It does this by lowering your, heart rate, blood pressure, and even your skin temperature. These are all vital processes that you need to help your body wind down and fall asleep.
Lavender increases the quality of sleep and aids in falling asleep. For instance, this study that was a single-blinded study with people with mild insomnia. It showed an improvement in insomnia problems when lavender essential oil was used.
Not only does lavender help you fall asleep. It also helps you get a better quality of sleep. Meaning, it helps increase the slow and deep wave. This allows you to make up feeling more energized the next morning.
Here are some blends you can use that include lavender in your electronic diffuser:
- 6 drops lavender
- 4 drops Roman Chamomile
- 2 drop neroli
- 6 drops lavender
- 6 drops orange
- 6 drops geranium rose
- 4 drops lavender
I’m sure you have heard of Roman chamomile tea which has been proven to help sedate you so you can fall asleep.
There are different varieties of chamomile oil. For instance, there is blue chamomile, German chamomile, Moroccan chamomile, and Roman Chamomile. Make sure that you are using Roman chamomile for issues with insomnia. It works best for sleep problems.
People have been using Roman Chamomile for years to help them sleep. It’s been known as a natural sedative. It should be no surprise that it’s great for sleep issues.
Roman chamomile has a light floral smell and helps soothe, relax, and calm you down. It’s an excellent essential oil for creating a peaceful mood and can calm you down.
Lastly, this study on patients in the ICU shows that there was an improvement with sleep quality and anxiety. Lavender, Roman chamomile, and neroli where used in this study.
Here are some blends you can use that include Roman Chamomile in your electronic diffuser:
- 5 drops Roman chamomile
- 3 drops bergamot
- 2 drops frankincense
- 5 drops Roman chamomile
- 3 drops lavender
- 3 drops marjoram
Vetiver is another essential oil that helps sedate you and makes it easier to fall asleep. It is distilled from the roots of the plant and has a very earthy smell to it.
Vetiver is a great essential oil when you can’t shut your brain off for the night.
Vetiver affects the central amygdaloid nucleus which connects to the brainstem, which does control innate behaviors. This means it’s responsible for controlling emotions, heart rate, respiration, and even your blood pressure.
In 2015 there was a study that proves vetiver was effective in treating anxiety. Vetiver has a lot of calming effects and has even been used to treat ADHD.
Here are some blends you can use that include vetiver in your electronic diffuser:
- 4 drops lavender
- 3 drops Roman chamomile
- 2 drops vetiver
- 4 drops cedarwood
- 3 drops vetiver
- 4 drops lavender
- 4 drops vetiver
- 4 drops marjoram
Neroli is a bit more expensive than other essential oils but is effective for relieving your insomnia issues.
Neroli is a citrus essential oil. Most citrus essential oils are fairly cheap, however, neroli is one of the more expensive citrus oils. It has a sweet orange smell to it. Personally, I like to diffuse it with Roman chamomile and lavender.
Neroli is one of the most relaxing and tranquilizing scents that is often used to alleviate anxiety and helps relieve your depression. It also reduces blood pressure levels and relieves agitation.
Spikenard is an essential oil that has a lot of calming and sedative effects. It does this by uplifting your feelings and helps relax your mind.
It has an earthy or some would say soil-like smell to it. I believe it’s classified as a spicy or woodsy scent, though. Many say it gives off the similar scent as moss.
Spikenard helps balance you out mentally and physically. It works by sedating inflammation the nervous system and digestive system.
People that are feeling irritable, nervous, anxiety, anger, stressed, and in a state of panic find Spikenard to calm them down.
Spikenard has been used to relieve insomnia symptoms for several years and makes you feel restless enough to finally fall asleep.
I like to think of ylang ylang as an essential oil that helps calm you down when something is bugging you.
Ylang ylang actually slows down your heart rate and reduces your blood pressure. Therefore, you can see how it calms you down. It’s also an effective essential oil for depression.
Ylang ylang is an essential oil that helps improve the quality of your sleep. It has a bit of a “fruity” and floral smell to it. Commonly, people use ylang ylang to help relieve anxiety, worry, etc.
Valerian is a very popular essential oil to help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep. Valerian has a grounding and calming effect, much like vetiver. It’s an herb that has kind of a stinky smell to it.
But, what is good about valerian is it has some sedative properties which make it excellent for falling asleep faster. However, only use a couple drops because too much valerian can smell quite foul.
This study shows that valerian helps with your sleep quality. Several other studies have been conducted which do prove that valerian is good for treating sleep issues.
Bergamot is a citrus essential oil. Most citrus oils are energizing and stimulating. However, bergamot is different because this essential oil helps calm you down. If you are feeling a bit worrisome than bergamot is a great essential oil to help balance your emotions out.
Furthermore, studies have been conducted with bergamot essential oil from 2009 to 2013. Five out of six studies have stated that bergamot helps with a reduction of heart rate, blood pressure, and stress when inhaled.
A lot of people use sandalwood when meditation. However, it can be used to help fight your sleep issues. Sandalwood has a “woodsy” smell to it. It mixes quite nicely with a lot of essential oils. But, I have found that sandalwood mixes best with a lot of citrus essential oils. Sandalwood is a higher priced essential oil.
Sandalwood does contain a. santolol and b. santalol. These have an impact on the central nervous system. It’s been proven that sandalwood inhalation causes a sedative effect which increases the duration of non-REM sleep.
When your mind just won’t shut off and your anxious about something frankincense can really help.
Frankincense is a great essential oil for relaxation. It has a warm and spicy scent. It should give you feelings of peace, relaxation, and satisfaction. It’s a great essential oil to help balance your mood. However, when frankincense is mixed with other essential oils it actually helps enhance other essential oils properties.
Frankincense has been studied and 2016 and found that 64% of patients had an improvement in sleep using aromasticks.
Cedarwood is a great essential oil when you have had a hectic day and need to unwind. The properties that are in cedarwood are calming and grounding. It has a woodsy and earthy smell to it. Cedarwood does blend well with floral oils like lavender and ylang ylang.
Cedarwood is a natural sedative which you can use to cure your insomnia. The aroma that cedarwood puts out elevates serotonin which converts to melatonin. Some people claim that cedarwood is more effective than lavender. Also, when mixed with lavender it’s a nice one-two punch.
Orange is another essential oil that comes from the citrus family. Most citrus essential oils are uplifting and stimulating. However, orange can be calming and mixes quite nicely with lavender, spiced oils, etc. Many people use it for sleep issues, but it can also be uplifting when mixed with other essential oils.
Marjoram is an effective essential oil to use for insomnia. There are also a variety of different marjoram essential oils. Make sure you are getting “sweet marjoram”. It’s the most effective when treating sleep problems. It has a sedating and calming effect on the nervous system. This will help you relax so that you can get a good nights sleep.
Additionally, marjoram is good for helping you in times of grief, rejection, hyperactively, and even lowers blood pressure.
Remember that your essential oils need to be pure otherwise, they won’t have any real therapeutic benefits. Some companies actually adulterate their essential oils. Look out for words like “perfume oil” and “fragrance oil” on essential oils. Sadly, it’s not regulated very tightly in the industry.
Essential Oils & Insomnia
The biggest problem with insomnia is thinking about falling asleep. People will commonly toss and turn, get up and do something, and stress out about not being able to fall asleep. Before you know it you have spent 3 hours trying to fall asleep and when you finally do; you only get 3-4 hours of actual sleep.
Simple Insomnia Diffuser Recipe
- 3 drops vetiver.
- 3 drops lavender.
- 3 drops frankincense.
Diffuser 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed. You can leave it running throughout the night.
Another Simple Insomnia Diffuser Recipe
- 4 drops Roman chamomile.
- 2 drops clary sage.
- 2 drops bergamot.
Again, you can diffuse this 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed. Feel free to leave it running throughout the night.
Easy Topical Insomnia Recipe
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) carrier oil.
- 3 drops of lavender.
I recommend using olive oil. Make sure it’s 100% virgin olive oil. But really you can use any carrier oil that you want. Rub it on your solar plexus. Within 30 minutes you will feel relaxed and able to fall asleep.
Additionally, you can use Roman chamomile. Feel free to use one drop of lavender and two drops of Roman chamomile.
Essential Oils For Sleep Apnea
For those that suffer from sleep apnea, it can be hard finding something that actually works. First, you want to get your diet on track. Make sure you eat lots of protein, good fats, and fiber with each meal. Try to avoid excess alcohol before sleeping. There are two different types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): The tissue in the back of your throat relaxes and partially or completely blocks air from passing.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): Your brain loses the ability to send signals to the muscles in the throat for regular breathing.
These are the 4 essential oils to help with sleep apnea:
- Peppermint essential oil will open up your airways.
- Lavender will relax your body and has sedative effects.
- Eucalyptus essential oil will also open up your airways.
- Roman chamomile will sedate your mind and make it easier to fall asleep.
Sleep Apnea Diffuser Recipe
- 5 drops lavender.
- 3 drops peppermint.
15-20 minutes before you go to sleep inhale the vapors. It will help relax your mind. Optionally, you can substitute Roman chamomile for lavender or eucalyptus for peppermint.
Lastly, you can make a pillow spray with either lavender and peppermint or roman chamomile and eucalyptus.
Sleep Apnea Topical Recipe
- 15 ml coconut carrier oil.
- 10 drops lavender.
- 5 drops peppermint.
Rub it on your throat, chest, and back 30-45 minutes before you go to sleep. This is a 5% topical dilution. If you want to make it weaker you can use 7 drops of lavender and 2 drops of peppermint.
Thing To Avoid Before Sleeping
If you’re having a problem with sleep remember these simple tips:
- Remember to limit your intake of caffeine before sleeping.
- Don’t exercise 3-4 hours before you go to sleep. Exercise early in the morning.
- Don’t take naps in the middle of the day. This messes with your sleeping schedule.
- Limit using the television, computer, or any electronic devices 1 hour before bedtime.
- Lower the temperature in your bedroom. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 60 to 67 degrees.
- Get a new mattress. The average lifespan for a mattress is 10 years. Memory foam mattresses work wonders for a better nights sleep.
So, if you’re having issues with sleep I would highly recommend trying some of the essential oils that are mentioned in this article. There are a variety of ways you can use essential oils to help you sleep at night. I would highly recommend diffusing them, using them topically (bottom of your feet), and making a pillow spray.
Hopefully, this helps with your sleep problems. If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment down below.