8 Essential Oils for Stress and Sleep

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By Anna Marikar

Consistently experiencing sleepless nights can have a profound negative impact on an individual’s overall health and it is not something it should be ignored for too long as it can be really detrimental.

Adequate sleep is essential for the body and mind to recover, rejuvenate, and function optimally so you should never neglect it.

essential oils

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When deprived of this necessary rest, a person may face a range of health issues, including weakened immune function, making one more susceptible to illnesses.

Essential oils can be just the thing you are looking for to address this issue. They are particularly renowned for addressing a range of night time complaints that can interfere with a restful sleep.

Issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness can often be alleviated with the right blend or type of essential oil.

In this post we will go a bit more in depth on how essential oils can help you sleep better.

What Are Essential Oils

essential oils

Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants. They capture the plant’s scent and flavour, or its ‘essence’. People use them for their pleasant smells and potential health benefits.

Many aromatherapy products use lower-quality essential oils, which might have added ingredients to increase their volume or chemicals to enhance their scent and look.

However, even these modified oils can produce soothing fragrances that promote healing in the brain and nervous system. Such effects can significantly reduce stress and improve sleep quality.

essential oils for sleep

1. Lavender Oil

Why: Lavender oil is perhaps the most well-known essential oil for sleep. Its calming and sedative properties help relax the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep. Numerous studies have shown that inhaling lavender oil can improve sleep quality.

Related: DIY Lavender Sugar Scrub

2. Chamomile Oil

Why: Chamomile is renowned for its soothing and anti-anxiety effects. It can help calm a racing mind, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety that might prevent a good night’s sleep.

3. Cedarwood Oil

Why: Cedarwood has a grounding aroma that promotes relaxation. It’s believed to stimulate the production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone.

4. Valerian Root Oil

essential oils for sleep

Why: Valerian root has been used for centuries as a remedy for various ailments, including insomnia. The oil derived from valerian root can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality.

5. Bergamot Oil

Why: Unlike other citrus oils that are stimulating, bergamot is calming. It can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, promoting relaxation and sleep.

6. Clary Sage Oil

Why: Clary sage is known for its ability to induce feelings of relaxation and clarity. It can help balance hormones, which might be beneficial for those whose insomnia is related to hormonal changes.

7. Sandalwood Oil

Why: Sandalwood has a rich, woody aroma that can help calm the mind and promote deep relaxation, aiding in sleep.

8. Marjoram Oil

essential oils for sleep

Why: Marjoram oil is known for its sedative properties and its ability to relax the nervous system, making it a good choice for those struggling with sleep disturbances.

Each individual may react differently to essential oils, so it’s important to find the one that works best for you.

Additionally, before using any essential oil, it’s advisable to do a patch test to ensure no allergic reactions and consult with a healthcare professional.

Essential Oils For Snoring

If you or someone close to you is struggling with snoring, thyme might be the solution. Applying thyme to the soles of the feet can help clear nasal passages and reduce snoring for many.

citrus essential oils

Thyme oil, similar to oregano, is considered a “hot” oil. If you’re worried about its intensity, dilute it by mixing it equally with olive oil or another natural oil before applying to the skin.

Avoid using thyme near the face or throat to prevent any discomfort, as hot oils can cause a stinging sensation.

Night Time Disturbances

Having difficulty sleeping because of night time discomfort and pain? Essential oils like clove, peppermint, and wintergreen can help alleviate the pain, ensuring a more peaceful sleep.

If pain wakes you up, reapplying these oils can help you comfortably drift back to sleep in no time.

The essential oils mentioned earlier for sleep disturbances can also be beneficial for those experiencing nightmares and night terrors.

During these intense dreams, individuals, whether children or adults, might talk, move about, and be hard to rouse.

essential oils for sleep

However, addressing nightmares and night terrors might necessitate more in-depth personal therapies or essential oil blends tailored to the individual. Seeking advice from an aromatherapist could be beneficial.

Related: Relaxing Guided Mindful Meditation for Sleep

Ancient Solution To Modern Problems

Since ancient times, essential oils have been tapped for their healing properties. These fragrant extracts from plants offer a wide range of health advantages, including alleviating pain and uplifting moods.

With modern-day challenges like sleep issues and anxiety on the rise, it’s understandable that these timeless solutions are making a comeback.

Scientific Backing On Essential Oils

Over the years, the therapeutic potential of essential oils has been a subject of interest in the scientific community.

Research has delved into the properties of these plant-derived compounds, revealing their ability to positively influence sleep patterns and mitigate anxiety symptoms.

essential oils for sleep

These findings are backed by a multitude of studies that have rigorously tested and confirmed the efficacy of specific essential oils.

For instance, some essential oils have compounds that interact with the body’s nervous system, promoting relaxation and inducing sleep.

These oils can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns.

By calming the mind and reducing feelings of unease, these oils indirectly support better sleep by creating a more conducive environment for rest.

The holistic approach of using essential oils, combined with their natural origins, makes them a sought-after alternative or complementary solution for those seeking better sleep and reduced anxiety without relying solely on pharmaceutical interventions.

lavender essential oil


Like all remedies, essential oils should be used with caution. While they offer numerous benefits, they are potent and can cause adverse reactions if misused.

Dilution Guidance: Always mix essential oils with a base oil such as jojoba or coconut before applying them to your skin. This step reduces the risk of skin reactions.

Caution for Sensitive Areas: The eyes and mucus membranes are especially delicate. Ensure you clean your hands well after using essential oils.

Allergy Check: Prior to widespread use, test the oil on a tiny patch of skin to confirm there’s no allergic response.

Expert Advice

For those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, seeking advice from a healthcare expert before using essential oils is essential.

essential oils for sleep and stress

In today’s world, stress and sleep issues are common challenges. Yet, time-tested solutions like essential oils, now supported by contemporary research, present a hopeful respite.

While they aren’t a universal solution, their responsible and correct use can indeed offer a natural path to improved sleep and handling stress.

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Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.

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