Pining for a good night’s rest? The best essential oils for sleep might help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. To learn more, Bustle reached out to Heidi Moretti, registered dietitian and nutritionist who recommends lavender, cedarwood, and roman chamomile for sleep and relaxation.
“These oils all help dampen down the stress response, or cortisol, in the body,” which encourages sleep, according to Moretti. For some, citrus and peppermint essential oils can be too stimulating around bedtime. “However,” Moretti qualifies, “I have known some people who really relax with use of orange oil.” So, I've included one citrus-y blend.
She adds that third-party testing is a hallmark of the best essential oil companies, noting DoTerra as one of the best: “They disclose each batch's exact composition,” she notes. So I've only included third-party tested oils. However, Moretti notes organic essential oils aren’t necessarily better, since they can still contain harmful solvents and "be quite [diluted].”
Diffusing is the best method for using essential oils to help you sleep, Moretti says, “because it releases small amounts into the air throughout the night. Topicals are nice, but some people can have skin sensitivities to the strong essential oils.”
Lavender, roman chamomile, and cedarwood have been scientifically proven to improve sleeping patterns, but scent preference or citrus sensitivity will help your decision-making; note that lavender and roman chamomile are more floral scents while cedarwood smells woodsy.
1. The Best Lavender Essential Oil For Sleep
This 100% pure lavender essential oil by DoTerra gives off an earthy, floral scent and is the only pick in this roundup that can be used topically, internally, or diffused. One of the most popular and widely studied essential oils, a wealth of research suggests that lavender essential oil can effectively help relieve anxiety and depression while also relieving pain and promoting better sleep. In fact, one 2013 study found that lavender helped mice fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
All DoTerra products are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG), which means each batch is tested for purity, potency, and consistency. The company is also very transparent about their sourcing practices; through the Source To You page on DoTerra’s website, you can follow the journey of the company’s essential oils from growers to distillers to lab testing to retailers to you. You can also download the GC/MS quality reports from the DoTerra website.
What fans love: “I use this oil as a calming aid for baths and to diffuse at night before bedtime. It helps me wind down for a good night’s sleep. I've also used it on the pads of my dogs paws as a calming aid for them as well during traveling and storms. DoTerra is by far the best of the best when it comes to essential oils. If you haven't tried them yet, start today. They've changed my life in so many ways!”
2. The Best Budget Lavender Essential Oil For Sleep
My first lavender pick can be a little pricey for some budgets, so this 100% pure lavender essential oil is a little easier on your wallet. All Plant Therapy oils are rigorously tested via GC/MS standards by a third party, and the company makes each batch's test results available for download on the Plant Therapy website. It comes backed by a 4.2-star rating after over 2,200 reviews.
What fans love: "Great value for the money! I have been using the lavender as a means to relax before bed. It has helped my calm and allowed me to relax enough to easily drift to sleep. Recommended purchase!"
3. The Best Cedarwood Essential Oil For Sleep
This 100% pure, premium grade, certified-organic cedarwood essential oil by Plant Therapy has a comforting and peaceful outdoorsy scent that you can add to skin-care products and be diffused.
Also good to know: Studies show that cedarwood can actually lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate. Other studies show that cedrol — the main component in cedar oil — can help people stay asleep longer when inhaled.
What fans love: “Helps me sleep so well! Love the woodsy scent.”
4. The Best Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
This 100% pure pick specifies that it can be used topically (to relax muscles) and the manufacturer confirms it can be diffused as well. Chamomile has been used as a natural sedative for hundreds of years, and studies back up the claim that the plant can ease stress and anxiety, which naturally promotes better sleeping patterns; a study published in 2013 by Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that participants exposed to Roman chamomile aromatherapy had lower anxiety scores and higher sleep scores than the participants who didn’t experience the aromatherapy.
Young Living ensures all essential oils are 100% pure and therapeutic grade, responsibly sourced, subjected to third-party testing. The company also supervises production of their essential oils from “Seed to Seal,” sometimes on their very own global farms. The company is an industry “Green Leader” to boot — all their offices have recycling in place and they're committed to reforestation of harvested trees.
What fans love: “Great oil for relaxation.”
5. The Best Essential Oil Blend For Sleeping
Rocky Mountain Oils Tranquility Essential Oil Blend can be diffused or used topically; and it contains 100% pure orange, tangerine, patchouli, lime, blue tansy, ylang ylang, lavender, and citronella essential oils. Like Moretti mentioned above, the citrus oils may be too stimulating for some, but Amazon shoppers love this pick for sleep.
Rocky Mountain Oils provides GC/MS test results from a verified third-party and makes each batch's test results available for download on the company’s website. Rocky Mountain Oils also promises all of its oils are guaranteed S.A.A.F.E., which stands for: satisfaction guaranteed, authentic, analysis, free of adulterants, and effective and pure.
What fans love: “This has to be my favorite blend so far!! I love it and can't imagine going to bed without it now!”
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Heidi Moretti, registered dietitian and nutritionist
Cho, M.-Y., Min, E. S., Hur, M.-H., & Lee, M. S. (2013). Effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary intervention patients in intensive care units. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3588400/. Dayawansa, S., Umeno, K., Takakura, H., Hori, E., Tabuchi, E., Nagashima, Y., … Nishijo, H. (2003, October 31). Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of Cedrol in humans. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=14614968.
Kagawa, D., Jokura, H., Ochiai, R., Tokimitsu, I., & Tsubone, H. (2003, August 4). The Sedative Effects and Mechanism of Action of Cedrol Inhalation with Behavioral Pharmacological Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2003-41114.
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/.