8 Essential Oils to Use for Sleep


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

Sleeping is hard! It can be so difficult to unwind and tell our brains to calm down when we're ready. While there are lots of over-the-counter medications that can help, you can also turn to nature. Essential oils are derived from plants that have been used as medicine for years and years.

You can either add about 10 drops to a room diffuser, or you can make your own pillow spray with a dark glass bottle and your preferred combination or oils, water and witch hazel.

In order to choose the right essential oils for your best sleep, think about what is causing you to lie there unable to drift off. Maybe you're feeling anxious. Maybe you can't stop thinking about work and what you need to get done.

Whatever it is, there's an essential oil for that!

If you are anxious or worried...


Bergamot is a unique citrus oil that has been found to act as an anti-depressant, which can help with anxiety. It can also provide physical relief if you have nausea or pain from your anxiety or other reasons.


Vitever has a grassy smell similar to lemongrass. It has a calming effect, and being earthy, it is very grounding as well. It can help ease both anxiety and feelings of anger.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang is another plant that works as an antidepressant, so it can reduce both anxiety and sadness. It also has lots of healing properties and is great for your skin and immune system. (Before using topically or ingesting, always read labels and make sure that your brand of oil is meant for that purpose!)

If you are stressed or distracted...


Cedarwood is often used for focus, which is exactly what you need when you can't get yourself to stop thinking about work or your kids or that you need to call your mom back. It will ground you to the present moment and help you focus your thoughts on what you need to do in the moment—sleep!


What can't frankincense do? Medical professionals use it to help with arthritis, gut health, asthma and so much more. When it comes to how it helps you sleep, frankincense is a major stress reliever, has grounding effects and also works as a sedative when you breathe in the scent.

If you're just not sleepy...


Can you believe you made it this far down the list without seeing lavender yet? Well, here it is! Lavender helps with any and all types of stress and anxiety and will definitely help you get sleepy. I recommend combining lavender with any of the other oils on this list for a powerhouse solution.


Jasmine is another anti-depressant and sedative. It has a sweet, floral scent that is very nice in the spring or even to trick your brain into feeling like the weather is warmer outside than it really is!


Sandalwood can work as a sedative, promote relaxation and even regulate your REM cycles and help you stay asleep. However, some people report feeling more of an awake calmness from sandalwood, so as with any essential oil, don't force yourself to keep using it if it doesn't seem to work for you. Everyone reacts to things a little bit differently.

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer

8 Essential Oils to Use for Sleep was originally published in HAYHYER

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