The best essential oils for better sleep

As you grow older, you might have more trouble falling asleep, especially if you’re constantly stressed or anxious. If you’re tired of tossing and turning until you fall asleep, consider using soothing essential oils.

Essential oils are made from natural sources like flowers and trees, and these oils have relaxing and sedative effects. Conclusive research is limited, but a lot of people who have trouble falling asleep, especially because of discomfort, pain, or stress, report that “essential oils help them fall asleep and stay asleep.”

Here are five effective essential oils that you can use to help you sleep more soundly at night.

  1. Cedarwood – An essential oil with an earthy scent, cedarwood has sedative properties that can improve sleep quality. Cedarwood essential oil also has potent antiseborrheic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue (stimulates or increases menstrual flow), expectorant, insecticidal, and tonic properties.
  2. Lavender – One of the most popular essential oils, lavender is extracted from the fragrant, purple flower of the same name. According to studies, using lavender oil for aromatherapy may help people experience a deeper sleep.
  3. Jasmine – This essential oil has a sweet scent, and it comes from the jasmine flower. Like lavender, jasmine is another popular essential oil used for aromatherapy. Data from a study has revealed that being exposed to the scent of jasmine at night helped participants “experience more efficient sleep and reduced stirring.”
  4. Sandalwood – This essential oil is derived from sandalwood trees and it can also be used to make cosmetics and perfumes. People who often have trouble sleeping report that inhaling sandalwood’s woody fragrance can help them fall asleep faster or sleep deeper.
  5. Vetiver – Vetiver essential oil is distilled from the roots of an aromatic tropical grass. Use this essential oil if you want to soothe your body and mind so you can sleep better at night. Vetiver is more commonly known as “khus” or “khus-khus.” Vetiver essential oil is also used extensively in the perfume industries. It offers various health benefits, and vetiver essential oil can help enhance libido, hasten the healing of scars, minimize inflammation, prevent bacterial infections, and relieve insomnia. A popular sedative, vetiver essential oil relieves afflictions, convulsions, and emotional outbursts (e.g., anger, anxiety, epileptic and hysteric attacks, restlessness, and nervousness).

How to use essential oils

You can use essential oils as sleep aids in two different ways.

  • Aromatically – Add several drops of your chosen essential oil and some water into a diffuser at bedtime. The diffuser will then release the scent into your bedroom. (Related: A list of truly effective, science-backed natural remedies for sleep disorders.)
  • Topically – Before you apply essential oil directly on your skin, always combine it with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil. Diluting essential oils will help prevent irritation. Apply the mixture to small areas of your skin, like your wrists, temples, and the back of your neck. When using essential oils topically, test out a small amount first to see if the oil will irritate your skin.

Never ingest essential oils. Before you purchase an oil, check user reviews of various online retailers or consult someone from a local vitamin or health food store.

Combined with lifestyle changes like proper exercise and nutrition, these essentials oils can help you sleep better at night so you wake up feeling refreshed and energized in the morning.

You can read more articles about the various health benefits of essential oils at

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