Essential Oils to Help You Fall Asleep

difficult time getting enough sleep at night by 4steps4

Sleep is a luxury that money cannot buy. And nothing makes me feel more frustrated than not being able to fall asleep at night! Why is it that even after a long and exhausting day, your body is tired- yet it refuses to let you go to dreamland? Or you’ve finally gotten yourself to sleep after tossing and turning in bed, only to be woken up in the middle of the night. It is annoying, especially when you have another long day waiting for you.

Your body needs a decent amount of sleep in order to function well each day. Lack of quality rest makes your mind foggy, lowers your libido and affects your motor and cognitive functions. More serious consequences of ongoing sleep deprivation include: weakened immune system, increased risk of contracting heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and depression. Lack of sleep can totally ruin your day, before it even started!

The inability to fall asleep can be caused by several reasons:

  • The sudden change in sleeping habits: If you are used to staying up all night, then your body clock will adapt to that practice. When you finally decide to change your sleeping cycle, you need to be patient because your body needs time to adjust to the new habit that you are building.
  • Increased level of stress: When you are troubled, you may find yourself running worst-case scenarios in your mind the whole night. Whether your endless thinking is deliberate or not, it is usually hard to shut off your brain and get a good night’s sleep when your emotions are running high.
  • Too much screen exposure near bedtime: You may be using gadgets like smartphones, television, or computers to relax and unwind after a long day- but the effect can be the opposite. The blue light from these devices can suppress the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and lead to poor quality of sleep.

Many people swear by essential oils as a solution for sleeplessness. How do essential oils work? They are concentrated compounds extracted from plants, to capture the essence and potential benefits of their source. Essential oils work when their scent stimulates your olfactory nerves or when they are absorbed into your skin via topical application.

To help you get your much-needed zzzz’s, here are five essential oils with sleep-inducing effects:


The soothing scent of lavender has been used as a natural sleep aid for generations. Several studies suggest that essential oils distilled from the plant Lavandula angustifolia promotes relaxation and may treat insomnia, anxiety and depression. Lavender is the most popular essential oil used in relaxation or sleep aid blends due to its mild and pleasant scent.

Lavender essential oils are usually light yellow in color and have a floral smell.

How to use for sleep:

  • Diffuse by itself or combine with other essential oils
  • Sprinkle a few drops to your pillow
  • Apply it topically to your feet, temples or wrists


Obtained from the leaves, bark and berries for cedar trees, cedarwood essential oils are known as a strong sedative and can reduce the feelings of anxiety, restlessness and uneasiness. The sweet, woody and warm smell promotes feelings of peace and joy, and can thwart off stress and insomnia.

How to use for sleep:

  • Diffuse by itself or combine with other essential oils
  • Apply it topically on shoulders, temples or wrists
  • Sprinkle one to two drops on your open palm, cup your hand over your nose and inhale deeply


Clinical studies have shown that bergamot can elevate mood, induce positive emotions, and provide relief from stress and anxiety. If you love the smell of sweet and fresh citrus fruits, bergamot essential oil may be for you. It is derived from the rind of a tropical orange hybrid.

How to use for sleep:

  • Diffuse by itself or combine with other essential oils
  • Apply it topically on the bottom of the feet, behind the ears, temples or wrists. Bergamot essential oil is photosensitive, so make sure to avoid exposing the area where you applied it on, up to 12 hours after.
  • Sprinkle one to two drops on your open palm, cup your hand over your nose and inhale deeply


The vetiver plant is native in India, which can grow up to 5 feet high or more, and belongs to the same family as lemongrass and citronella. Studies show that the earthy smell of vetiver can improve your breathing patterns while you sleep, and might even alleviate snoring. It is also known for its anti-anxiety effects.

How to use for sleep:

  • Diffuse by itself or combine with other essential oils
  • Use as a pre-bedtime massage oil to promote circulation and relaxation
  • Sprinkle a few drops on your evening bath

Sweet Marjoram

The scent of sweet marjoram is sweet and herbaceous, and known for its calming effects to relieve insomnia. They can also promote a happy feeling and may be used to pacify people with feelings of anger, shock or sadness.

How to use for sleep:

  • Diffuse by itself or combine with other essential oils
  • Add a few drops into your pre-bedtime bath to counter stress or insomnia
  • Sprinkle one to two drops to your chest balm and apply before sleeping

Personally, my favorite way of using essential oils is by diffusing them. Before going to bed, I would add water to my diffuser and put several drops of my chosen essential oils. After a few minutes, my room will be filled with a soothing smell that can bring me straight to dreamland, after a long tiring day.

Things to consider before using essential oils

  • However, use essential oils with caution, as they are very potent and may lead to undesirable side effects when used incorrectly.
  • Do your proper research on the properties of each oil- just because it smells relaxing, it doesn’t mean that it is meant to help you sleep. On the contrary, using the wrong blends can make you feel energized- a benefit you will definitely not appreciate when you just want to rest after a long day.
  • Remember that less is more- you can usually enjoy the full benefits with only one to two drops.
  • The application of undiluted essential oils directly on the skin may lead to irritations or skin rash. Use only the proper topical concentrations.
  • Do not put essential oils directly inside the nostrils, near the eyes, ears, mouth, your private parts or broken skin.
  • As essential oils are made from plants, you might have unknown allergies to one or two of them. When using a new oil, make sure to test first by applying a few diluted drops on a small area of your skin, or just opt to diffuse them to avoid contact with skin.

When used correctly, essential oils can provide a myriad of health benefits such as reducing stress, promoting good sleep and relaxation, lifting your mood, improving concentration and focus, to even curbing appetite and preventing respiratory infections.

So the next time that you are having a terrible time trying to have a good night’s sleep, try using the suggested essential oils to help relax your mind and get your much-needed slumber. Here’s wishing you a good night’s rest and sweet dreams tonight!

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