The Ultimate Guide to Using Essential Oils for Sleep
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
The ultimate guide to using essential oils to sleep better
Tired of being tired? Essential oils can be a lifesaver when it comes to getting a good night of sleep. The key is knowing how and when to use them to increase your chances of falling asleep and staying asleep.
There’s something to be said about a great night of sleep. You feel energized and on top of the world, ready to take on the day with a smile on your face.
But what about the days that you’re dragging, tired, and feeling blah because you had a terrible night of sleep?
Sleep deprivation is a huge issue for so many people. In fact, when I was googling essential oils for ______, sleep is the first thing that came up, which inspired me to write this blog post. We have been using essential oils to help us sleep better for over six years and trust me, they work!
Relying on medications to help you sleep can have some pretty serious side effects such as long-term illness and memory loss (1). Not to mention the addiction element of sleeping pills. But instead of scaring you with a bunch of stats, let’s focus on a few natural solutions and lifestyle tweaks that will help you sleep better.
Before you bring on the essential oils
There’s a couple of things you can do, if you’re not already, to prep yourself for a good night of sleep every night.
Stop drinking caffeine by 3:00 in the afternoon. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so you may have to experiment a bit to see what works for you. I like to stop by 3:00 and if I really need something, I will have green tea or white tea which has less caffeine than black tea or coffee.
Try to eat dinner at least two hours before bed. Eating (especially a heavy meal) and then going to sleep right after can really throw things off. Your body is trying to settle down and at the same time working to digest what you just ate. Not a good combination! If you really are starving before bed, try having a light snack. If I get home late and I’m hungry and exhausted, I just like to make a light salad or a smoothie to tide me over.
Stop using electronic devices at least an hour before bed. This is kind of a no-brainer. Our phones and computers are super stimulating. Using them right before bed will most likely make it harder for you to fall asleep. I know it does for me. I use the night shift setting on my phone and I have it set from “sunset to sunrise” which cuts down on blue light exposure during that time. Blue light exposure has a major effect on our melatonin production and you can read more about it in this article from Harvard Health Publishing.
Add a little Calm to your life. I just starting using this amazing magnesium supplement and I am in love. I add about a teaspoon to a hot mug of water before bed and it tastes so yummy! If you’re curious about the magnesium/sleep connection, check out this study.
Set your bedroom up for optimal sleep. Meaning darkness, total darkness. Turn off all of those little lights that might be coming from a TV or computer as well. We just put up these inexpensive room darkening shades in my kids’ bedroom and they have been sleeping later and later every day!
Skip the wine. You might be cursing me out right now. I don’t blame you, we all like that relaxing glass of wine after a long day but it’s actually doing more harm than good when it comes to sleep. Wine causes your blood sugar to spike and…what comes up must come down. This makes your liver work extra hard, releasing more cortisol, which wakes you up. Did you ever notice that you toss and turn a lot or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep? It’s probably the glass or two of wine you had a few hours earlier. This always happens to me when I drink wine and I try to remind myself to cut it out! If you’re really struggling with sleep, wine might be something you want to ease back on. Obviously, we all need the occasional glass!
Essential Oils: A natural solution for sleep
So many of my friends, family, and members of my essential oil community (and me!) have turned to essential oils to help fall asleep, stay asleep and get a better quality of sleep with great results. The beauty of essential oils is there are no side effects, only side benefits!
Since I started implementing essential oils into my nightly routine, I sleep so much better. As a mom of little ones, sleep is usually interrupted by someone who needs something, doesn’t feel well or is just scared and needs a hug. It used to be a struggle for me to fall back asleep after a middle of the night wakeup. Now I either fall back asleep quickly or just use my oils to help me fall asleep. I always keep a few bottles and my sleep roller on my nightstand for easy access in the middle of the night.
My kids LOVE using essential oils at night too. Usually, they are so worn out that they fall asleep pretty quickly, but if they can’t, they ask me for a Lavender roller to help them out. I love that they are learning about natural solutions at such a young age!
The Top Five Essential Oils for Better Sleep
Lavender is probably one of the most used essential oils because of its relaxing and calming properties. Many people initially say they can’t stand the smell of lavender, but once you get a whiff of a high-quality Lavender you will understand how incredible it is. I like to put a drop in my palms before bed, rub them together and inhale deeply about 3-5 times. This method alone helps me get better sleep. So simple!
Some people may not put Frankincense high on the list of sleep-promoting essential oils, but it definitely needs to be! We don’t usually use this oil by itself, but I always add it to a roller or the diffuser with a few other essential oils mixed in. Frankincense is known as the “King of Oils” and for good reason. It is great for quieting the mind, calming, relaxation and a whole host of other benefits you can read about here. I like to make a simple roller of equal parts Lavender and Frankincense to apply before bed.
Cedarwood is a grounding, soothing essential oil. The woodsy aroma promotes overall relaxation and calmness. I love to add this to the diffuser at night with Lavender and Wild Orange. Spa heaven!
Roman Chamomile is an amazing essential oil to encourage a good night of sleep. It has a strong smell so pairing it with an oil like Lavender in your diffuser or as a room spray is a really good idea. Roman Chamomile is great for relieving stress and feelings of overwhelm. If you’re one of those people who can’t turn their brain off in the middle of the night, this essential oil is for you!
When you need to break out the big guns, Vetiver is your guy. I always recommend starting with Lavender and Cedarwood before going to Vetiver because the smell of Vetiver is very strong and may turn you off to essential oils. Known for its sedative properties, Vetiver is extremely helpful for insomnia and sleep apnea. If you are really struggling with sleep issues, you might want to go straight to Vetiver, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the strong smell!
How To Use Essential Oils For Better Sleep
A combination of aromatic and topical use of your essential oils will give you the best results for a better night of sleep. You will need a good diffuser and a few roller bottles to make your blends.
1. Add essential oils to your diffuser
It all starts with setting the mood for a good night of sleep. I like to put a few drops of my favorite sleep-promoting essential oils in the diffuser around seven o’clock to calm down the entire house. I set this up in the room where most of us are hanging out, either the kitchen or family room.
My favorite sleepytime diffuser blends are:
3 drops Lavender
3 drops Frankincense
1 drop Roman Chamomile
4 drops Lavender
3 drops Cedarwood
3 drops Lavender
2 drops Frankincense
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Vetiver
*Adding Wild Orange or Bergamot essential oil to any of these blends would be even more effective for sleep and relaxation.
2. Make a linen spray for your sheets
If you don’t like to sleep with the diffuser on, you can also experience the aromatic benefits of essential oils by misting them on your sheets and pillows. I like to make a “sleepytime” spray for me and my kids that smells amazing!
10 drops Cedarwood
10 drops Lavender
3 drops Roman Chamomile
Fill a 2-ounce glass spray bottle with water and essential oils. Mist on sheets and pillows before bed.
3. Make an essential oil roller blend
Another effective way to use essential oils for better sleep is to apply a roller blend to the bottoms of your feet, back of neck and wrists. I always recommend applying a little bit to the underside of the big toe since it has a direct connection to the brain. Using essential oils safely when applying topically is very important. You can read about safety and topical application here.
Choose any one (or a combination) of the essential oils mentioned above. Stick with it for about a week or so. If it isn’t working for you, try another one! Everyone is unique, so what works for someone else may not work for you.
To make the roller add the essential oils first, then fill the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. See the chart below for the recommended dilution by age.
My favorite Sleep Roller Blend Combinations are:
Lavender + Cedarwood
Lavender + Frankincense
Lavender + Frankincense + Vetiver (goodnight!)
4. Put a drop of an essential oil in your palms and inhale
I keep a bottle of Lavender or Serenity (a doTERRA blend) on my night table and right before bed I put a drop in my palms, rub them together and inhale deeply about 5 times. Sometimes I’ll add a drop of Cedarwood as well. Then I rub my hands all over the back of my neck to use up all of the oil. This is a quick way to get the essential oils into your system and it relaxes your whole body almost instantly. I love this method and it’s so simple and easy!
Have you tried essential oils for a better night of sleep?
I would love to hear about your favorites! Drop a comment below or share this post with a friend who is having trouble sleeping.