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Best Essential Oils for Insomnia

Updated on August 20, 2014

Essential Oils for Better Sleep- The Natural Approach

There are times in most peoples’ lives when they suffer with periods of insomnia. Instead of taking sleeping pills which can potentially be harmful, there are more natural ways of getting the sleep that you need.

There is a wide variety of different essential oils that can help bring the relaxation necessary to get a good nights’ sleep. By learning what causes insomnia, the properties of natural essential oils and how they work, you’ll discover how you can benefit from using botanical products that are free from side effects or health risks from long term use.

What Causes Insomnia?

We live in a fast paced society and so often the stresses and anxieties from everyday life can build up causing trouble sleeping. In addition to stress and anxiety, certain medical conditions can present themselves causing chemical or hormonal disruptions within the delicate chemistry of the body. The result is often insomnia, restlessness and irritability.


How essential oils work to reduce insomnia

Essential oils are herbal extracts taken from plants found in nature. Each plant contains unique properties that can be useful to humans to treat different types of medical conditions that ay arise.

Compounds within certain plants are known to promote relaxation by stimulating the body’s production of serotonin and other natural calming agents.

In addition to this, the stimulus of scent has a powerful effect upon the mind and can trigger responses such as relaxation and a feeling of well being that allows the body and more importantly, the mind, to relax enough to fall asleep.

Sometimes, a variety of these herbal extracts are combined together for maximum effectiveness in combating sleep disorders or disruptions.

See below for the 10 best essential oils for insomnia...

Neroli or Orange Blossom Essential Oil

Neroli or orange blossom has a pleasant scent that is often used in perfumes. Its aesthetic value is pleasing but it is also valued for its ability to induce a state of relaxation and relief from nervous tension that lasts long enough to fall into a gentle slumber.

Lavender Essential Oil for Sleep

Lavender is another herb that helps to induce relaxation and sleep. Studies conducted showed that using essential lavender oil administered through a diffuser, creates a 20% better quality of sleep in the participants. In addition, it was easier for the sleepers to achieve a state of relaxation than the group without the scent of lavender.

Side note: You may be interested in the other applications of lavender oil. Please see my other hub: Lavender Oil For Burns

Valerian Essential Oil

Valerian has an acquired scent that can be described as being unpleasant, but it works well in reducing stress and tension.

It has been named one of the most effective herbal remedies for relieving insomnia, anxiety and nervousness. When combined with other essential oils such as Roman chamomile or lavender, the scent is more tolerable.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood essential oil has a clean fresh scent and is an ancient remedy for treating stress, anxiety and insomnia. The combination of its wonderful relaxing fragrance and the properties which induce relaxation do not need the infusion with other essential oil fragrances to be effective in promoting sleep.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary Sage essential oil with a nutty scent that contains a muscle relaxing compound called thujone. It is also a known anti-stress agent to help promote relaxation in order to fall asleep and obtain a good night’s rest.

Chamomile Essential Oil

Roman Chamomile essential oil is another tried and true remedy from yesteryear. For centuries, people have relied upon Roman Chamomile in both tea form and essential oil for relaxation. It is the most effective when it is combined with lavender.

Vetiver Essential Oil

Vetiver Essential oil has an earthy smell. Its most common use is in helping women who are suffering from hormonal disorders relax. It is also useful for anyone who suffers from insomnia due to stress, anxiety or nervousness.

Cedar Wood Essential Oil

Cedar wood essential oil has a pleasant fragrance. This very quick working aroma has a powerful effect on people who are feeling anxious or stressed out. The properties of Cedar wood help to induce a state of relaxation and calmness that makes falling asleep much easier.

Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil has a heavy fragrance that promotes a peaceful feeling when used in a diffuser. Although not all people enjoy the scent, many do. Even if it isn’t your favorite scent, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a fast acting natural way of relaxing.

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang-Ylang essential oil is a powerful anti stress herb that has a powerful calming effect and is widely used in herbal therapies to relieve insomnia. In addition to this it doubles as an aphrodisiac, so be careful when using Ylang-Ylang.

Marjoram Essential Oil

Marjoram essential oil has a spicy fragrance, yet pleasant enough. The ancient Greeks not only used marjoram in their cooking, but also as a therapeutic remedy for stress.

How to Use Essential Oils to Prevent Insomnia

There are many ways which essential oils can be used to help fight insomnia. One of the more popular methods is to place a few drops on the pillow at night before lying down. This gives you a constant dose to help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

The oil is also frequently placed into a diffuser for maximum permeation throughout an individual room or the entire house.

Or a few drops can be placed directly in the bath water or mixed with Epsom salts and sprinkled into the bath.

Finally, essential oils can be mixed with carriers such as baby oil or a variety of lotions and massaged directly into the skin.


Essential oils have been used for centuries to help combat anxiety, tension and insomnia. This ancient therapeutic use of herbal extracts is becoming very popular in today’s modern world as a means of relieving insomnia and a host of anxiety/sleep related conditions. Using essential oils to treat insomnia is one of the healthiest and effective alternatives available.

Essential Oil Recipe for Insomnia


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    • Donna Palmer profile image

      Donna Palmer 3 years ago

      There are so many more! Please come back and let me know if you try any of the others... I'd love to hear how they compare to lavender for you.

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      The only one I ever knew about was lavender. It is nice to learn there are other options available to that one.