9 Best Essential Oils for Sleep of 2024

9 Best Essential Oils for Sleep of 2024

Using essential oils for medicinal purposes (like promoting sleep) dates back to some of the most ancient and traditional forms of medicine, says Nathan Goodyear, MD, a holistic and integrative expert in the cancer field and medical director at Brio Medical. The practice of Ayurvedic medicine began 3,000+ years ago, and traditional Chinese medicine birthed some 2000+ years ago laid the foundation for essential oil use and the principles that apply today, he says. Typically, essential oils are extracts from plants—such as lavender, bergamot, and sweet marjoram— that act as a mild sedative causing people to feel relaxed and sleep better

When someone inhales an essential oil, serotonin and melatonin production increase, explains Nilda Agnes Abellera, MD, an integrative and functional medicine physician and medical director of Infuze MD. Inhaling an essential oil causes molecules in the oil to attach to the olfactory bulb in the nose, which then sends a signal to the central nervous system to release certain neurotransmitters that induce a sense of calming and relaxation, she says. 

If you are looking for more natural remedies for your sleep issues, essential oils may be just the solution you need. After all, the right essential oils can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and calm your mind—all of which lead to better sleep. For the best results, select a high quality, 100% pure essential oil. Below you will find nine essential oils that will help you improve your sleep. To make these selections, we talked to aromatherapists and functional medicine providers and researched many options for purity of the oil, its manufacturing and testing processes, certifications, and price.

When a company that manufactures essential oils uses GC-MS testing, they typically contract with a third party to evaluate the purity of the oil. This involves using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) machine to separate the sample into individual parts and analyze its properties. Looking at these properties allows technicians to identify what elements are in the oil and determine its overall purity.

This type of testing also confirms the exact identity of the oil and can demonstrate if other oils or ingredients have been mixed in. Some companies who use this type of testing even provide these reports to consumers. This helps boost consumer trust in a company and can prevent health scares if someone has severe allergies.

Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil

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Why We Like It

Lavender oil is an extremely popular and versatile essential oil and one that is used frequently to improve sleep and address sleep issues. It’s also one of the most studied oils. So, when it came time to pick the best overall essential oil for sleep, Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil was an obvious choice. This USDA-certified organic oil is free of GMOs, meaning it is grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And not only does it undergo GC-MS third-party testing but the company also provides batch-specific GC-MS reports on every oil. This means you can be confident that this oil is pure and unadulterated.

In addition to being an excellent choice for promoting relaxation and sleep, there also is some evidence that lavender has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. In fact, it can even be used for skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis; and some scientists are even researching the possibility of using it in dentistry. This means lavender may be able to be used for more than just sleep improvement. Of course, consult with a healthcare provider before using it in ways other than what is recommended by the manufacturer. 

Finally, if you like the Plant Therapy brand and its commitment to quality, but want something other than lavender, visit the Plant Therapy online store for other oils like bergamot, frankincense, sweet marjoram, ylang ylang, and geranium.

It’s Worth Noting 

While there is not a lot to dislike about this oil, there is a possibility that it may smell more herbaceous than expected. If you find this is the case, the manufacturer suggests removing the cap and allowing it to aerate for a short period of time. They indicate this will reduce some of “green” notes. 

Product Details:

  • Form: Pure oil, amber bottle 
  • Essential oil: Lavender

Majestic Pure Bergamot Essential Oil

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Why We Like It

When inhaled, bergamot has been shown to support the brain’s production of dopamine, serotonin, and key feel-good hormones that balance the mind-body connection, says Adora Winquist, an aromatherapy and vibrational medicine practitioner and founder of The Soul Institute. Consequently, if stress and lack of serotonin are impacting your sleep, you may want to try a bergamot essential oil—and we like Majestic Pure Bergamot Essential Oil for those looking to see how it works.

Not only is this oil budget-friendly, but it’s also certified USDA organic, non-GMO verified, and cruelty-free. Plus, it’s a 100% pure oil without any additives, fillers, or synthetic ingredients. We also appreciate that it is versatile enough to use in a diffuser, add to a skincare routine, or even use as part of a massage—depending on your preference. But, if you’re not sure if the citrusy scent of bergamot is right for you, Majestic Pure also offers lavender, frankincense, and patchouli—all of which are known for their calming and sleep-promoting properties.

It’s Worth Noting 

The dispenser or dropper that comes with this bottle is can make it challenging to get the last third or so of the oil out of the bottle. But, this does not mean that you cannot pour a few drops from the bottle instead. We also wish this oil was third-party tested.

Product Details:

  • Form: Pure oil, amber bottle, dropper  
  • Essential oil: Bergamot 
  • Certification: USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Cruelty Free

Edens Garden Sleep Essential Oil 6 Set

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Why We Like It

People who like variety—and the idea of a unique blend of essential oils—will appreciate Edens Garden Sleep Essential Oil Set. We love the unique blends like Best Sleep Ever, Good Night, Insomnia Aid, Relaxation, Sleep Ease, and Tranquility, and the fact that you have a variety of tools at your disposal to get a truly restful night’s sleep. Plus, any of these blends can be used in a diffuser depending on your mood and preference.

What’s more, these blends each have a unique scent and combination of oils that allow you to tailor your sleep routine to that particular night’s needs. For instance, the Good Night blend is a combination of lavender, sweet marjoram, chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, sandalwood, vanilla, and a few other oils. And the Sleep Ease version contains geranium, lavender, chamomile, linaloe wood, palmarosa, ylang ylang, and more. Plus, having the oils already blended gives you access to a greater variety of oils as well as reduces the hassle of blending the oils on your own.

It’s Worth Noting 

If you are sensitive to some essential oils or prefer not to mix oils, then this six-pack may not be right for you. Each of the six essential oils in this package have several oils blended together. Read the label for more details. 

Product Details:

  • Form: Blended oils, amber bottle 
  • Essential oil: Six blends including Best Sleep Ever, Good Night, Insomnia Aid, Relaxation, Sleep Ease and Tranquility 
  • Certification: GC-MS third party tested, Vegan, Cruelty-free,

Scentered Sleep Well Aromatherapy Essential Oils Balm Stick

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Why We Like It

When traveling, there is nothing worse than packing liquids like essential oils only to find that they have spilled in your luggage, or that the bottle has broken or been damaged in transit. Yet, traveling can really compromise sleep and you need to have something with you to address the insomnia, sleep disruptions, and jet lag you may experience. Enter the Scentered Sleep Well Aromatherapy Essential Oils Balm Stick

Not only does this balm stick travel well, but it’s also created with essential oils known to promote sleep—lavender, chamomile, geranium, ylang ylang, palmarosa, and a hint of patchouli—a mix that we really appreciate. Not only do these ingredients calm the mind but they also encourage relaxation and tranquility. And because this essential oil blend is a balm, there is no need to pack a diffuser or other tools when you are traveling. Finally, we love that this stick fits seamlessly in a carryon or suitcase and is ready to be used on pulse-points once you reach your destination and are ready for bed.

It’s Worth Noting 

In addition to the essential oils and other vegetarian-based ingredients, this product does contain fragrance on its ingredients list, which could pose a problem for anyone with sensitive skin or allergies. Be sure to check the label to make sure it fits your needs.

Product Details:

  • Form: Balm 
  • Essential oil: Lavender, Palmarosa, Ylang Ylang 

UpNature Lavender Oil for Sleep

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Why We Like It

Those that enjoy the simplicity of a roll-on essential oil cannot go wrong with this UpNature Lavender Oil for Sleep. We appreciate that despite being a roll-on, this oil only has two ingredients—Dutch lavender oil and a carrier oil to make it safe for topical use. But this additional ingredient doesn’t reduce its effectiveness. Plus, it’s small enough and portable enough that you can throw it in a bag so that it’s always on hand to use. 

We also like that despite being a roll-on, this essential oil still offers the same soothing lavender scent you would expect from a quality essential oil. And, as an added bonus it’s GMO-free, so you can rest assured that this oil is one of the purer ones on the list. Finally, if you don’t think lavender will work for you, they also offer this roll-on in frankincense.

It’s Worth Noting 

Because this product is a roll-on, it has been blended with a carrier oil. If you have sensitivities or allergies you may want to read the ingredients list to make sure it does not contain anything that could cause a reaction on your skin. You also should do a patch test with this roll-on.

Product Details:

  • Form: Roll-on 
  • Essential oil: Lavender

Plant Therapy Sleep Tight Essential Oil

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Why We Like It

Anyone looking for a multi-purpose, sleep-inducing essential oil blend will appreciate the unique mix of oils found in this Plant Therapy Sleep Tight Essential Oil. We also love that you can diffuse this oil, blend it with carrier oil for topical use, or mix it into unscented shampoo to help personalize and create a relaxing bedtime routine. Plus, we appreciate that this blend does not contain any fillers, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances.

Mixed with a blend of lavender, ylang ylang, neroli, and other essential oils, it is the perfect combination for calming your mind, promoting relaxation, and supporting quality sleep. And to make dispensing the oil easier, it is equipped with a European dropper cap, which means you can control how much oil you use at a time. But what really helps elevate this essential oil blend is the fact that it undergoes rounds of GC-MS third party testing to ensure its quality. 

It’s Worth Noting 

Because this is a blend of oils, people with sensitivities or those who prefer to personalize their essential oil blends by mixing oils on their own, may find it’s not a good fit. Other people prefer the simplicity of blends and the fact that they allow them to get the best of each oil used and a more complex and appealing scent.

Product Details:

  • Form: Blended oil, amber bottle 
  • Essential oil: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Neroli

Edens Garden Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil

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Why We Like It

​​When it comes to sleep-inducing essential oils, some of our experts particularly enjoy the sweet, dry aroma of Sweet Marjoram. But what drew us to the Edens Garden Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil is the fact that it undergoes third party testing—a step that helps give peace of mind when purchasing an essential oil. And as an added bonus, this essential oil is safe for vegans and is cruelty-free—characteristics that help add to the integrity of the oil.

We also appreciated that this version of Sweet Marjoram is particularly conducive to sleep-promoting routines and can be added to a bath alongside epsom salts. But even if you do not have time for a soak in the tub, this oil lends itself to being diffused prior to bed. We appreciate the calming, insomnia-reducing, and stress-relieving properties of this essential oil. In fact, Dr. Abellera says she likes Edens Garden essential oils because they are 100% pure, organic essential oils that are third-party tested to ensure high standards and quality. You can even ask for a certificate of analysis if you’d like, she says.

It’s Worth Noting 

As with any essential oil, if you have allergies to plants or pollen, you should check with a healthcare provider (such as an allergist) to determine if Sweet Marjoram cross pollinates with anything you are allergic to, or if it is in a family of plants to which you are allergic.

Product Details:

  • Form: Pure oil, amber bottle 
  • Essential oil: Sweet Marjoram 

Young Living Frankincense Essential Oil

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Why We Like It

Frankincense is known for its ability to reduce anxiety, increase relaxation, treat insomnia, and deepen breathing—all important characteristics for reducing overall stress and anxiety. It also is useful for anyone who wants to engage in meditative aromatherapy or use essential oils alongside mindfulness. With these characteristics in mind, we found the Young Living Frankincense Essential Oil ideal for these purposes.

Not only is the purity and quality of this essential oil top-notch, but we also love that it helps restore emotional balance and fosters a state of serenity. It can even be used with a carrier oil or mixed with your moisturizer and applied to skin. In fact, there is some evidence that frankincense may improve the appearance of your skin, especially since it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticancer properties. Overall, this is an excellent oil to have in your repertoire.

It’s Worth Noting 

Purchasing frankincense is definitely a splurge, especially from Young Living. But the quality and the scent are so unique, earthy, and grounding that we felt it was worth the cost. Plus, a little goes a long way with this oil, so it should last you a while.

Product Details:

  • Form: Pure oil, amber bottle
  • Essential oil: Frankincense

Cliganic Organic Geranium Essential Oil

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Why We Like It

According to Winquist, geranium is often used to address sleep challenges and insomnia that occur from adrenal fatigue and chronic stress. With this in mind, we selected the Cliganic Organic Geranium Essential Oil as the best-in-class oil for insomnia relief. Not only is this 100% pure, single-ingredient oil certified USDA organic, but it also is third-party tested for quality—two characteristics that add to the integrity of the product. 

We also appreciate that it is non-GMO certified and cruelty-free. But what we really appreciate is how this oil can help address specific sleep issues that occur as the result of issues like chronic stress. That said, if you are not sure geranium is the right scent, but like this brand, they also offer lavender, frankincense, ylang ylang, and more. There is even a rose geranium option which has a slightly sweeter smell and may be more soothing for some.

It’s Worth Noting 

Due to its high concentration, people with sensitive skin or allergies may not respond well to Cliganic’s geranium oil, particularly when used on the skin. If you plan to use the oil topically, mix it with a carrier oil and add it to a very small patch of skin to see how you respond. Some people develop dermatitis from using geranium oil in general, though this does not occur often.

Product Details:

  • Form: Pure oil, amber bottle 
  • Essential oil: Geranium

When selecting the best essential oils for sleep, we spoke with aromatherapists as well as integrative and functional medicine specialists. We also spent hours evaluating essential oils for a variety of needs and consulted numerous research studies. Finally, we considered everything from the formulation of the product to the way it was manufactured. Here is a closer look at our selection criteria.

  • Active ingredients: It’s important to distinguish essential oils from products that contain essential oils. Unless they are blends, the essential oils on our list haven’t been diluted with any other ingredients and include only the oil listed on the bottle. When considering products with essential oils as ingredients, we evaluated the other active ingredients for purity and quality. 
  • Intended use: Not every essential oil does what the label says it will do, so we focused on filtering out those that seemed to make claims that were not in line with research. It’s also important to note that essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so consider the claims the manufacturer is making and assess it alongside any existing research. You also can research particular plants using the FDA Poisonous Plant Database.
  • Manufacturing process: Low-quality processes can lead to inferior products, so we made sure the essential oils on our list were derived in the most efficient, natural, and responsible way possible. We prioritized oils that are third-party tested or have recognizable certifications like USDA Organic and Non-GMO.
  • Price: We tried to find products that were reasonably priced. For those that cost more, we ensured they were of the highest quality and had responsible manufacturing standards.

  • Nilda Agnes Abellera, MD, an integrative and functional medicine physician and medical director of Infuze MD
  • Nathan Goodyear, MD, a holistic and integrative expert in the cancer field and medical director at Brio Medical
  • Amy Kreydin, CCAP, a Harvard-trained medical aromatherapist, certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner, and owner of The Barefoot Dragonfly
  • Jessica Baker, LAc, RH (AHG), an aromatherapist, acupuncturist, herbalist, and CEO of Baker Botanica
  • Adora Winquist, an aromatherapy and vibrational medicine practitioner and founder of The Soul Institute 

The number of essential oils available on the market is extensive. But there are a few oils that are known for their ability to promote relaxation and sleep. Here is a closer look at the most common types of essential oils used for sleep.

  • Lavender: Lavender is a great essential oil to aid sleep disruption associated with stress, says Dr. Goodyear. In fact, studies have found decreased stress scores in people who use this oil, he says. Lavender also has been shown to improve both sleep quality and duration; and it calms the nervous system, relaxes the body, calms the mind, and aids sleep, he says.
  • Chamomile: Not only does chamomile help address anxiety, promote relaxation, and calm the mind, but it also may promote sleep as well. There’s also some evidence that it may be useful for pain relief, too. 
  • Bergamot: When inhaled, bergamot can support the brain’s production of dopamine, serotonin, and other key feel-good hormones that balance the mind-body connection—all of which can help with sleep, says Winquist
  • Frankincense: This essential oil promotes deep relaxation. In addition to being an excellent choice for insomnia, it also has been shown to reduce anxiety, increase relaxation, deepen breath, and oxygenate the cells, says Winquist. 
  • Geranium: Not only does geranium stimulate the adrenal cortex and have antidepressant properties but it’s also excellent for supporting the stress response and can be helpful for hormonal and emotional balance, says Winquist.
  • Ylang Ylang: This essential oil not only supports emotional release, which can help you relax and sleep, but it also can function as an antidepressant, anxiolytic, nervine, and aphrodisiac, says Winquist. For those who tend to keep stress and emotions inward, this oil is incredibly liberating, creating the inner conditions for rest and relaxation, she says.
  • Other essential oils worth mentioning: Some studies have found that valerian root can also improve sleep, says Dr. Goodyear. Other essential oils that people sometimes use for sleep include patchouli, neroli, and palmarosa. To determine if these oils are right for you, talk to an experienced aromatherapist.

  • Individual Needs: When choosing essential oils, you need to consider what you want to accomplish, which oils will help you accomplish those goals, and which scents you prefer. Everyone responds differently to various essential oils, says Dr. Abellera, which causes people to have an affinity toward certain scents. What one person likes, another person may find intolerable. Ultimately, the right essential oils in the correct formulation have the ability to shift your mood, thoughts, awareness, and overall physiological response, adds Winquist. 
  • Form: Clearly, the best form of essential oil is one that is 100% pure. However, blends that combine only pure oils also are acceptable. That said, sometimes convenience can dictate your purchase, meaning that something a little less traditional may be the best bet, like the balm we recommend for travel. 
  • Uses: Relaxant essential oils can easily be pulled into sleep hygiene routines to prepare the mind and body for deep rest, says Amy Kreydin, CCAP, a Harvard-trained medical aromatherapist, certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner, and owner of The Barefoot Dragonfly. They can be used in an evening shower, in a diffuser, in a lotion for a foot massage, or alongside a gentle yoga. To maximize effectiveness, look for essential oils that are higher in linalool, like lavender. But if pain or inflammation are causing insomnia or restless sleep choose oils with higher myrcene content, which is found in lemongrass, hops, and thyme, says Jessica Baker, LAc, RH (AHG), an aromatherapist, acupuncturist, herbalist, and CEO of Baker Botanica. 
  • Quality and Certifications: When sourcing essential oils find out as much as you can about the company you’re considering, suggests Kreydin. For instance, look for companies that do third-party testing of their essential oils. You also may want to consider other certifications that are important to you like USDA organic, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and gluten free. Also, watch out for plastic bottles and marketing hype, Kreydin adds.
  • Price: Essential oils can be quite costly and range dramatically in price, says Dr. Abellera. The more expensive varieties tend to have a higher level of purity while some of the less expensive essential oils contain filler ingredients that could potentially be toxic when inhaled, she says.
  • Safety: When picking an essential oil, look at the ingredients to ensure that it’s 100% essential oil extract. Some of the less expensive essential oils contain harmful fillers that could irritate the skin and even be carcinogenic when inhaled, says Dr. Abellera. It’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified aromatherapist—someone who has 200 or more hours in aromatherapy training—to discuss your unique health history, says Kreydin. Essential oils can interact with medical conditions, medications, or bother other household members like pregnant people, children, and even pets. For example, German chamomile, sometimes called blue chamomile, can make people extra groggy in the morning if they combine it with an evening dose of their antidepressant.

Benefits of Essential Oils for Sleep

While researchers are still discovering the benefits of essential oils, studies suggest that selecting and including the right essential oil(s) into a bedtime routine may help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep more soundly, and improve your overall sleep quality.

Essential oils may even be useful in helping cancer patients sleep. Researchers found that using a single essential oil had a positive effect on sleep quality with lavender being the most beneficial. For this reason, the scientists recommend that healthcare providers utilize essential oils as a complementary therapy for people with cancer. 

And finally essential oils, specifically lavender, can not only improve sleep quality but also reduce anxiety in people with heart disease. Lavender may even help improve sleep during the postpartum period and improve maternal health. That said, it may not be safe to diffuse essential oils around a newborn. Talk to a healthcare provider for more information.

What Are Carrier Oils?

Because essential oils are often undiluted and 100% pure, they may be too harsh or strong to apply directly to your hair or skin. For this reason, most experts recommend mixing essential oils with a carrier oil.

Carrier oils are typically vegetable oils that are cold pressed from the seeds, kernels, or nuts of a plant such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil. It also is possible to use your shampoo or moisturizer as a carrier for your essential oil, but it’s important to make sure it doesn’t already contain the oil or have ingredients that could interact with your particular essential oil. If you are unsure, talk to a dermatologist or an aromatherapist.

How long does it take for essential oils to work for sleep?

The onset of an essential oil is extremely fast, says Dr. Abellera. Within about 22 seconds, the oil molecules reach your brain; within two minutes, it’s in your bloodstream; and in about 20 minutes the oils can be found on a cellular level, she says. Of course, the exact speed at which this happens varies from person to person. 

Can I combine different essential oils for sleep? 

Using a combination of essential oils can have a greater effect than a single one, says Kreydin. She suggests starting with two to three essential oils for a sleep blend and then rotating to another combination of two to three oils so that the brain starts to recognize a few different aromatics for rest. Just keep in mind that some essential oils can be invigorating or uplifting so you don’t want to add those to your blend, Baker adds.

Sherri Gordon, CLC, has been covering health and social issues for nearly two decades and has written countless articles with a health focus. She is knowledgeable and well versed about a number of health conditions that impact our everyday lives—including sleep issues, stress conditions, and anxiety disorders. Sherri is particularly interested in natural remedies for common health issues and complaints and has an extensive collection of essential oils, including frankincense, lavender, bergamot, sandalwood, and more. Young Living’s Frankincense is her favorite oil for reducing stress and inducing sleep from this list and she also really likes Plant Therapy essential oils.

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