Essential Oils To Help You Relax and Sleep Better

The most popular essential oils for sleep and relaxation; finding a good combination of oils

a person sleeping peacefully

How to sleep better and well? We all have evenings when we find it hard to fall asleep or we wake up in the night. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough.

There are essential oils for almost every issue you can think of - one of which is trying to relax and get a better night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Doctor, lavender is the most popular essential oil for sleep and relaxation. It has benefits such as reduction in anxiety, depression, and pain relief, as well as improve sleep quality, time frame, and daytime alertness. Some other popular oils for this are vanilla, rose and geranium, jasmin, sandalwood, and citrus.

Vanilla can have sedative effects, similar to lavender, where it can reduce hyperactivity and restlessness, quiet the nervous system, and lower blood pressure. Rose and geranium have similar floral scents and can reduce stress and anxiety. Jasmine also has a sweet floral scent and can improve sleep quality and cut down on restless sleeping - it has been shown to lower anxiety even more effectively than lavender. Sandalwood has more of a rich, woody, earthy scent with a history of relaxation and anxiety relief. Finally, citrus can relieve anxiety and depression. Both sandalwood and citrus can have different reactions to different people - for some, they can be useful in helping people fall asleep more easily, whereas others may find the scents relaxing and not sleep-promoting.

"Common Symptoms lavender is used for" guy sleeps with bubbles above of anxiety and insomnia
Lavender has been found to help reduce anxiety and depression, combat insomnia, and improve sleep quality and cycles. Image courtesy of: Verywell Mind

Lavender Is Snooze-Inducing

Different ways to use Lavender for a better sleep

One way to use lavender is by massaging your muscles through diluting the essential oil with a carrier oil and rubbing it on the back of your neck and bottom of your feet. Lavender can give you more of a soothing massage since it has a softer scent; it creates a more calming, relaxing atmosphere and help soothe you muscles.

Adding a few drops of lavender into a diffuser is option of use. There are four basic types of oil diffusers: ultrasonic, heat, evaporative, and nebulizer. Ultrasonic diffusers use vibrations to turn the oil into microparticles and disperse them into a fine mist mixed with steam into the air. Heat diffusers are better for thicker oils (i.e. sandalwood) and will heat the source and evaporate it into the air, but heat does change the chemical level of the essential oil, which can limit health benefits of the oil. Evaporative uses a fan to generate a wind to evaporate the oil into the air. Nebulizer diffusers require no heat or water and deliver a concentrated pure stream by breaking down the oils into atoms by force.

Another option of using essential oils is while taking a shower or bath. You can add a few drops of an essential oil or oil blend into your warm bathwater. You can also combine about 10 to 15 drops of lavender with bath salts and a couple of teaspoons of jojoba oil. There are great options of body cleansers with essential oils you can use to soak into your skin. For a shower, you can add 3 to 5 drops on the wall or outer edge of your shower where the scent can then diffuse into the air from the hot water and steam.

A fourth option for using lavender is using a room spray. You can purchase one or create your own by adding about 20 drops of lavender (or any oil you prefer) to 5 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle. This can be sprayed throughout your room and even on your pillows and bed before you go to sleep and have the scent right next to you and help you relax and sleep well.

lavender pedals surrounding oil bottle laying down
Choosing the right product to use comes down to the quality, reputation, purity, how the essential oil is stored, and picking aromatherapy oils over fragrance oils. Photo courtesy of: Medical News Today

Best Brands of Lavender Essential Oil

Top lavender essential oil products, where you can purchase them, and ways you can use them

In my latest blog about ways to access and use essential oils, I emphasized the importance of what factors to consider when it comes to selecting the best products. Below is a list of great options to choose from for lavender, as well as some pros and cons:

Naturenics Lavender Essential Oil


  • 100% pure oil certified
  • No harmful chemicals, sulfates, parabens
  • Gluten free
  • USDA certified organic
  • Known for its potent and authentic small
  • Great essential oil option for beginners

Radha Beauty Lavender Essential Oil


  • 100% natural and cruelty-free
  • Sources from France and protected by a cobalt blue bottle, which provides superior ultraviolet light protection for the purity of the oil
  • 100% pure oil
  • Can be diluted in a spray bottle of water for a subtle air freshener or added to your body butter and facial creams


  • Can have too strong scent

First Botany Cosmeceuticals Pure Lavender Oil


  • Paraben and cruelty-free, made with no additives or fillers
  • 100% pure oil
  • Can help relieve some skin problems (i.e. burns, acne, wounds)
  • Can add to your bath or shower to soothe sore and aching muscles


  • Scent doesn’t last long
  • Smells less of lavender

Majestic Pure Lavender Oil


  • 100% pure oil
  • Great for diffusers, laundry, and sprays
  • Can mix with body lotion


  • Can have an overwhelming/overpowering smell
  • Since there are two forms of lavender combined, it may not smell like conventional lavender

Eden’s Garden Pure Therapeutic Lavender Oil


  • 100% pure oil without bases, fillers, additives, etc. - GC/MS Certified
  • Can be used to promote inner restoration and resolve agitation and stress from the rich and sweet scent
  • Great for topical hair problems

dry oranges and lavender pedals on wood with essential oil bottle laying on top
You can combine different essential oils to create synergy, where one oil can balance out the weaker parts of another. Photo courtesy of: Yoga Journal

Blending Essential Oils Creates Synergy

You can combine oils based off of what effect, what scent, or what notes you’re after

When you combine essential oils together, there is a chance one oil can negate any possible side effects you may experience by a singular essential oil. When deciding how you want to group your essential oils, start by categorizing them into groups that share similar traits; whether you’re after a specific effect (i.e. energizing, calming, detoxifying, or anti-anxiety), what scent you want (flowery, citrus, spicy, woody, or herbal), or by their notes (how fast each of them evaporates - top, middle, base). Oils that fall in the same category tend to blend best together; examples of each are as follows:



  • Rosemary, Clary sage, Bergamot, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tea tree, Cypress, Pine, Lemon, Basil Grapefruit, Ginger


  • Lavender, Geranium, Mandarin, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Jasmine, Melissa, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood


  • Peppermint, Juniper, Grapefruit, Rosemary, Laurel, Manderin, Lemon, Patchouli, Hyssop, Helichrysum


  • Lavender, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Marjoram, Sandalwood, Valerian, Bergamot, Jasmine, Black Pepper, Tangerine, Orange, Melissa, Lemon Balm

As you can see above, there are a number of oils that fall under multiple categories, so there are many great options when looking to find what scent to go with when aiming for a specific effect. First hand, you can see lavender categorized to help ease anxiety and stay calm.



  • Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Pamarosa, Rose, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang


  • Bergamot, Citronella, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Melissa, Neroli, Orange, Petitgrain, Tangerine


  • Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg, Pepper


  • Cedarwood, Coriander, Cypress, Fir, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Juniper, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver


  • Basil, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Marjoram, Oregano, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme

While it can be useful to combine oils that fall within the same category, it is not a set rule for all blends. The best way to decide how to blend and what to blend with is by looking at who it is for, the purpose, the method of application, and the ideal outcome. For example, floral, citrus, spicy, and woody scents all blend well together and herbal blends well with woody.


Top (energizing, uplifting)

  • Bergamot, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Orange, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tangerine

Middle (balancing, warming)

  • Carrot Seet, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Cypress, Dill, Fennel, Geranium, Jasmine, Marjoram, Neroli, Palmarosa, Rose, Rosemary, Rosewood, Spruce, Tea Tree, Thyme, Ylang Ylang

Base (calming, relaxing)

  • Lavender, Angelica Root, Balsam, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ginger, Helichrysum, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver

A great way to create a balanced essential oil blend a maximum of 5 oils and use 2 or 3 top note oils, 2 middle note oils, and 1 base note oil.

Brianna Holzman

Brianna is a master's student at Carnegie Mellon University, music enthusiast, and lover of all things animals and Groot.
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