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Posted in Essential Oil Basics by Rocky Mountain Oils

11 Best Essential Oils for Sleep and Anxiety

Feeling stressed or anxious? Does your anxiety or restlessness make it hard to sleep?

Find relaxation and calm with these 11 best essential oils for sleep and anxiety, and start the year feeling well-rested and rejuvenated!

Experiencing stress or anxiety from time to time is a normal part of life. Stressors like work, family, children, social life, bills, and more can cause you to feel like you are constantly under pressure. However, while experiencing stress in the presence of stimuli is a normal reaction, experiencing anxiety can be a bit more intense.

Anxiety can be defined as persistent or excessive apprehension or worry. The difference between anxiety and a typical case of stress is that anxiety can usually feel constant and can continue even in the absence of stimuli or stressors.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), around 31% of US adults have experienced some type of anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Often referred to as the “fight or flight” mechanism, anxiety can become quite debilitating when it starts interfering with and disrupting your regular work, social life, and wellness routines.

Recommended reading: Want to know how sleep effects physical and mental health? Click here to learn all about sleep and why it is so important to your health and wellness!

Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Anxiety and Sleep

Aromatherapy can be a natural remedy for stress relief. Diffusing or topically applying certain essential oils can help reduce anxiety symptoms and get you feeling relaxed and calm enough to get a good night’s rest. This is because our olfactory system, the structure in your body that helps you detect, identify, and associate smells, can directly reach and impact the part of the brain that regulates emotion.

Practicing aromatherapy has also been proven to reduce cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone. That is why diffusing certain soothing essential oils can help calm down your body and mind.

Some studies even suggest that aromatherapy can help with pain relief. Coupled with its soothing and calming effects, essential oil aromatherapy can help you finally get that deep night’s sleep that you have been looking for. With our best essential oils for sleep and anxiety, you can say goodbye (or goodnight) to restlessness, sleeplessness, and anxiety!

Best Essential Oils for Sleep and Anxiety

Lavender Essential Oil

Gentle floral aroma; calming, enhances sleep & great for the skin.

One of the most versatile and popular essential oils, lavender oil is famously known for its calming, soothing, and sedating properties. It has been shown to be quite effective in helping treat those with anxiety, depression, and even PTSD. Diffusing or topically applying lavender oil can help reduce stress and anxiety levels as well as improve brain function.

Inhaling lavender essential oil for a couple minutes before bedtime can help you achieve a better quality of sleep for longer. This is because the scent of lavender can help lower heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure, all things that can help ease you into a deeper and more restful sleep. The essential oil’s sedating and soothing properties can also help you avoid insomnia and restlessness, making lavender oil one of the best essential oils for sleep.

Lavender oil can also be especially helpful with postpartum mothers, heart disease patients, people with insomnia, and stressed-out students.

Bergamot Essential Oil

Fresh citrus scent; fights sadness & supports immunity.

One of the best essential oils for anxiety, bergamot oil can be inhaled and diffused to alleviate stress symptoms. Although bergamot has a very strong and refreshing citrusy scent, it also contains relaxing and calming properties. That is why practicing bergamot aromatherapy can help improve mental health, lower blood pressure, and boost mood.

These calming properties can also help you improve your sleep quality. However, studies have proven that it is better to mix bergamot essential oil with other oils into a blend to have the best results for improved quality of sleep. A mixture of bergamot, lavender, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood has been proven effective in improving study participants’ sleep quality.

Recommended reading: Struggling to cope with stress and anxiety? Click here for some easy stress coping mechanisms. 

German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile Essential Oils

Soothing, herbal; calms nerves, aids digestion, promotes sleep.
Sweet, fruity, herbal; neutralizes odor-causing bacteria.

Although both the chamomile essential oils are similar in form and plant origin, they can have different effects on the user. While roman chamomile has been proven to be one of the best essential oils for anxiety, german chamomile is more specialized in relieving pain. When diffused or applied topically, both chamomile oils have soothing properties that make them great essential oils for relaxation and sleep.

Choose the best chamomile oil for you, and address the reasons behind your sleeping troubles directly. Whether it’s anxiety, stress, pain, or other factors that keep you from getting a good night’s rest, a couple drops of chamomile oil can do the trick.

Combine roman chamomile, lavender, and neroli essential oils to create a diffuser blend that is specifically soothing for sleep. Certain studies have even suggested that pairing chamomile essential oil aromatherapy with soft, soothing music can have even greater success at reducing anxiety symptoms.

Orange Essential Oil

Sweet, mellow citrus aroma promotes calm & boosts immunity.

Although commonly known as a bright and energetic oil, orange oil can also be incredibly soothing when used during times of high tension. As an essential oil with anxiolytic properties, orange oil aromatherapy can put you in a relaxed and calm state.

According to a study by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, case study participants that inhaled orange oil did not have an increase in anxiety symptoms when introduced to a high-stress and tense situation. This group of participants was significantly calmer than their counterparts who had inhaled another controlled or placebo essential oil.

Orange oil is also a great essential oil for meditation. The essential oil’s combined bright scent and calming effect can create a balanced mood and focused attitude for those who want to practice meditation before bedtime. And although its citrusy scent might be boosting for some, its calming effect makes it one of the most versatile essential oils to help sleep quality.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Deep, woodsy, earthy; popular scents for men; reduces stress.

A great essential oil for sleep and anxiety, sandalwood oil has been known to be quite grounding and calming. Its warm and earthy scent can bring calm and comfort to those who struggle with anxiety. The scent can also help ground people when they are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.

Also, one of the best essential oils to help sleep consistency and quality, sandalwood can help you alleviate and ease any worries before bedtime. This essential oil can also help you meditate and put you in a relaxing mindset before going to sleep. Diffuse, inhale, or topically apply this essential oil to help calm anxiety and improve sleep consistency.

Cedarwood Essential Oil

Clean, woodsy scent; men's favorite; may help with psoriasis & eczema.

Looking for a woodsy oil that is more specialized for sleep? Well then, cedarwood essential oil is what you are looking for! Thanks to it containing a chemical compound called cedrol, cedarwood oil is known as one of the best essential oils for sleep. Practicing cedarwood oil aromatherapy through diffusion or topical application has been proven to have a sedating and relaxing effect on its user. Inhaling a mixture that contains cedarwood, and therefore cedrol, has been proven to improve sleep quality for both young adults and older adults that can struggle with dementia or Alzheimers.

Studies suggest essential oil users inhale or diffuse cedarwood essential oil before bed for at least 20 nights straight to see best results. If done correctly and consistently, cedarwood can help increase total sleep time as well as reduce late-night or early-morning disruptive awakenings.

Recommended reading: Looking for essential oil blends and recipes to help you experience better sleep? Click here for more!

Rose Essential Oil

Uplifting floral aroma; soothes grief and promotes healing.

Sometimes when times are tough, all you want is to feel loved and held. Let the loving and romantic scent of rose essential oil embrace you and release your worries and tension with just a couple drops of this oil. With a gentle floral aroma, rose oil provides users with stress-reducing properties.

Several studies have found that rose essential oil aromatherapy and topical application can help decrease rapid heart rate, breathing rate, blood oxygen saturation, and systolic blood pressure. Coupled with these effects and the oil’s stress-reducing properties, rose essential oil can be quite effective at reducing anxiety symptoms. Studies have found that rose essential oil can be particularly effective in lowering anxiety levels for pregnant women during delivery.

Jasmine Essential Oil

Rich, floral scent; helps reverse fatigue.

Sometimes anxiety brings a friend: depression. And while depression and anxiety are two quite different ailments, it’s not uncommon for their symptoms to overlap. Help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms with a couple drops of Jasmine oil. This stimulating and sensual essential oil has been proven to decrease negative emotions in study participants who inhaled jasmine oil. Their brain activity also showed signs of an increase in overall mood, focus, and cheer.

These stimulating effects of jasmine oil can help redirect anxious energy into more productive and less restless behavior. This redirection can help relieve depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as encourage nights of more peaceful sleep.

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

Floral, sweet; regulates heart health & blood pressure.

Up there with lavender oil, ylang-ylang is one of the best essential oils for sleep. With just a couple drops, ylang-ylang can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. This can reduce feelings of restlessness, stress, or anxiety, and can put you in the perfect mindset for sleep.

The oil also helps the body naturally prepare to shut down and get set up for rest. This essential oil is great for those who are looking to take a mid-day nap or rest, without committing to a full 8-hour sleep. Because while this oil is incredibly calming and relaxing, it does not include any natural sedating effect.

Clary Sage Essential Oil 

Sweet, herbal, floral; improves gastrointestinal health.

Native to the Mediterranean region, clary sage oil is one of the best essential oils for anxiety and stress. Studies have shown that this essential oil can decrease cortisol levels. Having this effect on the commonly known “stress hormone” can help clear your head and get you thinking clearly without overwhelming tension and emotions clouding your judgment.

By relieving stress and anxiety symptoms, a couple drops of clary sage can help you achieve better quality sleep, without being plagued with worry dreams, nightmares, or restlessness. Clary sage essential oil has also been shown to have an anti-depressant-like effect on users, especially women of menopausal age. You can diffuse, inhale, or topically apply this oil for a relaxing effect right before bedtime.

Want to learn more about essential oils for stress? Click here to learn all about aromatherapy for stress relief! 

Want to learn more about essential oils and sleep? Do you feel that you need more information about essential oils for anxiety? Then check out these blog articles here for more information, tips, recipes and more!