The Best Essential Oils For Sleep

About seven years ago, I got interested in essential oils after experiencing my first long bout of insomnia. Since then, a combination of oils, healthy routines, taking better care of myself AND a toddler who wakes me up every morning at 5:45 have taught me the TRUE value of a good night’s sleep.

These are the essential oils I love to use specifically at nighttime, both before bed and while we sleep.

Lavender – “Smells like a field in France.” I love it. Lavender is definitely my most used essential oil from sleep, to day diffusing, to putting it on our laundry balls (we use wool balls as a natural alternative to dryer sheets). Lavender is the ultimate essential oil (if you only buy one, buy this one!) and the most loved oil for diffusing during sleep hours. Studies have proven that lavender improves sleep scores (even more so for women and children), so there’s science behind it, too!

Frankincense – I love to add a drop of frankincense to my lavender oil for sleep. It’s soothing, calming, and is associated with meditation and relaxation. I will say it’s an acquired taste (or scent) for many, but once I grew to love it I became obsessed. I also add one drop of it to my nighttime face oil (soothes and reduces inflammation and some say it’s anti-aging), so I go to sleep to the scent of frankincense almost every night.

Dusk Blend – If you are looking for a one-and-done oil, this is a great sleep blend. This one includes ho wood (has a woody/floral scent and is very calming), frankincense, lavender, and eucalyptus (great for clearing your airways). I use this combined with a drop of Grove (because I just love the scent of Grove—fir, spruce pine and cedarwood. I find woody scents to be very calming) most nights.

Grove Blend I just love this blend because it smells like a Christmas tree farm, which is my favorite scent year round. I combine it with Lavender for sleep.

Ylang Ylang – (pronounced eee-lang eee-lang) This is a great oil for relaxation and sleep, and studies have shown it can help lower blood pressure and stress index. The scent is playful, fun and bright. I diffuse it a lot during the day, but I sometimes use it at night too because it’s one of my husband’s favorite oils. It’s important to personalize your oil selections in this way. There will naturally be some oils you are drawn to and some that you don’t love—my advice is to find more ways to use the ones you are drawn to!

Bergamot – While I try to steer clear from citrus scent at night (more on that below), this citrus tree-derived oil has its own very unique scent—almost woody. Bergamot has amazing calming qualities and adds some depth to your nighttime blend. I absolutely love it! It’s the perfect oil to set a chill mood.

There are no wrong oils to diffuse at night if it’s an oil you love. For me personally, I stay away from citrus and mint scents just because they feel very “daytime” and “awake” to me personally. You do you! I hope this guide is helpful and gives you a great starting point. If you have never diffused oils before, I recommend starting with a night routine oil (start it diffusing as you are getting ready for bed every night). After a month or so you will begin to notice how your brain associates the scent with sleep and just by putting on the oils you can trick your brain into feeling ready to tuck in for the night.

If you have kids, check out Kid-Friendly Diffuser Blends for kid-safe blends. Thanks for reading! Elsie

Credits/Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Kelly. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • I love oils, I use YL oils. Is the mark you are using and mentioning here the same quality? 100% seed to seal garantee? Just wondering. And want to know before adding this mark to my collection.

  • These are great recommendations (my fav is trusty old lavender)! One thing I wanted to mention is that it’s actually not recommended to diffuse oils through the night because it can overwhelm your senses. Instead, diffuse about a half hour before bed. I wrote an article on diffuser safety here: Essential oils are great but they can also be too powerful if used incorrectly!

  • Hi Elsie! I’ve never tried essential oils, but I’m interested and don’t know where to start. Like, I LOVE the smell of lemon and some of the other oils you mentions, but I’m afraid to mess it up. I have a two and four year old, plus I’m still breastfeeding, so I’m really afraid of using anything that could potentially be toxic to them. My sons and I also have really sensitive skin and allergies to perfume. Are there any books you can recommend on essential oils so I can figure out what is safe for us to start trying? Thanks so much!

    • Hi! I learned so much from the book “Just The Essentials” it’s so good! As far as using oils with kids, I would start with diffusing only. You don’t need to use oils on your kids skin when you’re first learning about them, but if you do be sure to combine then with a carrier oil (stuff you have in your pantry like olive oil and avocado oil are just fine). Never put straight essential oils on skin without first diluting them with a carrier oil. And always store them up high where your kids can’t get to them (just like you would nail polish or a cleaning supply). I hope you enjoy the book!!

  • Thank you for not supporting/promoting mlm products (I saw a different comment about it being a personal preference haha and I have that same preference)

    how long do you diffuse it before you go to bed?

    • Hi!
      I put them on before bed as I am getting ready and let it run as I go to sleep. My diffuser turns off automatically after a few hours I think. :))

  • Frankincense is wonderful for pain too. I used it during labor, along with Ylang ylang and it really helped.

  • Hi! Could you talk a little about this brand of essential oils? I haven’t heard of it before and it looks different than what I’ve seen on the blog in the past. Thanks!

    • Hi! Yes, for a few years we were producing and selling our own brand of oils called Oui Fresh. We decided to move away from that type of retail, but we still use and love essential oils so we found the best brand we could that is affordable, has nice packaging and is not an MLM company (personal preference). I started using this brand earlier this spring and have been happy with them so far. They are 100% pure essential oils, like our old oils were. They are actually a bit less expensive too, which is cool. My favorite blend so far is Nightcap, which is what I use in our living space as a candle replacement. In our bedroom I use all the oils listed in this post for sleep. 🙂

  • Thanks Elsie! I miss the Oui Fresh sleep blend soooo much — any chance you could share the “recipe” i.e. what’s the ratio of lavender, cedarwood, frankincense, and vetiver?
    That Dusk blend sounds nice but I avoid eucalyptus because of my pets.

    • Hi! I don’t know the proportions of the blend because the company produces it. However you could try making your own, just start with one drop of each in your diffuser and customize it if you want it heavier on one certain oil. XX!

  • The bergamot one must be amazing!
    xx Elisa | DIY & LIFESTYLE BLOG

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