The Best Essential Oils for Sleep, According to Science



So you're having trouble sleeping. Join the club. Approximately one-third of adults complain of insomnia… but not all of us want to have to go on Ambien or some other pharmaceutical in order to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested. (So simple, so elusive.)

Essential oils can totally help—and not in a hippie-dippy pseudoscience way. In an actual scientific way. After all, there's a reason people have been using them for centuries to help with everything from sleep quality to immunity—and now we actually have studies to back up their efficacy. "Essential oils are among the oldest medicines practiced by humans," comments Sarah Horowitz, master perfumer at Skylar, a brand of luxury all-natural perfumes. "They have shown to improve quality of sleep, reduce anxiety, assist in alleviating depression, and relaxing the nervous system as well as pain."

The following 11 essential oils are empirically proven to improve sleep. As for how to use them, there are lots of ways (diffusers, pillow sprays, etc.), but this is Horowitz's favorite method: "I recommend closing your eyes, and inhale the specific essential oil for what you are working on—in this case, sleep/relaxation—and repeat your affirmation. As you breathe deeply, your mind will create a memory around this and connect this scent with this affirmation. So if you are working on relaxing, you can close your eyes, inhale the lavender, and say 'I am relaxed.' Repeat this exercise—the deep breathing, the soothing scent, and the repeated mantra all combine to soothe the mind as well as the body."

But lavender is not the only essential oil that can help with sleep. Keep scrolling for a comprehensive list of zzz-inducing essential oils.