Essential oils have been popping up everywhere, from spas to doctor’s offices, with users claiming their
effectiveness for a range of uses, from stress reduction to a better complexion.
But do essential oils work for sleep?
Aromatherapy, like meditation, has been used for thousands of years for its purported healing potential. Traditionally, practitioners use essential oils, which are plant extracts that encapsulate certain plant compounds, known as terpenes.
Terpenes give many plants and some insects their distinct scent. When ingested, inhaled, or applied topically, certain terpenes may provide the same protective, preventative, or otherwise wellness-enhancing benefits to humans.
There are tens of thousands of terpenes found in nature, each with distinct properties. The most common essential oil used for sleep is lavender, with its predominant terpene being linalool.
Research indicates putting lavender into an essential oils diffuser, or putting a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, may help you relax and sleep deeper.
Besides lavender, other oils recommended by the American Sleep Association include using at night include bergamot, chamomile, valerian, clary sage, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, jasmine, frankincense, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
You can ingest some of these plants, including valerian, peppermint, jasmine, and chamomile, in the form of teas, tinctures, or capsules. Or, as with lavender, put them in an aromatherapy diffuser or on your pillow before bed.
But before you get your hopes up about aromatherapy as a simple solution for sleep troubles, consider the lack of definitive data. While numerous studies demonstrate the positive effect of lavender on sleep, there’s less evidence supporting the use of other various essential oil types.