Aromatherapy for Sleep

by Amelia Brooks
February 9, 2023

Your bedroom is your sleep sanctuary. Everything from the way it looks to the way it feels plays a role in getting a great night’s sleep. And if you haven’t already, you can add the way it smells to that list, too.

Essential oils can help improve sleep when used correctly. They’re all-natural and contain many unique compounds that promote a calming effect on the mind and body. When their vapours fill the air, take a deep breath and enjoy all of the soothing benefits as you drift off to dreamland.

Here’s how you can use aromatherapy for sleep starting tonight!

How Scents Affect the Mind & Body

Aromatherapy is part of a full sensory experience. Smells are directly linked to our memories and emotions, which is why essential oil can be so powerful in helping us feel calm, relaxed, and ready for dreaming.

Science tells us that scent is processed through the olfactory bulb—the part of the brain that sends information to other parts of the brain. To reach these other areas, smells have to pass through the hippocampus and amygdala, which process emotions and memories.

We associate scents with specific events in our lives. For instance, when you smell a plate of freshly baked cookies, your mind might travel back to holidays as a child, where plates of cookies were a dessert staple.

Since your emotions and the way you feel at any given time can affect your ability to sleep, certain scents can bring you into a sleepy state and may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

The Scientific Benefits of Essential Oils for Sleep

Essential oils have the above effect on our bodies and minds. They trigger receptors in your brain, and, in turn, your body releases endorphins, serotonin, or even adrenalin, depending on the scent.

That’s why some essential oils are perfect for helping you get a great night’s sleep. They’ve been well studied in their abilities to release serotonin in the brain and help you relax, preparing you for bedtime.

In fact, one scientific study found that lavender essential oil has a positive effect on the sleep quality of participants who experienced mild sleep disturbances. It’s also been found that lavender aromas help to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, all of which can also put the mind and body at ease.

Essential Oils That Help You Sleep

Lavender has been the most researched essential oil for sleep, but there are many others that have also shown great promise in helping you sleep better. Here are some of our favourites and why we love them:

Chamomile Oil

The subtle floral scent of chamomile oil has a calming effect on the mind. It’s widely thought to reduce feelings of anxiety, and studies have shown that it helps users fall asleep.

And if you don’t have any chamomile oil on hand, a steaming cup of chamomile tea may have similar effects on sleep.

Ylang Ylang

Another floral aroma, ylang ylang, produces a number of effects on the body. It reduces blood pressure, decreases heart rate, and lowers feelings of depression and anxiety—all things that can keep us awake at night if left alone.


The deep, woodsy scent of sandalwood is strong enough to command attention but not overpowering. Sandalwood has long been used to improve mood and help you balance your emotions. When you feel less stressed, sleep is easier to come by.


Jasmine oil is frequently used as a natural sedative. It helps to lift your mood and leave you feeling calm and positive. It also helps you keep negative emotions at bay, such as anxiety, depression, and general stress, allowing your body to release tension and feel more balanced.

Clary Sage

Clary sage boasts a number of health benefits, from pain relief to depression relief. This flowering herb has also shown promise in improving sleep quality, helping reduce cortisol levels.

How to Use Aromatherapy for Sleep

No matter which essential oil you choose, you can start on the path to a great night’s sleep by adding a few drops of your favourite oil to a diffuser or rolling it directly onto your skin.

For topical use, you can purchase pre-made essential oil rollers or make your own at home. Dilute the oil with a carrier, such as olive oil or coconut oil, then apply to the wrists and behind the ears for a little aromatherapy throughout the night.

To fill the entire room, just fill the diffuser with water, then include a few drops of your essential oil. Feel free to experiment with different blends, as essential oils can mix together to form unique aromas that tingle your senses. Also, be careful to only include a few drops, as essential oils are highly concentrated—a little goes a long way!

However you choose to enjoy your essential oils, take a few moments to inhale the rich aromas before bed. Then, snuggle softly into your bed and enjoy a night of sleep like no other.