Best essential oils for sleep to help you drift off peacefully

·6-min read
 (Chelsea Shapour )
(Chelsea Shapour )

We all know we need sleep, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it.

In fact, one in five of us struggle to get to sleep every single night, according to research from Formulate Health.

Getting a good night’s rest is the most restorative thing that we can do for our body and mind, so it’s important to prioritise an effective wind-down routine.

Why is aromatherapy so powerful when it comes to sleep?

Aromatherapy can be a useful tool when it comes to helping you nod off, as wellness coach Francesca Gamble explains. “Essential oils stimulate smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions,” she told us. Getting the right fragrance can make all the difference when it comes to drifting off.

“We are hard-wired to respond to pleasure,” Sarah Cox, therapist and founder of Zephorium explains. “As babies, we associate the pleasure of being nourished with our mother’s scent. Smells become an important part of our life experiences and emotions.”

Which essential oils are best for sleep?


Lavender is the failsafe option for the best essential oils for sleep thanks to its soothing and calming properties. “I always go back to good old lavender. It does the job of relaxing and calming us, easing anxiety,” wellness therapist Aysha Bell reveals.


Heady frankincense has a powerful and relaxing scent. “This beautifully-scented oil is extremely healing,” massage therapist Sarah Jane Watson explains. “It has a comforting and strengthening effect on the mind and is highly beneficial for many stress-related conditions.”


Sweetly-scented neroli will transport you to a tropical spa and has brilliant benefits for drifting off. “Neroli calms and slows the mind,” Sarah adds. “It is extremely helpful for tackling feelings of nervousness, especially when accompanied by butterflies in the stomach or palpitations in the chest.”

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang is a deep and exotic floral scent that’s used to help boost brain function, as well as aid relaxation. “Ylang ylang also aids good sleep,” Aysha confirms. “Helping to calm the nervous system, and this fragrance has been linked to lowering blood pressure, too.”


While bergamot’s zingy scent may smell uplifting, it’s also an effective fragrance when it comes to relaxation. “Bergamot has a real calming effect for body and mind,” Aysha explains.

Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is rich in melatonin, the hormone we produce that helps us drift off at night. This delicate fragrance is uplifting, too, and will help reduce stress and tension.

How to use essential oils as part of your bedtime routine

Build a bedtime routine with essential oils to aid relaxation. “Preparation is key before bed, so begin your winddown routine at least one hour before you intend on being asleep,” Francesca suggests.

Our wellness experts recommend incorporating essential oils into your winddown routine in a number of different ways, including:

  • “Have a relaxing bath with the relaxing oils that you resonate with to set you up for a peaceful night’s sleep,” - Aysha.

  • “Pour a couple of drops of your chosen essential oils onto a tissue, place it on your chest and inhale the oils as you rest,” - Sarah Jane.

  • “When you are ready to sleep, put a couple of drops of Lavender onto your pillow, one on each side and let the aroma start to drift you off to sleep,” - Sarah.

  • “Using an electric diffuser is the safest way to vaporise oils during the night,” - Sarah Jane.

Shop the best essential oils for sleep

Tisserand Frankincense essential oil

Originating from Africa, India, and the Middle East, frankincense has been used for thousands of years as a powerful fragrance for relaxing and healing. Tisserand’s blend is warm and woody, distilled from the resin of the tree and provides a calming atmosphere. This soothing scent is said to calm the nervous system and promote inner wellbeing.

Buy now £13.78, Tisserand

Neom Scent To Sleep essential oil

Neom’s Scent To Sleep fragrance is a delicious blend of English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine that will soothe anxious minds and help you unwind before bed. This scent is one of the most powerful on the list and really fills the room, meaning the oil will last for longer.

Buy now £40.00, lookfantastic

Neal’s Yard Remedies Lavender essential oil

Cited as one of the brand’s bestsellers, this classic fragrance for relaxation is a great place to start when it comes to finding the best essential oils for sleep. This fragrant essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers and leaves of French lavender and has naturally soothing properties. The scent is fresh and natural and really lingers.

Buy now £9.50, Neal’s Yard Remedies

Nikura Ylang Ylang (Complete) essential oil

Called the ‘flower of flowers’, ylang ylang is a powerful floral scent that will help to relax the body and mind. Nikura’s blend is delicate and subtle, so perfect for burning over a long period before bed, perhaps while winding down with a book or some evening yoga.

Buy now £2.29, Amazon

Gya Labs Organic Frankincense essential oil

As we’ve mentioned previously, frankincense is a great choice for better sleep. Frankincense is also fantastic for meditation, as it helps promote inner peace and clarity. This blend from Gya Labs has an earthy, woody scent that’s very grounding.

Buy now £12.99, Amazon

Nikura Sweet Dreams Essential Oil Blend

Blended with four essential oils to help you sleep better and for longer, this heady mix contains lavender, cedarwood, ylang ylang and lemon verbena is the perfect combination to help you nod off. The scent isn’t too overpowering, while having powerful properties, fragrancing the room with a delicate aroma.

Buy now £4.45, Amazon

Amphora Aromatics Lemon Verbena essential oil

A gloriously uplifting fragrance that fills the room with sweet citrus notes. As lemon verbena is rich in melatonin, this oil is a powerful tool when it comes to aiding sleep and will help you drift off naturally. Citrus scents are also a great mood booster, making this a real feel good oil.

Buy now £5.00, Amazon

Garden of Life Sleep essential oil

This essential oil blend has lavender as the prominent ingredient (and fragrance!) but is a blend of three oils that work in harmony to aid a restful night’s slumber; lavender, ylang ylang and chamomile. If you’re a fan of the lavender scent, this oil is a good option with some added benefits for sleep.

Buy now £34.99, Garden of Life

Nature’s Truth Pure Sleep essential oil

This essential oil offers a powerful fragrance that fills the room with a sweet and citrusy aroma. A plant-based blend of lavender, tangerine, bergamot, cypress, geranium, frankincense and chamomile, this fragrance is more floral than others on the list, but still does the job of creating a calming atmosphere with its sleep-inducing mix of botanicals.

Buy now £8.99, Nature’s Truth

I Love Wellness Sleep essential oil

The base of this oil is a mix of lavender and chamomile, blended together to help you unwind and drift off peacefully. This is a powerful essential oil at one of the lower price points on the list, and we also love the attractive packaging.

Buy now £7.99, Holland & Barrett

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