Aromatherapy For Sleep

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Aromatherapy is the use of scent to stimulate a psychological or physiological response in participants. These responses can often help with a range of issues, such as depression, anxiety, or pain. Aromatherapy is also commonly employed to help people who have difficulty getting enough sleep or who suffer from insomnia. The scents of certain essential oils can be beneficial for insomniacs or anyone who has difficulty sleeping by causing them to feel more relaxed and reducing feelings of stress.


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Cedarwood oil has been used for a number of medicinal purposes since ancient times. It is an oil that has a woodsy, sweet aroma and is derived from cedar tree bark. Various studies have shown that cedrol, which is an active component in cedarwood oil, acts as a sedative, helps to relieve tension, and increases the production of serotonin. It benefits users of the oil by providing a soothing effect that eases stress and helps people relax. This benefit is important for individuals who have difficulty calming down at the end of the day for a restful night’s sleep. The results from these studies show that it works best when inhaled.


One of the most common essential oils for sleep, which has been used for thousands of years, is lavender oil. It’s a popular remedy for its ability to reduce stress and calm users. In addition, it also helps individuals with mild insomnia and other sleep-related problems. Between 1990 and 2012, more than a dozen scientific studies on the inhalation of essential oils and their effect on sleep were conducted. These tests commonly focused on lavender oil and oil blends. The results of these tests showed that essential oils such as lavender served as a suitable alternative to other, potentially more harmful sleep aids. Other studies, some of which were conducted on mice and others on humans, showed that lavender lowers one’s heart rate and blood pressure, which improves sleep quality and helps sleep come more easily. Additionally, subjects of certain studies had an increase in slow and deep-wave sleep patterns.

Roman Chamomile

Chamomile and its effect on insomnia and other sleeping difficulties has been the subject of numerous studies and clinical trials. In addition, it has long been used by people who suffer from difficulty sleeping. The perennial Roman chamomile essential oil is considered the most effective for helping with sleep issues and may even help with nightmares. It has a sedative effect that helps to relax one’s muscles and works as a natural remedy for insomnia.


Vanilla is a common and popular scent that is often combined with lavender essential oil to help people relax and sleep. It does not, however, depend on lavender to have a relaxing effect on those who smell it. Vanilla is a homey scent that often reminds people of pleasant childhood memories. As a result, people often experience a sense of relaxation and restful sleep when they inhale the scent of vanilla at bedtime. Stress tests have shown that the scent of vanilla helps people who smell it to relax better by steadying one’s heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

How to Use Aromatherapy for Sleep

Having the right scent or essential oil is just the first step when it comes to overcoming issues with sleeplessness. You’ll also need to understand how to best use it for maximum results. This often depends on the specific oil that is being used, but there are a few methods that generally apply. Using diffusers, adding drops of oil on a cotton ball near one’s bed or pillow, or using a spray to mist linens are safe and easy ways to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Certain skin-safe oils, such as lavender essential oil, can be diluted in carrier oils and applied topically and may be used for massages or as perfumes. Drops of oil may also be added to bathwater to provide benefits from both inhalation and topical contact, but keep in mind that a hot bath may interfere with the natural sleep cycle if done too close to bedtime.

Featured image: Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock

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Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.

He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.

Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.

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