9 Essential Oils for Sleep & Anxiety (+ 6 Recipes for Roller Bottles & Diffusers)

9 essential oils for sleep and anxiety

If you’re suffering from anxiety or sleep problems, I have two things to tell you. First, I’ve been there, too. Second, you’re not alone. 

According to the ADAA, anxiety disorders impact almost 20% of the American population every year! And that’s before a worldwide pandemic hit. 

The good news is that anxiety and sleep problems can get better, and one of my favorite ways to help are these essential oils for sleep and anxiety. 

In this post, we’re asking (and answering!): 

Need quick help? You can also jump straight to our sleep and anxiety feelings chart to get the exact oil you need.

Or, go straight to these recipes:

First, I’ll share some of the top essential oils for sleep and anxiety.

Then, I’ll share a super helpful chart with the most common sleep and anxiety symptoms and pair them with oils.

Finally, I’ll give you all the details you need for blending, using, and making your own sleep and anxiety blends.

Let’s get started!

But first, the question everybody has: 

Do Essential Oils for Sleep Really Work? 

Yes. There’s actually a great deal of academic literature that establishes the scientific validity of using essential oils to help with sleep.

The key is consistency.

You’ll see the best results when you commit to using your essential oils for several weeks or (better) months. 

The 9 Best Essential Oils for Sleep & Anxiety  

Essential oils are incredible; many of them have been extensively studied and their use validated by the scientific community.

I find essential oils incredibly empowering.

Health care can be very expensive, but essential oils are a proven, completely non-toxic way to take charge of my health and make wellness fun and enjoyable. 

top 9 essential oils for sleep and anxiety

Here are my favorite essential oils for sleep and anxiety: 

1. Lavender Essential Oil 

Lavender is the OG of essential oils and one of the most rigorously studied and documented oils. It has antibacterial properties and has been proven to help with both sleep and anxiety. 

Lavender is great because it has so many applications and pairs so well with other oils.

Plus, it’s typically pretty easy to get your hands on lavender, most people like it, and it’s very gentle.

When in doubt, reach for lavender! 

But. There are lots of other options for sleep and anxiety!  

2. Bergamot Essential Oil 

Bergamot essential oil comes from a citrus plant and has a fruity-but-earthy smell.

It’s another oil that pairs well with others, though some people don’t care for the smell (I love it!). 

Bergamot can reduce both feelings of anxiety and fatigue and help relieve mood disorders like anxiety thanks to its ability to release dopamine and serotonin in your brain.

It also contains compounds that help relieve pain and inflammation when applied topically. 

3. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 

Ylang ylang essential oil has an exotic name but you’ve actually probably already smelled it–it’s a base note in Chanel No. 5 and other popular perfumes! Ylang ylang is something of a powerhouse oil. 

I write more about it here, but it’s been shown to have significant anti-anxiety abilities.

Scientists even know why: ylang ylang directly impacts your brain (specifically, the hippocampus), in a way that’s similar to anxiety medication. 

Just inhaling ylang ylang essential oil can calm everything from pulse rate to breathing rate to blood pressure.   

4. Chamomile Essential Oil 

It absolutely makes sense that the essential oils that help with sleep also almost always help with anxiety; sleep and anxiety are closely linked! 

Chamomile is another great oil that you’re probably familiar with, and it’s a good choice because it’s so incredibly gentle.

It’s traditionally used for babies and small children because of how gentle it is, but it’s also great if you want to be extra nourishing to yourself. 

Like lavender, chamomile has been studied quite a bit.

It’s been found to reduce generalized anxiety and improve morning cortisol levels, something that’s been tied to depression and anxiety. 

It’s also been shown to relieve pain from osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. And finally, it’s been shown to have a significant impact on sleep! 

5. Neroli Essential Oil 

Neroli essential oil is a valuable essential oil for sleep and anxiety for a few reasons. First, it relieves anxiety directly. 

Second, it addresses many of the symptoms that keep people from sleeping well, including menopausal symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and depression.

Interestingly enough, neroli is similar to bergamot in that it comes from a citrus plant (the bitter orange plant). 

6. Cedarwood Essential Oil 

Cedarwood, like other pine and evergreen oils, is known for its sedative effect. It’s also a mood-booster, helping to reduce stress and thereby relieve anxiety. 

I should pause here to point out, too, that an essential oil doesn’t necessarily have to be backed by studies to “work.”

If it brings you joy and happiness every time you smell it, it’s helping to relieve your anxiety and stress. 

And if your brain begins to associate the smell with sleep, your brain will begin to calm and power down when you smell it! 

7. Valerian Essential Oil 

The two oils that have been used since the beginning of time (or at least, since ancient times 😉 to help with sleep are chamomile and valerian. 

Valerian is an herb that promotes sleep, calms the nerves, and provides a sedative effect.

It’s extremely grounding and unlike sleep aids like melatonin, it can be used throughout the day to help with anxiety. 

8. Vetiver Essential Oil 

Vetiver is more earthy and “grassy” than oils like lavender, bergamot, and ylang ylang, but its aroma is still faintly sweet.

One study found that vetiver aromatherapy may be as effective as taking anti-anxiety medication. 

9. Clary Sage Essential Oil 

It’s no secret that anxiety and sleep problems tend to plague women.

That makes an essential oil like clary sage a natural go-to.

Clary sage is known for its ability to help with “female problems.”

It does this by helping to control cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol levels that are too high or too low can cause huge anxiety problems and sleep disorders. 

The Chart: Essential Oils for Sleep and Anxiety by Feeling (Bookmark This!)  

top essential oils for sleep and anxiety chart

Are you overwhelmed by all the great essential oils choices for sleep and anxiety? I get it! 

So, here are some of the most common symptoms and types of anxiety and sleep problems, along with my recommended essential oil for each. 

Struggling With…Try…
Insomnia Valerian or chamomile 
General anxiety Cedarwood or valerian 
Vague fear & worry Vetiver or lavender 
RestlessnessChamomile or vetiver 
Bad dreams Ylang ylang, bergamot, or lavender 
Difficulty focusing Neroli or bergamot 
My child is struggling with sleep or anxiety Chamomile or lavender 
Stress from work or school Valerian or clary sage 
Parenting overwhelm Chamomile or cedarwood  
Pain from inflammation or illness Chamomile or ylang ylang 
Relational or communication troubles Lavender or vetiver 
Anxiety or insomnia related to trauma Neroli, cedarwood, or vetiver 
Racing thoughts Ylang ylang or bergamot 
Hormonal stress or insomnia Clary sage or neroli 
Emotional upheaval Clary sage or lavender 
Constant overwhelm or sadness Ylang ylang or clary sage 

Which Essential Oil Helps You Sleep? 

5 best essential oils for sleep

If you need help with sleep, go with: 

  • Lavender 
  • Chamomile 
  • Valerian 
  • Ylang ylang 
  • Vetiver 

What are the Best Essential Oils for Sleep and Relaxation? 

6 best essential oils for sleep and relaxation

For better, deeper sleep and a greater sense of relaxation, try: 

  • Ylang ylang 
  • Neroli 
  • Lavender 
  • Bergamot 
  • Cedarwood 
  • Vetiver 

What is the Best Essential Oil for Anxiety? 

5 best essential oils for anxiety

To help with anxiety, try one of these essential oils: 

  • Valerian
  • Ylang ylang 
  • Lavender 
  • Clary sage 
  • Cedarwood 

What Essential Oils Can I Mix for Sleep?

Lavender, bergamot, and ylang ylang blend really well. They’re a gentle, slightly citrusy scent with a floral background (you can omit the ylang ylang if you can’t find it). All three are powerful sleep aids, and most people find the combination of scents pleasing. Lavender, cedarwood, and frankincense make a darker, muskier combination. but are an equally powerful blend of oils. Frankincense too expensive? Swap it out for vetiver or leave it out alltogether for a pleasing, woodsy aroma (and, either way, a terrific night’s sleep).

How Do You Blend Essential Oils for Anxiety?

Use ylang ylang and vetiver for racing thoughts, valerian and clary sage for stress at work or school, chamomile and cedarwood for parenting overwhelm, lavender and vetiver for communication stress, neroli, cedarwood, and vetiver for trauma-related anxiety, and ylang ylang and clary sage for constant overwhelm or sadness. You can see our feelings chart for more combinations to try.

How Do You Use Essential Oils for Sleep and Anxiety? 

There are lots of different ways to use essential oils for sleep and anxiety. Here are a few: 

1. Apply Oils Directly to Your Skin  

Some oils, like lavender and chamomile, are gentle enough to apply neat, straight to your skin, no dilution necessary. Most people prefer to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil. 

Obviously, it’s messy to do this several times a day, which is why people love making up essential oil roller bottles to have on hand when you need them. 

Here is a handy dilution chart, plus a video to show you exactly how to make up your own essential oil rollers! 

essential oil dilution chart

Where Do You Apply Oils? 

You can roll on essential oils to pressure points like the inside of your wrists or underneath your ears. You can also roll them onto the bottom of your feet (this is perfect just before bed), at the base of your spin, or the base of your neck. You could even roll your oils across your chest, over your heart. 

How Often Do You Apply Oils? 

Consistency is key with essential oils–just like with medication, essential oils take a few weeks or months to truly begin working. That doesn’t mean you won’t see results right away! 

If you’re dealing with anxiety or pain or high stress levels, you should apply oils several times a day, and then again before bed. You can use a combination of different oils, or just one oil throughout the day. 

2. Diffuse Oils 

You can actually use a combination of methods–you might, for example, diffuse oils in your office while you work all day, and then roll them on at night just before bed. You can use a diffuser or you can use diffusing jewelry, like these bracelets.  

How Can I Get the Most Out of My Essential Oils? 

We love pairing crystals and essential oils for an extra boost of wellness and joy. You can learn more about our favorite crystals for stress and anxiety here, and learn more about pairing oils and crystals here

6 Essential Oil Recipes for Sleep & Anxiety (Roller Recipes & Diffuser Recipes) 

These recipes came from my post on 21 Favorite Deep Sleep Diffuser Blends, which you can check out if you want even more options! Want our top 5 all-time favorite essential oil recipes? Grab them here

We’ve also created some done-for-you crystals + essential oil roller bottles here (there are options for stress & anxiety, calm, and tension!). 

Healing Crystals Chart - Free Download
good night essential oil recipe for sleep and anxiety

Good Night Recipe for Sleep and Anxiety

Classic combo for sleep and anxiety that you can use all day (and night!). 

Diffuser blend (300ml diffuser): 

  • 4 drops lavender
  • 3 drops bergamot
  • 1 drop ylang ylang

Roller bottle blend (10ml):

  • 8 drops lavender 
  • 6 drops bergamot 
  • 2 drops ylang ylang 
soothing slumber essential oil recipe for sleep and anxiety

Soothing Slumber Recipe for Sleep and Anxiety

A deeper, more grounding combo than our Good Night recipe. 

Diffuser blend (300ml diffuser):

  • 4 drops lavender 
  • 3 drops cedarwood
  • 2 drops frankincense 

Roller bottle blend (10ml):

  • 8 drops lavender 
  • 6 drops cedarwood
  • 4 drops frankincense 
sweet winter dreams essential oil recipe for sleep and anxiety

Sweet Winter Dreams Recipe for Sleep and Anxiety

But you don’t have to wait til winter! 

Diffuser blend (300ml diffuser):

  • 4 drops lavender 
  • 2 drops cedarwood 
  • 2 drops vetiver 

Roller bottle blend (10ml): 

  • 8 drops lavender 
  • 4 drops cedarwood 
  • 4 drops vetiver
Crystals + Essential Oils Guide - Free Download

I'm Haylee!

Haylee is the CEO of Whimsy + Wellness and the brains behind the business. She has her hand in every area of the company…from product creation to supply chain solution to online marketing. When she’s not looking at spreadsheets she’s mom to Mason, Posey, and Golden. Her kids inspire her to run a company that values community over competition and people before profit.

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