Aromatic essential oils have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments. Though solid research on their effectiveness is limited, and we would never recommend aromatherapy in place of doctor-approved remedies for a serious medical concern, anecdotal evidence abounds. Many people swear that particular scents make it easier for them to relax, focus, lessen pain, and so on. The following five scents are reputed to promote relaxation and help put you to sleep. Try putting a few drops of essential oil on your pillow or aromatizing your room with an oil diffuser.
Please note that if you’re pregnant, have asthma, or suffer from severe allergies, you should consult your healthcare professional before trying aromatherapy.
Perhaps the best-researched of all essential oils, lavender has been shown to help alleviate stress, restlessness, and anxiety, improve sleep quality and duration, lower blood pressure, and even help relieve pain. Many ancient cultures, including the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, used lavender in cosmetics, medicines, and even cooking. It was also a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who reportedly drank lavender tea to help alleviate her migraines.
This sweet-smelling flower is a favourite in many cultures for its use as an aphrodisiac, but it also has a reputation for helping reduce anxiety and promote sleep. One study found that people exposed to the smell of jasmine during sleep slept better and felt more alert the following day.
This citrusy, floral oil is what puts the scent in your cup of Earl Grey tea. One study showed that it helps reduce anxiety-related behaviour in rats, and another showed that topically applied bergamot helps reduce anxiety and blood pressure in humans.
Clary sage smells nothing like the sage you use in your cooking, since it’s an entirely different plant. It’s woody, earthy, nutty, and like all the other oils on this list, considered helpful in promoting relaxation.
Especially popular in Europe, Valerian is sometimes used as an internal remedy for reducing anxiety and inducing sleep. Its strong, pungent scent is a little more controversial than the other oils on this list. Try blending it with another oil for aromatherapy purposes.