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How essential oils help with snoring and sleep problems

sleep apnea syndromes

diseases conditions and symptoms

Essential oils are natural oils obtained from plants, usually by mechanical methods or steam distillation of parts of the plant. Various essential oils have been used as medical means since ancient times. Aromatherapy involves inhaling flavors of essential oils or their vapors, which provides positive health effects. Research has shown that because smell affects sleep, using some essential oils in your bedtime routine can help improve sleep or cope with snoring, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

Can essential oils reduce snoring?

Essential oils have been used for millennia to treat various diseases. [ref.1] They are made by extracting natural chemicals from certain plants. These chemicals give plants their smells and tastes, so extracting them is like capturing the essence of the plant. Real essential oils are extracted naturally, by steaming or crushing different parts of the plant. Essential oils are often made from bark of trees, roots, flowers, leaves and herbs.

In aromatherapy, for example, essential oils are usually inhaled or diluted and applied to the skin. They are not intended for internal use. Clinical trials have shown that essential oils can reduce nausea and anxiety in people with cancer. Other studies point out to the antibacterial effects of some locally applied essential oils.

Although there is currently insufficient evidence to support these statements, many people reported the positive effect of essential oils in some common problems, one of which is snoring.

According to statistics, nearly half of adults snore, and over 25 percent are habitually snoring. Problematic snoring and sleep disorders are more common in men and overweight people and usually get worse with age. Snoring is definitely unpleasant for others, but it can also be a sign of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. This condition occurs in about three percent of the total population.

How essential oils can help with snoring and sleep apnea

Thymus vulgaris

According to experts in the field of aromatherapy massage, rubbing a little oil of aromatic thyme on the legs at night can reduce snoring. [ref.2]

Mint (Mentha)

Mint oil has a purifying effect, helping to clear the sinuses and making breathing easier. Inhalation of mint oil can also help to cleanse the secretions that the respiratory system can hold. [ref.3]


Early research has shown that eucalyptus can help break down mucus in the respiratory system, including in the sinuses and at the back of the throat. [ref.4] People use eucalyptus oil to relieve symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, and it also has antibacterial action. [ref.5]

Cedar Wood (Cedrus)

Cedar tree has a pleasant woody smell, which can help reduce anxiety and relax muscles. This can help you get into a state of relaxation and wellness to prepare the body for sleep. [ref.6]

Lemon (Citrus limon)

 The fresh citrus aroma of lemon oil is a natural remedy for improving your mood. Lemon oil can also help by reducing anxiety and promoting the sense of relaxation that is needed for a good night sleep. [ref.7]

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Cloves is an herb and spice with various medical applications. Clove oil is used to make it easier to separate sputum from the body. It can also help break down sputum that moves to the back of the throat during sleep. [ref.8] S. aromaticum is rich in many phytochemicals, such as sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, hydrocarbons and phenolic compounds. Evgenil acetate, eugenol and β-caryophylene are the most significant phytochemicals in clove oil. 

Pharmacologically, S. aromaticum has been studied against various pathogenic parasites and microorganisms, including pathogenic bacteria, plasmodies, parasites Theileria, herpes simplex and hepatitis C viruses. Several reports document the analgesic, antioxidant, anticancer, antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial activity of the eugenol. [ref.9]

Pine (Pinus)

Essential oil obtained from pine needles has both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Aromatherapy experts also use it for massage and relaxation of tense muscles and inflamed joints. Massage therapy with pine oil can be an effective tool for dealing with insomnia.

Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Dill can provide anti-inflammatory properties. Some people use it to reduce inflammation in the nose and throat and improve the flow of air through the nasal passages. This relief can contribute to easier sleep. [ref.10]

Salvia officinalis

Sage oils have long been used and appreciated for their healing potential. [ref.11] Sage oil can be effective against respiratory infections, such as the common cold. It can also help improve blood circulation and hot flushes in postmenopausal women. [ref.12]

Citronella (Cymbopogon Winterianus)

Citronella oil has detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties that can help better cleanse the body of toxins that disrupt hormonal balance and normal sleep cycle.  [ref.13]

Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavender is the most commonly used oil to treat insomnia. This oil promotes relaxation and can cause the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. In addition, lavender oil acts as an antidepressant. [ref.14]

Mayorana (Marjoram)

Majorana has expectorant effects that can help break down some of the mucus that prevents breathing at night. [ref.15] This  plant also has anti-inflammatory properties due to its active ingredients as well as antioxidant action. [ref.16]

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian root has proven sedative effects, which is why it is often present in natural formulas to support sleep. [ref.17] Valerian oil can help you enjoy a restful night's sleep, as well as the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action of the oil. [ref.18]

How to use essential oils to cope with snoring or sleep apnea

There are several ways to use essential oils in sleep disorders:

  • Air diffusion and inhalation
  • Add diluted oil to a hot tub
  • Add a few drops of oil to a glass of water
  • Add essential oil to base oil such as coconut and directly rub it into the skin
  • Add a few drops of diluted essential oil and directly rub it in the feet
  1. Can essential oils reduce snoring?

    • How essential oils can help with snoring and sleep apnea
      • Thymus vulgaris
      • Mint (Mentha)
      • Eucalyptus
      • Cedar Wood (Cedrus)
      • Lemon (Citrus limon)
      • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
      • Pine (Pinus)
      • Dill (Anethum graveolens)
      • Salvia officinalis
      • Citronella (Cymbopogon Winterianus)
      • Lavender (Lavandula)
      • Mayorana (Marjoram)
      • Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis)

    • How to use essential oils to cope with snoring or sleep apnea


    Sleep problems can be due to excessive stress, anxiety and many other factors. Some natural essential oils can help to relieve this stress, prepare your body for a state of relaxation and good night sleep. These include valerian oil, lavender, sage and clove, as well as other less well-known such as majorana, citronella and cedar wood.

    The author

    Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 


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