The 5 Best Essential Oils for Nightmares and Night Terrors

We’ve all experienced nightmares at one time or another. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of pure terror as you wake up in a sweat from a terrible dream.

Although nightmares are usually a rare occurrence that can be quickly forgotten, for some of us, nightmares are a regular occurence. They can disrupt sleep, cause anxiety and affect mental capacity during the day. 

Although there’s no ‘cure’ for nightmares, there are some essential oils that have been shown to help improve sleep and reduce anxiety, which may in turn reduce occurence of nightmares.

Best essential oils for nightmares.

How Can Essential Oils Help With Nightmares?

It has been found that essential oils can calm and soothe your nervous system. They are not only useful in improving our health but they can have a profound effect on our stress levels and the way in which we sleep. Essential oils are a proven method in order to treat nightmares in a natural way. In this article you will find a list of essential oils that will help with nightmares and night terrors.

Different combinations of essentials oils can be calming, relaxing and help with restful sleep. By helping get you into a calm and relaxed state before falling asleep, certain essential oils might help reduce the occurence of nightmares.

Best Essential Oils For Stopping Nightmares and Night Terrors


Lavender Essential Oil

Long known for its sleep inducing properties, lavender can manage insomnia and help to calm your nerves. In addition, lavender can provide a troubled sleeper with a restful night and a relaxed mind when applied before bed or used in diffuser in the evening.

Using drops behind the ears or in a roller bottle with other oils are other ways of using this versatile oil.

Lavender essential oil can help prevent nightmares.

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile is often used for the digestion and you will have probably heard of chamomile tea. But the essential oil can also be used effectively to treat sleep problems. It can help to relax body and mind and in turn help with sleep disorders like night terrors or sleep walking.

Roman Chamomile can help with night tremors

Mandarin Essential Oil

This essential oil has a mild scent and a soothing, relaxing effect upon the body and mind. By taking this oil you will be able to rest more peacefully and have nice dreams as opposed to terrors. Diffusing the oil before bed can help to create a relaxing environment, that will allow you to rest peacefully: add 5 drops of mandarin oil to your diffuser and use it for 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime.

Mandarin essential oil benefits.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

This one comes from trees and has an earthy scent. This essential oil will target your nervous system. Relaxing it and helping you to relax in return. It is quite a powerful oil and can help you to find some peace and tranquility.


Rose Essential Oil

This oil can be used independently, or alternatively it can be blended with other essential oils. Either or but whichever it is, the rose essential oil can help you slip into a peaceful and sound sleep. Applying to the soles of your feet is the best idea as they are the most permeable part of your body.

Rose essential oil.

Essential Oil Recipes to Prevent Nightmares

Sometimes it takes a more potent mixture of several beneficial oils to do the trick. Here are a couple of nightmare-busting essential oil recipes you can easily make at home and use before bed.

Relaxing Aroma Recipe

  • 1 drop of Chamomile Essential Oil

  • 1 drop of Rose Essential Oil

  • 4 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

  • 1 drop of Sandalwood

Blend the oils together and use in your diffuser. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can drop 2-3 drops on your palm and inhale the aroma deeply before sleeping.

Aroma therapy has many benefits including helping fight against nightmares.

Calming Bath Recipe

  • 125ml of carrier oil (jojoba, coconut or any other you find convenient)

  • 30 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil

  • 12 drops of Lavender Oil

  • 2 drops of Cedarwood Oil

  • 2 drops of Mandarin essential oil

Mix the oils together in a bottle. Put 3-4 drops in your bath water  just before bedtime to help you relax and unwind before sleeping. Store the essential oil mix in a dark place away from direct sunlight.


What are Nightmares and What Causes Them?

Have you ever dreamt you’re running away from danger but just can’t run fast enough? How about being lost in the woods with no way out? Whatever the specifics, a nightmares are elaborate dreams that evoke fear and terror.

Night terrors are a whole other ball game. With night terrors, you usually don’t wake up but rather you live the nightmare and will often remember the events the next day, or at least of being scared the previous night. Although this is not a foregone conclusion. It is usually others that have to deal with the unpleasantness of someone having a night terror, whether it is the parent of a child or the terrified partner who was sleeping next to you unaware.

Night terrors usually occur in children between 4 and 12, but they are not exclusive to children. Some adults will experience night terrors for their whole life. Night terrors often involve the person to start screaming, moving erratically and ‘seeing’ things that aren’t there.  

They occur during the non-REM stage of sleeping, specifically during deep or slow wave sleep. This itself is often after an hour of so of falling asleep.

But what causes these night-time frights?

Dreams in general occur during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. It usually occurs in the latter part of the night, and the sleeper is likely to remember the dream.

During REM sleep your brain waves are similar to the activity they experience when you are awake. Therefore your brain is consuming the same amount of energy while you are awake, if not a little more.

During this sleep your eyes move rapidly, hence the name Rapid Eye Movement (REM). however during this time your muscles remain in a state of paralysis. During this REM sleep your brain continues to send commands to your body which allows you to move around in your dream state. Because your brain is doing this it is actually a good idea that your libs are in a state of paralysis.

Nightmares can be a normal reaction to stress. And some scientists believe they may help us work through past trauma.

But these theories are just that, theory. The truth is, scientists are still unsure why we dream and what dreaming is for.

Possible causes:

  • Anxiety or stress

  • Fever

  • Grief or bereavement

  • Adverse reaction to medication

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Sleep disorders (such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea)

  • Eating just before bedtime

Other Things To Try

As well as using essential oils to help you sleep soundly, the other things you can do too to maximise your chances of a restful night without nightmares.

White Noise

Fascinatingly your brain can incorporate everyday stimuli into the your dreams and nightmares. Something that can induce fear or panic in the real world can often be applied by our brains in our unconscious sleep state. People susceptible to them in real life often experience night terrors.

This can be the same for positive stimuli as well.white noise can actually bring pleasant memories to a person. Examples of white noise are the sounds of the ocean, raindrops or the chirping of crickets.

These noises are able to evoke a state of mind productive for sleeping peacefully.

Image Reversal Therapy

Image Rehearsal Therapy is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that involves recalling the nightmare and then writing out a new, more positive version and then playing out the new version of the nightmare. It is a well researched therapy and is proven to be able to help sufferers of sleep issues and  is a treatment recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for chronic idiopathic nightmares and PTSD-related nightmares.

Cut The Stress

People have a habit of doing things that can induce terrors prior to sleeping. This can be things such as watching a scary film or tv program before bed. This stimuli can cause a lot of people to experience nightmares or terrors. Some people are ignorant or unaware to this stimuli and as such do not realise the harmful effect that they cause on your sleeping patterns.  

The saying the greatest enemy a person can meet is his or herself. Well this is self evident. Our brain can often magnify a lot of what we can see. This exaggeration is often taken into our sleep state.

If you have come into contact with scary media in any form, it can be productive to imagine a serene and calm environment before closing your eyes to sleep. In doing so you can stop your brain from focussing on the negative, scary information it has just processed.

Seek Help If Needed

If you’ve tried everything but can’t shake your nightly terrors, it might be a good idea to seek professional help. A professional sleep therapist will be able to help you get to the root of your sleep disturbances and help you implement strategies that will help you get a good night’s sleep.

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