Evidence is Building that Lavender is the Key to a Good Night’s Sleep

Evidence is Building that Lavender Holds the Key to a Good Night's Sleep

New research from Puressentiel has highlighted the important role of natural plant compounds, particularly lavender oil, in helping us to get a better night’s rest. The study showed significant improvements in the depth and duration of Sleep, reduced sleep disturbance and higher scores for sleep wellness after exposure to lavender.

The real-world research poll[1] from Puressentiel – the brains behind a range of 100% natural, evidence-backed essential oil solutions for everyday health and wellness – reveals a tsunami of sleep issues, with nine out of ten (93%) adults reporting interrupted Sleep, trouble getting to sleep or waking up too early. Almost half (48%) said this is “often” a problem.

More than half in the survey blamed their sleeping problems on stress (50%), anxiety (48%) and being unable to switch off (48%) – far more than mentioning nighttime phone use (20%) or watching TV in bed (10%).

Jason Ellis, Professor of Sleep Science at the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research and an advisor to Puressentiel, says, “Sleep is the foundation of good health. If the body and mind don’t get enough good quality rest, all sorts of physiological systems start to malfunction.

“In the short term, this manifests as tiredness, poor concentration, and a desire for sugary and calorific foods. In the longer term, it will lead to serious metabolic issues, which increase the risk of a host of life-limiting or life-threatening health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and bowel cancer.[2]

Women are more prone to sleep issues than men, with 52% responding to the Puressentiel poll saying they “often” sleep badly compared to 43% of men. Problems peak in the 45 to 59-years demographic, which includes women in the early years of menopause – a common time for the development of sleep complaints.

Nod off naturally with lavender
Lavender essential oils have been used since the 15th century when steam distillation first came to prominence. It is also acknowledged as a sleep aid and relaxant by the European Medicines Agency[3] and the World Health Organisation.[4]

Multiple studies show lavender improves the quality and duration of sleep[5], and last year researchers found an ingenious way to put this to the test in a blinded trial, which showed this is not a placebo reaction based on the expectation that lavender will improve Sleep.

Over two nights, they monitored volunteers’ brain activity as they slept and then asked them to score their Sleep the next day. Once they had fallen asleep, half of the volunteers were exposed to lavender oil.

A bottle of lavender oil next to the plant

On the second night, this was reversed. Doing this meant the volunteers had no idea when they were being exposed to lavender oil, and the researchers could compare their before-and-after brain activity.[6]

The data showed significant improvements in the depth and duration of Sleep, reduced sleep disturbance and higher scores for sleep wellness after exposure to lavender. More importantly, EEGs show that lavender produced changes in multiple brain regions across different stages of Sleep.

Crucially it also led to longer periods of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stage three sleep — our deepest Sleep.

Dr Chris Etheridge, medical herbalist practitioner, plant health specialist and a member of the Puressentiel Expert Hub, said, “This study is a game-changer because it confirms a clear and reproducible mode of action which shows how lavender works.

The study used the essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia, known as true lavender, which is the primary ingredient of the Puressentiel Rest & Relax range.”

Science-backed oils for Sleep
Clinical trials conducted by Professor Damien Léger, director of the Sleep Centre at Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Paris [9], found Puressentiel Rest & Relax spray improved sleep scores across five different measures.

Sleep duration increased by an average of 21 minutes after just four weeks, and the quality of Sleep improved by 18.1%. Volunteers woke feeling more energised and refreshed. At the end of the trial, there were no reports of rebound insomnia — a common side-effect of prescription and over-the-counter sleep medicines.

The Puressentiel range has been developed from science-backed data on 12 essential oils, including sweet marjoram, which has been proven to reduce sleep disturbance when used in combination with true lavender and other oils[7]. Also included in the list of 12 key oils are Roman chamomile, which has proven calming properties,[8] and sandalwood, rich in alpha- and beta-Santalol compounds which have recognised sedative effects.

Given the weight of scientific and anecdotal evidence around the sleep benefits of essential oils, it’s not surprising that nearly a third (28%) of those responding to the Puressentiel real-world research poll have used these to get a better night’s sleep, while almost six in 10 (57%) have specifically used the scent of lavender.

Read more health news, features and studies here.


  • [1] Perspectus Global; 1,109 consumers questioned; Winter 2022/2023
  • [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449130/
  • [3] https://www.ema.europa.eu/documents/herbal-report/draft-assessment-report-lavandula-angustifolia-mill-aetheroleum-lavandula-angustifolia-mill-flos_en.pdf
  • [4]
  • [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
  • [6] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-80171-x
  • [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
  • [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
  • [9] Conducted by Professor Damien Léger, director of the Sleep Centre at Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Paris, data on file.

A couple enjoying a great sleep in their bedEvidence is Building that Lavender is the Key to a Good Night's Sleep 2

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