11 best essential oils for sleep apnea treatment

essential oil for sleep apneaEssential oils for sleep apnea can be used to help control the symptoms of this potentially dangerous disorder. Sleep apnea affects nearly 40 percent of North American adults. It’s a potentially serious condition that causes brief interruptions in breathing while the person is asleep. These interruptions or pauses can occur multiple times throughout the night and last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. One of the biggest repercussions of suffering from sleep apnea is that it can lead to chronic fatigue and other physical and mental ailments.

Pauses in breathing or shallow breaths can suddenly jolt a person awake in the middle of the night, making it difficult to resume sleep. This usually comes in the form of a loud snore or snort, which interrupts the sleep of the person suffering from sleep apnea and anyone else in their vicinity.


There are two main types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Tissue at the back of the throat relaxes, and this either partially or completely obstructs air from passing through.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): For some reason, the brain loses its ability to send regular breathing signals to the muscles in the throat.

Certain essential oils can help relieve symptoms of sleep apnea and help improve your breathing as you sleep. To maximize efficacy of these essential oils for sleep apnea, they should be applied in specific ways depending on the ingredients used.

Although chronic snoring and snorting is one of the most common symptoms associated with sleep apnea, not everyone who snores necessarily suffers from this condition. In some cases, these people are what researchers and scientists refer to as “simple snorers.”

If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, you should speak to your doctor about it immediately as this condition can be a precursor for other more serious medical issues such as blood clots, which can result in suffering a stroke.

Essential oils for sleep apnea

Whether you’re using essential oils for sleep apnea treatment or for another purpose, keep in mind that they can’t be used on their own. All essential oils must be properly diluted with carrier oils such as canola oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or sesame oil to name a few. The following is a list of the best essential oils for sleep apnea treatment:

Peppermint essential oil

There are numerous potential causes of sleep apnea. In cases where sleep apnea is the result of nasal congestion, the application of peppermint oil has been proven to be an effective remedy. Peppermint oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce and completely eradicate inflammation and irritation throughout the nasal passages and the airways in the throat.

There are a few effective ways of using peppermint oil to help manage sleep apnea symptoms. You can rub a few drops of it under your nostrils before going to bed or you can mix a few drops of it in a glass of water and gargle it for a few minutes before bed (don’t swallow it though). Another extremely effective method is to mix a few drops of peppermint oil into a bowl of hot water, lower your head over the bowl, and cover your head with a towel. This will create a homemade cleansing steam bath facial that’s sure to clear out your sinuses.

Lemon essential oil

Studies have shown that lemon oil is useful for significantly reducing the frequency of snoring by clearing a person’s airways and nasal passages and helping them breathe a lot more easily, especially in combination with a few other essential oils. Lemon oil naturally contains antispasmodic properties, which moisturize the back of the throat and can be used to help heal throat infections.

Lavender essential oil

Lavender oil is known for having a very calming and soothing effect on the physical and mental senses. It’s an excellent stress reliever and can be applied in a variety of ways. You can either apply it topically to your feet, chest, and the back of your neck before going to sleep or you can boil two to three drops of it in a pot of water and simply breathe in the fumes. This should help you relax and improve your breathing by clearing out the airways in your nasal passages and throat.

Geranium essential oil

Geranium oil is another essential oil known for its soothing properties. For optimal results, it can be applied to the neck, feet, and chest right before bed.

Thyme essential oil

Thyme essential oil for sleep apnea has a bunch of desirable benefits and you can’t go wrong with anti-aging, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and anti-parasitic properties. Chronic fatigue and exhaustion due to a lack of sleep is a common symptom of sleep apnea, which can also ironically exacerbate the problem. Thyme essential oil is especially beneficial to people who suffer from CSA as it has a calming effect on the cerebral cortex of the brain.

Passionflower essential oil

Passionflower is another essential oil that contains anti-spasmodic properties that can help to soothe and relax the muscles right before bedtime. Traditionally, passionflower essential oil is used as a remedy for relieving chronic pain and calming gastrointestinal issues within the nervous system that could disrupt your sleep cycle.

Marjoram essential oil

Marjoram essential oil for sleep apnea has soothing properties and can be applied in a variety of different methods. You can either rub a few drops of it on the soles of your feet or use a diffuser to expel its vapors in your bedroom as you sleep. Both methods are equally effective in helping you achieve a restful and full night’s sleep without any interruptions in your breathing. Always make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil before applying it topically to your skin or breathing it in.

Valerian essential oil

Valerian root and essential oil are known for having a substantial soothing effect on the brain and they both promote deep and restful sleep patterns. As with some of the other oils mentioned on this list, you can either rub it directly on your chest or diffuse it in your bedroom while you sleep for the best results.

Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil is an excellent remedy for sleep apnea caused by nasal congestion thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory properties. This can help clear out the mucus from your nasal passages that block air from getting in. Steam inhalation using a diffuser is the best way to use eucalyptus essential oil for sleep apnea.

Roman chamomile oil:

As with many of the other essential oils on this list, Roman chamomile oil is typically used to promote relaxation and a deep, restful sleep. It’s especially effective in remedying CSA and can treat problems in the nervous system.

Olive essential oil

Olive essential oil acts as a lubricant for the muscle tissues in the airway, which can help prevent them from causing painful and uncomfortable tension by rubbing against one another as you breathe in and out. This is one of the few essential oils that you can actually orally ingest, and doing so can help soften and moisturize the airways in your throat.

Essential oil blends for sleep apnea treatment

Studies have shown that a combination of certain essential oils can help reduce some of the major symptoms associated with sleep apnea, such as loud snoring and snorting in the middle of the night. One of the more effective concoctions includes blending lemon, thyme, peppermint, and lavender essential oils. All of these essential oils contain strong healing and anti-bacterial properties that can combat the effects of sleep apnea when combined.

Make sure to mix in a drop or two of your favorite carrier oil with this mixture before applying it topically or inhaling it, though. This will help to make the most of all of the healing properties in these essential oils and reduce the risk of causing personal harm or health issues.

Safety tips to follow while using essential oils for sleep apnea

On that note, there are a few important safety tips to keep in mind if you’re planning on using essential oils for sleep apnea treatment.

First and foremost, you must combine all essential oils with carrier oils before using them. This can’t be emphasized enough.

Next, read the labels carefully and follow all instructions as closely as possible. Do as much research as possible before commencing essential oil treatments and talk to healthcare professionals such as naturopaths whenever possible to gain valuable insights.

Perform skin patch tests before topically applying or inhaling any essential oils. This will give you a good idea of how each specific essential oil will interact with your system.


Adhere to all of your healthcare professional’s warnings as well as those that are listed on the labels of each product. Certain conditions such as asthma or pregnancy could prevent you from being eligible to use essential oils.

Essential oils boast a great deal of healing properties that can aid in the treatment of numerous physical, mental, and emotional ailments. Many of them contain helpful soothing, moisturizing, and stimulating properties that can promote deep and restful sleep and clear out your nasal and throat passages. If you’re in the market for a natural method of managing your sleep apnea or any other sleep-related issues, then essential oils may be the right alternative healing solution for you. However, before you change your sleep or health regimens in any way, talk to your doctor to ensure that you understand all of the potential risks involved.

Related: Best essential oils for restless legs syndrome and how to use them



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