Can Essential Oils Cause Weird Dreams?

by Alasdair Walker

Ever notice you have some oddly vivid and strange dreams the same night you use essential oils? Chances are it's not just a coincidence.

While many factors contribute to the way you sleep at night, some essential oils can actually facilitate weird or vivid dreams as a result of external stimuli. Nightmares are also generally caused by stress and anxiety. So using a calming essential oil before bed like lavender, chamomile, or bergamot can help you have a deeper, calmer, and uninterrupted sleep. 


Pink and purple clouds



While this is a general guide on how different essential oils can effect your sleep, many essential oils have different effects on people. For example, for some, lavender induces a calming and restful sleep, while others say that lavender actually caused them to have really vivid dreams because of how deep their sleep was.

It really works differently for everyone so try it out for yourself to see what essential oils work or don't work for you when using them before bed.  




Girl sleeping in bed


The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology. Dreams typically happen while we are in REM sleep (rapid-eye movement stage of sleep). During this stage, brain activity is high and feels closely to that of feeling awake. Dreams sometimes occur during other stages of sleep but these are typically less vivid and are very difficult to remember after waking up. Dreams are very closely related to how we store memories in our brain. When we consume a lot of information during the day or learn new things, this can cause you to dream much more.  



Mugwort is known for its use by the Chumash Indians of North America, who named the plant "dream sage". They have incorporated the plant into their healing practices for about 13,000 years and believed it improved dreams and made them more vivid and easier to remember.

It is said the Mugworth effectively improves the capacity to sleep straight through the night. When Mugworth is used for dreamwork, the effects are best described as intensifying or enhancing to dream texture, resolution, complexity, and recall. 

To test this unique essential oil, try adding a few drops onto your pillow before going to bed or add a few drops to your diffuser and continue to diffuse throughout the night. 




Girl holding globe in abstract dream world with clouds


Research has shown that external stimuli present during sleep can have an effect on what kind of dreams you have. Research suggests that typically we can recall dreams only if we awaken right after or in the middle of having them.

Using lavender essential oils will actually cause you to have less nightmares and lucid dreams because lavender essential oils promote a more restful and deep night's sleep, therefore lessening the amount of times we wake up at night.

Essential oils affect everyone differently and everyone's body and mind reacts uniquely to different essential oils.

Some people feel they have lucid dreams and sometimes nightmares after using essential oils right before bed, while others feel relaxed and sleep calmly through the night without any weird or vivid dreams. Again, essential oils can affect people differently. 

"Anything that impacts our emotional state is likely to shape the dreams we have. So, since smells are processed in the brain’s limbic system (which deals with our emotions and memories), even the slightest whiff can arouse powerful feelings." - 

Lavender and chamomile are well-known for their relaxation properties, however they also cause deeper, restful sleep and sometimes particularly vivid dreams. 



Although no essential oils are specifically proven to completely eliminate nightmares, the ones listed below can help you enter a more calm, restful and uninterrupted sleep, causing you to possibly not have any nightmares the night after using the essential oil. 

Sandalwood - helps some people with insomnia and reducing stress. Promotes a peaceful and calm sleep.

Bergamot - powerful stress reducing oil, known to induce calmness and reduce feelings of anxiety and/or sadness.

Vetiver - promotes calmness, combats insomnia, stress and mental exhaustion.  

Chamomile - Known to be one of the safest and soothing oils for children. A natural calming sedative. This oil can reduce anxious feelings, anger, worry or panic. 

Essential oils like roman chamomile, bergamot and vetiver have been studied to show that some people feel their rate of nightmares slow down after using these oils.  

We suggest combining some of these essential oils into your very own nightmare-combatting oil blend. We have essential oil infused nasal inhalers and portable diffusers that contain different essential oil blends that could be perfect for aiding in a good night's sleep. 

Use your favorite blend of the recommended essential oils by diffusing or smelling them for just 20 minutes before bed to receive it's natural therapeutic benefits. 



Lavender has been known to be a great essential oil for sleep.

Psychologists at Wesleyan University in Connecticut had 31 men and women smell lavender essential oils at night, along with distilled water the next.

After monitoring their sleep cycles with brain scans, the researchers found that lavender increased slow-wave sleep which slows the heartbeat and relaxes muscles, causing a deep, calming sleep.

The group of subjects also said they felt more energetic the next morning. Many studies have been linked to lavender causing a relaxing night's sleep and a more energetic morning. 

According to a small study done in Indianapolis hospital, lavender aromatherapy has been found to reduce anxiety and depression in women with postpartum depression. 

Although essential oils being linked to causing certain types of dreams is not yet widely researched, studies and reviews from people over the years show that certain essential oils when used before bed can in fact have an effect on your dreams and the way you sleep.


Picture of a dreamy bed


Some essential oils cause relaxation and calmness. This also can cause you to fall into deeper sleep which potentially can be come with more vivid dreams.

Find the essential oil that works best for you and that give you the best nights sleep. While lavender may help some people sleep better and have calmer dreams, it may cause others to have vivid and strange dreams.

Everyone's mind and body reacts differently to different stimuli so it's important you test it out for yourself before coming to a final conclusion just from reading this blog. 

Happy dreaming! 

Tags: sleep
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