The Essential Oil That Can Help Lower Blood Pressure While You Sleep

Our blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, but it naturally decreases at night. With the body at rest and a slowed heart rate, we experience anywhere from a 10% to 20% reduction in systolic blood pressure (the first number of your blood pressure measurement), per 2015 research published in the World Journal of Cardiology. Those with high blood pressure — medically termed hypertension — sometimes also develop what's known as nocturnal hypertension. Instead of a nighttime dip in blood pressure, these patients experience increases in blood pressure levels as they snooze, reports Medical News Today.

According to the 2017 clinical practice guidelines from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or less. Nocturnal hypertension occurs when a patient's blood pressure measures at least 120/70 mmHg or higher, or at least 110/65 mmHg or higher. While both hypertension and nocturnal hypertension can be tied to a number of health conditions, getting ample sleep is considered one protective factor. Inhaling lavender essential oil before bed may not only help you get a better night's sleep, but it may help lower your blood pressure, too (via AARP).

Lavender may lower blood pressure and boost sleep-related brain wave activity

Researchers from a 2012 clinical trial published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand tested the physiological effects of inhaling lavender oil versus sweet almond oil in 20 healthy participants. The findings showed that inhalation of lavender oil was associated with significant drops in blood pressure as well as heart rate. The essential oil was also linked with increased theta and alpha brain wave activity. Theta wave activity is often seen in connection with dreaming or light sleep (via Healthline), while alpha waves tend to emerge right when we're on the brink of sleep (via Sleep Foundation).

While lavender may be effective enough on its own, giving your nose a combo whiff of lavender with ylang ylang oil before bed may also have blood pressure-lowering benefits. Results of a 2023 study published in EXPLORE found that participants who spent weeks wearing sticker pads containing lavender and ylang ylang essential oil experienced significant drops in blood pressure after only wearing the pad for as little as 30 minutes. The researchers tested healthy participants as well as those diagnosed with hypertension.

How lavender may affect daytime vs. nighttime blood pressure

While there may be evidence to suggest a link between lavender essential oil and reduced blood pressure, some studies have produced varied results. Researchers from a 2012 study published in Hindawi found that inhaling a mixture of lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, and neroli essential oils for a period of 24 hours did, indeed, decrease patient systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements. In comparison to those who had been given an artificial aroma as well as those who had been given no treatment at all, reductions in daytime systolic blood pressure proved to be most significant among people who inhaled the essential oil mixture. However, the essential oils had no effect on patients' nighttime blood pressure levels.

Still, AARP experts suggest that it may be worth sliding into bed with a little sachet of lavender beneath the blankets. Among lavender's many potential health benefits, the aroma may support your sleep and blood pressure. With that said, it's also important to take any prescribed medications, get plenty of physical activity, keep alcohol consumption low, and maintain a healthy diet to properly manage hypertension