Sleep apnea is a form of sleep disorder which affects nearly 40 percent of North American adults. It’s characterized by brief interruptions in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. The breathing pauses can happen continuously throughout the night which lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. This condition usually come out in the form of loud snore which can be annoying to the non-snoring. Sleep apnea is divided into two types: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea which results from tissues relaxation present at the back of the throat leading to blockage of air flow. While in the case of CSA, breathing stops because of the brain’s inability to send regular breathing signals to the throat muscle. Certain essential oils can be helpful in treating sleep apnea.

How to Use Essential Oil for Sleep Apnea

Essential oils can be used to soothe and prevent sleep apnea. However, these oils don’t cure snoring but they make it easier to breathe while boosting the function of the respiratory system. In addition to that, they help in relaxing throat muscles and decongest the blood vessel leading to less blood accumulation in the nasal and throat tissues. Essential oils can be used in different ways to help relieve sleep apnea which include:

  • Diffusing into the air that you breathe.
  • Adding diluted oil into a hot bath.
  • Adding essential oil to a carrier oil like coconut and olive oil and then massage into the skin.
  • Put a few drops of diluted oil to the bottoms of your feet.
  • Adding a few drops of oil to a cup of water and gargle for 30 to 60 seconds.

The Procedure

Below is the procedure you should follow when using essential oils for sleep apnea.

1. Use of diffuser

Before bedtime, mix five drops of lavender essential oil and three drops of peppermint essential oil in a diffuser. Run it 15 minutes earlier before sleeping to help relax the mind and promote deep sleep without interruptions. Alternatively, you can use the mixture to massage onto the lower part of the nostrils. It helps in lessening irritation present within the membranes of the internal lining of the nostrils.

2. Do a Facial Steaming

Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils are the best at liquefying the mucus to clear sinuses and fight the cold that obstruct proper breathing. Here, you should boil four cups of water and once boiled, remove from heat and place it somewhere safe. Add two to three drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil. If possible, use a pot to avoid faster heat loss. Then sit with your face over the steaming pot and put a towel over your head to create a tent with your head and pot inside. Now, breath in the refreshing steam and allow it to open up your airways.

3. Do a DIY Vapor Rub

Vapor rub is very effective in clearing the respiratory system thus promoting better sleep. Take a quarter cup of shea butter and a quarter cup of coconut oil and melt them in a double boiler. Remove from heat and allow it to cool a bit then add seven drops of eucalyptus oil, seven drops of lavender oil and seven drops of marjoram oil. Stir the mixture and pour it into a glass jar. Use it to rub onto your throat, chest, and back before bed.


  1. Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil. The recommended recipe is four to seven drops per ounce of any oil.
  2. Follow the directions given and always read the labels.
  3. Not all essential oils should be swallowed, some are toxic.
  4. In case you have a preexisting condition or on medication, talk to your doctor before using the oil.
  5. You should perform a skin patch test before applying or inhaling any essential oil. This allows you to know how each oil will interact with your system.


Essential oils play a great part in aiding the treatment of various mental, emotional or physical health issues. Most of them contain a helpful soothing, moisturizing and stimulating properties that promote deep and restful good night sleep. Plus, they can clear out your nasal and throat passages. If you are having trouble with sleep apnea, then use essential oils to help relieve your problem. The commonly used essential oils include eucalyptus, lavender, coconut, olive, roman, thyme, geranium and peppermint oil. However, you should see the doctor if you believe you or your partner’s sleep apnea condition isn’t getting better. Sleep apnea can be a serious health problem which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.

All images by Pixabay


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