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What is the Difference between Circadian Rhythm® and Sleep™ blends?

By Jodi Cohen

A bottle of "vibrant blue oils" with a label for sleep support, placed on a reflective surface with soft background lighting.

I am often asked about the difference between our Circadian Rhythm® and Sleep™ blends.  While both formulations contain Lavender essential oil, known for its sleep enhancing effects (MORE HERE),  that is where the similarity ends.

Circadian Rhythm® blend is designed to help you fall asleep, triggering  the pineal gland in your brain to naturally release the sleep hormone melatonin to help you fall asleep.  Your nose is a direct gateway to the brain and the pineal gland. To stimulate the olfactory passage to activate pineal gland, you can either inhale Circadian Rhythm® oil or place a drop in specific spots around the head – on the very top of the head, the very back of the head, on the skin above the ears.  The pineal gland is located in the exact center of the brain, so topically applying oils directly around the brain allows transdermal access. Circadian Rhythm® blend can also help to detoxify the pineal gland to enhance the release melatonin with its numerous healing properties.

Sleep™ is designed more for general relaxation of the mind and body to support restful sleep.  It can be applied on the back of the neck or bottom of the feet to support relaxation and calm.  It is exceptionally gentle and supportive for children, especially when applied to the bottom of the feet.  Many clients find that a combination of both Circadian Rhythm® and Sleep™ blends helps to enhance restful sleep.


What Relaxing Oils are Included in the Sleep™ Blend?

Sleep™ contains a combination of the following relaxing and gentle essential oils.  I have included research on how the essential oils work both individually and in combination to support relaxation and restful sleep.


Orange essential oils has been known to calm the nervous system and support sleep.  Research has found that “orange peel essential oil has a positive effect in improving mothers’ sleep quality in the postpartum period.”  The study found “a significant improvement in sleep quality was observed in the group receiving orange peel essential oil compared with the control group at 8 weeks after delivery”

Orange essential oil has also been found to reduce anxiety which can interfere with sleep.  Orange “demonstrated acute anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) activity” in an animal rat study on the Anxiolytic-like effect of sweet orange.

Futher, research on the effects of olfactory stimulation with rose and orange oil on prefrontal cortex activity backs this up, finding “that olfactory stimulation by rose or orange oil induces physiological and psychological relaxation.”  Study participants also reported an increase in “comfortable,” “relaxed,” and “natural” feelings.


Patchouli, is a member of the mint family originating from Southeast Asia that is known for its sedative properties that can be help for balancing an overactive mind, managing stress and supporting sleep.

Research has found that inhalation of spikenard essential oils is sedating, especially if combined with other essential oils. “Patchouli and spikenard showed significant sedative effects. The effect was stronger for a mixture of oils than for any of the single oils. This suggests that the oil mixture may have synergistic activity.”

Inhaling patchouli oil is thought to encourage the release of relaxation chemical messengers like serotonin and dopamine which helps ease feelings of anger, anxiety and anxiousness which is one reason that patchouli oil is commonly used during prayer.


Spikenard is derived from the dried roots of Nardostachys chinensis,  a flowering plant of the valerian family that grows in the Himalayas that is widely used as an herbal tranquilizer. Inhalation of Spikenard was found to have a sedative effect on mice.   Additional research “provides evidence supporting the traditional sedative use of spikenard.”

Spikenard showed a sedative effect when administered by inhalation.  The sedative properites are attributed to an active components of Spikenard, known as sesquiterpenoids that were isolated from an acetone extract of spikenard.  These “highly effective sedative components” inhibited locomotion in mice and induced sleep to the same extent as diazepam, commonly referred to as Valium.


Citronella can be relaxing and support restful sleep. Research shows that, when inhaled, citronella oil may reduce stress and pain in pregnant women.  A 2014 study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal found that common active ingredients of citronella like nerol, geraniol, phenyl ethyl alcohol, and linalool, reduced anxiety up to 71% during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth.

Additional research has found that inhalation of citronella oil, in combination with lavender essential oil, seems to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which supports relaxation and sleep.  Citronella essential oils is also found to relieve pain and increases your pain threshold.


Soothes and sedates the body, relieving anxiety, tension, stress, systemic inflammation which in turn soothes depression, anger and impulsive responses. Tangerine also promotes hormonal secretions that help the body relax into calm.

Research on the use of aromasticks to help with sleep problems found that inhaling tangerine essential oil by means of an aromastick (a personal inhaler device containing essential oils) significantly improved sleep.  Tangerine essential oil is believed to calm the mind and relax the body, allowing for a peaceful sleep.  92% of those studied reported that they would continue to inhale tangerine essential oil to support relaxation and restful sleep.  Tangerine essential oil has also been found to support stress management, alleviating depression and relieve anxiety.


Lavender is known for its sedative, anxiety relieving and calming properties that help your body and mind relax.

study published in Sage Journal found that “lavender oil displays similar therapeutic effects as melatonin.” Additional research on The effect of aromatherapy with lavender on serum melatonin levels  found that “blood melatonin levels significantly increased in the total population after the intervention with aromatherapy.”

Additional research suggests that lavender works as well as the anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam for calming anxiety.  Linalool, a key constituent of Lavender, has been shown to help with depression.  Linalool is known to activate your calming neurotransmitter Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), which may slows and can balance brain activity and reduce symptoms of depression.

Research has found that essential oils, like Lavender, can bind to the receptors on your cells that receive your body’s calming neurotransmitter, GABA, and help balance your brain’s level of excitation and inhibition which is vital for normal brain function and a healthy nervous system.

Scientists also concluded that inhaling Lavender essential oil can calm the nervous system and improve brain waves appropriate to a relaxed state. “Lavender oil caused significant decreases of blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature, which indicated a decrease of autonomic arousal. In terms of mood responses.”

Blue Tansy

Blue tansy is a flowering plant related to the daisy that hails from Morocco. It derives its vivid shade of blue from its azulene content which is not only responsible for the distinctive color, but the natural calming effect it provides.  Blue tansy is known to calm balance physical and emotional issues related to nerves, anxiety, stress and even cases of mild depression.

More specifically, blue tansy helps lift physical and mental stagnation, relieving congestion along with anger, anxiety, depression and nervousness agitation to help open your heart and move out energy that no longer serves you.  On a physical level, it helps calm inflammation and neutralize histamine to calm allergic reactions. It helps enhance the properties of the other oils in the blend and will help you relax your mind and body.

Roman Chamomile

A natural anti-histamine, Roman Chamomile can help promote the health of your physical heart.  Roman chamomile contains high levels of flavonoids, or plant secondary metabolites, that have been shown to significantly reduce mortality from coronary heart disease when taken internally.

The flavonoids present in Roman chamomile essential oil are believed to lower blood pressure and have a relaxing effect on the heart. On an emotional level, Roman chamomile essential oil has been used as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety by promoting relaxation.

2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that an  essential oil blend including lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli reduced anxiety levels and improved the sleep quality of patients in an intensive care unit compared to conventional nursing intervention.  Similarly, a 2006 study found that inhaling Roman Chamomile essential oil promoted sleep with calmness and drowsiness among healthy volunteers. Inhalation of chamomile is believed to offset a stress-induced increase in the levels of adrenocorticotropic (ACTH) hormone, which is released by the pituitary gland to trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

According to a 2005 study published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin,  chamomile extracts exhibit benzodiazepine-like hypnotic activity. A significant decrease in the time it took to fall asleep was observed in rats who received chamomile extract at a dose of 300 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.


Lime oil is known to support relaxation and sleep.  In fact, Lime essential oils was found to be “more effective than antidepressants.”  (Study).  It clears trapped emotions and thoughts, helping to overcome stagnant energies – including grief, despair, apathy anxiety, depression, listlessness fatigue, overwhelm, or a heavy heart.

Lime essential oil is also known to alleviate stress, tension and anxiety. Lime oil was found to be “more effective than antidepressants.”  (Study).  Lime essential oil is high in the chemical constituent d-limonene  demonstrated “anti-stress action” in animal research trials, which claimed “a beneficial role for d-limonene as an anti-stress substance”.

“These studies show that d-limonene exerts, through its metabolite perillyl alcohol (POH), a significant anti-stress action measurable by behavioral and physiologic parameters under the influence of the nervous system.”

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang essential oil works directly on brain chemicals to reduce anxiety and depression.

Ylang Ylang is believed to balance the central nervous system, calm blood pressure and support mental relaxation, all of which help to calm depression nervousness. It has been also reported to have blood pressure lowering effect suggesting its potential use in managing hypertension.

Research has found Ylang Ylang “indeed possess sedative, relaxing, and also harmonization effects” and provides “relief of depression and stress.”

A study on The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension found that inhaling lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot oils once daily for four weeks reduced cortisol levels, psychological stress, and blood pressure in people with essential hypertension.

An additional clinical study concluded that both cortisol and systolic blood pressure declines after inhalation of a combination of lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, and neroli oil in those with high blood pressure or pre-high blood pressure

Similarly, animal research found that ylang ylang essential oil and its major constituents (benzyl benzoate, linalool, and benzyl alcohol) reduce anxiety in mice, and modifies neurotransmitter levels (decreases dopamine in the striatum and increase serotonin in the hippocampus).


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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.