In order to get a great night’s sleep, all five senses must be taken care of. We make our rooms dark and close our eyes to shut out the light. We listen to white noise or the waves of the ocean from a sound machine to relax us. We brush our teeth before bed so our mouths are fresh and clean. We are most comfortable using sheets and blankets that are soft to the touch. What about our sense of smell? If you’re neglecting your nose, it could be hindering your ability to sleep. Here are some fragrances that can help us fall asleep faster and get a more restful night’s sleep.
If your stress level is through the roof and you’re having trouble falling asleep, lavender can help ease your mind. According to Prevention magazine, a study from the University of Southampton in Britain showed that the scent of lavender helped its participants to sleep 20% better than they did without lavender exposure. Another sleep study conducted at Wesleyan University found that the scent of lavender acted as a mild sedative and “has practical applications as a… method for promoting deep sleep”.
Another popular sleep inducing scent is chamomile. Chamomile has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia. The National Institute of Health refers to chamomile as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. It soothes your mind, eases your emotions, and even helps to relax your muscles, making it easier to fall asleep.
Can’t remember what you ate for breakfast? Roses could be the answer. As reported by the New York Times, a study conducted in Germany found that smelling roses can increase the formation of memories. In this study, the scent of rose was released into the air while its participants were in a state of deep sleep. Upon waking up, they were asked to recall cards on a computer screen that they had memorized the day before. The study found that those who slept in the rose scented air “scored an average of 97 percent on the card game, compared with 86 percent when they played the game and slept without being perfumed”.
Scents can do more than make us sleepy, they can help keep us awake, too. A study from the University of Cincinnati found that the scent of peppermint made its participants more alert and increased their productivity. So, before you reach for that 3pm cup of coffee, try using peppermint to keep your mind focused.
Not sure how to incorporate these scents into your bedroom? Try using essential oils, a concentrated liquid version of your preferred scent. Put a few drops of oil on a tissue or a cloth and tuck it under your pillow. You can also use an oil diffuser that will pump the scent into the air. Another option is to take a warm bath before bed using scented scrubs and lotions, like the ones in this spa kit. The bath will not only leave your skin smelling great, it will also help you fall asleep faster too. When in the bath the warm water raises your body temperature, but once out of the bathtub your body temperature falls, causing you to fall asleep more quickly. Try incorporating a soothing scent into your bedtime routine to keep all five senses satisfied and sleepy.
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Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy