The Smells of Sleep

A lot has been said about how the senses affect sleep: visually relaxing colors in the bedroom, the feel of your mattress and bedding, even the sounds of sleep with white noise devices and relaxing music. An often overlooked sense that can be a great sleep aid is smell. Certain scents are often taken for granted or used peripherally to aid in relaxation and sleep, but the active and strategic use of your sense of smell to help get the best sleep possible can be very effective. On the flip side, some scents can be effective in revitalizing the mind so you wake up feeling sharp and positive.


Lavender is a primary ingredient in many detergents and fabric conditioners, and you might be sleeping on lavender scented pillows and sheets without ever giving it much thought. Lavender is one of the most popular scents for its calming, floral aroma. Lavender has been cultivated in Europe for hundreds of years for its beauty, fragrance, and many medicinal properties. The scent of lavender has been shown to calm nerves, induce relaxation, and even help with depression. Although your bedding may very well be infused with the scent of lavender from your detergent, more strategic uses of the scent in the forms of essential oils, a lavender treated bath, or a spray for your bed can help your body and mind relax for a night of deep, restful sleep.


Chamomile is perhaps most well known as a tea, one which many may drink in order soothe and relax. But chamomile is also powerful in aromatherapy for its ability to reduce stress and relax muscles. It is believed to help with digestion, asthma, and even menstrual discomfort by relaxing muscles and relieving tension. So brew some chamomile tea, use a chamomile spray on your bed, or simply add a drop or two of chamomile essential oil to a cotton ball and leave it near your pillow during the night for a relaxing, stress-free snooze.


Jasmine is used in the majority of fragrances on the market. From shampoos and conditioners to perfumes and body washes, jasmine is very popular for its ability to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression. Jasmine is very popular in aromatherapy as a natural sleep aid, and its scent has been found to be the most effective natural sleep remedy. It is commonly used in tea and bath products.


Everyone loves the smell of roses, but most aren’t aware of the many benefits and value of rose oil. It can take thousands of pounds of rose petals to extract just one ounce of oil, but the many benefits are worth the expense. The scent of rose in aromatherapy is effective as an antidepressant, a sleep remedy, a stress reliever, and, of course, an aphrodisiac. Use rose essential oil with a diffuser to experience these benefits and more!

Vanilla is somewhat of a comfort scent. Whether you simply enjoy the delicious smell as it relates to food, or find it comforting and stress relieving, vanilla is a relatively cheap and readily available scent. Use vanilla scented candles, essential oils, or even desserts to help you relax and unwind before bed time.


Peppermint marks a transition in this list from scents that induce a good night’s sleep, to scents that help you wake up in the morning. Peppermint in aromatherapy has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and also decrease fatigue. Rather than getting that cup of coffee for a pick-me-up, consider a peppermint tea that won’t interfere with your chances of falling asleep afterwards.


Lemon, like other citrus scents, has an energizing scent that is great for waking up your brain. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a cup of water for a boost of energy and a slew of other health benefits with this natural and organic power drink. In aromatherapy, lemon has been shown to improve concentration, productivity, and even memory. We naturally associate lemon with cleanliness, which is why it is used in cleaning products. This makes it a great way to start off fresh in the morning!


Similar to lemon, orange has been shown to boost energy while also improving mood. Squeeze a fresh cup of orange juice or use a diffuser with orange essential oil to start off your day with a positive outlook.


Bergamot is a lesser-known member of the citrus family, and is described as a cross between a lemon and an orange. It has the same refreshing, revitalizing properties of its cousins, and you may be familiar with it as a primary ingredient of Earl Grey tea. Bergamot is believed to aid in digestion and help with cholesterol, in addition to other benefits. Bergamot is also used in many beauty products as it is good for the skin, and with its scent, makes a great natural deodorant.

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