The effect of fragrances on our sleep is nothing to sniff at. Here we run through some of the most helpful aromas to keep in the home...
Not only a friend in the kitchen, vanilla has long been associated with relaxation and stress relief. The essential oil is known for its sedative qualities, as it helps to lower blood pressure and has a tranquilizing effect on the brain. If soothing your mind wasn’t enough, the aroma also reduces hyperactivity in core body functions including the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems.
The jasmine flower only opens after dark and the positive effects of its aroma truly blossom at night-time as a sleeping aid. The sweet smelling plant has been found to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality and even increase alertness in the daytime. It also makes the perfect addition to a bedside table with its pretty white petals.
Lavender is one of the most popular fragrances in essential oils and with good reason. The common ingredient in massage oils has been proven to aid relaxation and sleep while also reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Recent studies found that a group of 6 to 12 year-old children recovering from having their tonsils removed, needed less medication to manage their pain when treated with aromatherapy using lavender oil.
Valerian is a divisive fragrance for many – known for its pungent scent that some liken to cheese. Experiments have found that ‘nature’s Valium’ improves both sleep quality and quantity, even helping adults with insomnia achieve deep sleep 36% faster. The name ‘valerian’ is derived from Latin, and roughly translates as ‘to be healthy’. Many people consume the herb as a supplement in capsule or liquid form, or even as a tea.
The rich, earthy aroma of sandalwood has been found to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and even increase amounts of non-REM sleep. However, the woody scent can affect some people differently, triggering a combination of alertness and relaxation. Although the smell is useful for unwinding, it may not be suitable for everybody come night-time.