You’re probably wondering how scents can help you sleep; there is both logic and research behind this question, and something we’ll explore in this blog.

Scent has a certain power over the human brain and body, scents grab your attention, and it’s clear from the offset whether you like a smell or not.

When you whiff the scent of your favourite food, it intrigues you, it makes you want to eat. When your partner is wearing a perfume or aftershave that you really like, it draws you in closer to them. But what smells lull you into a deep slumber?

Does the Smell of Lavender Help You Sleep?


lavender

Lavender has long been considered a scent which has calming and relaxing properties; it is often used to treat symptoms of irritation or anxiety, as it slows down the nervous system. It has resulted in a 20% ‘better than average’ increase on quality of sleep during some studies.

Koulivand, P. et al. have done research into lavender and the nervous system, and with the increasing evidence to suggest that lavender oil could be used in the treatment of several neurological disorders, as a sedative and a mood stabiliser, they confirmed ‘lavender may have a significant clinical potential’.

Their research into Sleep and Lavender also concluded:

‘Single-blind randomized studies investigated the effectiveness of lavender odour on quality of sleep showed that lavender improved the mean scores of sleep quality in fifteen healthy students [74], in sixty-four ischemic heart disease patients [75], and in thirty-four midlife women with insomnia [76].’

Whereas, the University of Southampton’s Lewith, GT. et al. conducted a study with 10 volunteers (5 female and 5 male) over the course of 4 weeks which showed that lavender created an improvement of -2.5 points in PSQI (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, p = 0.07, 95% CI - 4.95 to - 0.4) when treating insomnia.

lavendersleep

So, how does this purple plant do it?

Sprinkling a few drops of lavender oil underneath your pillow, or on a piece of tissue, has shown to increase slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep is your ‘deep sleep’ where your heartrate slows down and your muscles relax, resulting in you feeling far more refreshed and energetic the following morning.

Can you recall a time where you’ve smelled something that brings back good memories, like a homemade pie? Or memories of anticipation, such as, sunscreen on a holiday?

Well, there is such a thing as the olfactory system which is part of our sensory system which is used for smelling, and is closely linked to the emotional centre of our brains. When your olfactory system detects these memorable and recognisable scents, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which reduce your perception of pain, and increase positive triggers and feelings.

Hence why natural oils, such as lavender, can help to promote a happy, relaxing, and peaceful sleep.

Does the Smell of Peppermint Help You Sleep?


peppermint oil

As we’ve discovered, research shows that certain plants and herbs do indicate to have calming and relaxing properties. Realistically, any scent that promotes positive and calming feelings around you before you sleep may naturally aid in a peaceful night’s sleep due to the receptors in your brain.

For example, research has shown that peppermint (in it’s essential oil form) increases alertness and cognitive performance.

140 people participated in a study where they were randomly assigned the aroma of ylang-ylang, peppermint aroma, and no aroma as a control group. Mark, M. et al. concluded:

“Peppermint was found to enhance memory whereas ylang-ylang impaired it, and lengthened processing speed. In terms of subjective mood peppermint increased alertness and ylang-ylang decreased it, but significantly increased calmness”.


peppermint tea

However, peppermint tea has shown to promote weight loss, reduce heartburn, and induce sleep. How? Well, caffeine-free peppermint tea acts as a muscle relaxant, which can aid in a more peaceful night’s sleep. The menthol component of peppermint causes your muscles to relax, relieving stress and anxiety, which both add up to allowing you to gain more restful sleep.

Plus, if you’ve found yourself bloated before going to bed, or have digestive issues, peppermint tea has shown to be an ideal natural remedy for those with stomach ailments. The carminative elements in peppermint tea allow the gases in your body to move more freely, rather than collating in one place, relieving discomfort.

Other Smells That Aid Sleep

• Frankincense
• Chamomile
• Cedarwood
• Jasmine
• Vanilla
• Valerian

Are You Struggling to Get Your 8 Hours a Night?

Drinking a cup of peppermint tea and dabbing some lavender oil underneath your pillow before bed could result in a dream concoction for a peaceful night’s sleep. But sometimes scents are just simply not enough. If you think it’s time you invest in your comfort, check out our orthopaedic mattresses.

orthopaedic

References:
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304.
Lis-Balchin, Maria. Lavender the Genus Lavandula. Taylor and Francis, 2002.
Lewith, G., Godfrey, A. and Prescott, P. (2005). A Single-Blinded, Randomized Pilot Study Evaluating the Aroma ofLavandula augustifoliaas a Treatment for Mild Insomnia. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(4), pp.631-637.
MOSS, M., HEWITT, S., MOSS, L. and WESNES, K. (2008). MODULATION OF COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE AND MOOD BY AROMAS OF PEPPERMINT AND YLANG-YLANG. International Journal of Neuroscience, 118(1), pp.59-77.