The 10 Most Relaxing Scents for Restorative Sleep
When we're well rested we wake up energised and strong – both physically and mentally. By lighting a candle, burning incense, or simply keeping fresh cut flowers or fragrant herbs nearby, you can use scent to help set the stage for peaceful and restorative sleep – and a healthier you.
Here are the top 10 scents to use for better quality sleep.
The dreamy (literally) fragrance of lavender is the most popular scent used in natural sleep remedies, and the most well-researched. Studies have found that lavender can decrease the heart rate and lower blood pressure, which are both physical markers of a person who is ready to fall asleep naturally and go through all of the necessary sleep phases required for optimal rest and regeneration.
If you prefer the sunny, spring-time smell of jasmine over the lavender, an earthier variety of floral fragrance, you are in luck: A 2002 study showed that jasmine was even more effective than lavender at improving sleep quality, reducing restlessness, and increasing daytime alertness. For a jasmine-rose blend with a smoky edge, light the Rosewood Candle by Bed Threads hits the spot.
Unlike the more popular floral scents, valerian is much earthier and probably too strong to be relaxing for most people. Instead, valerian root is used in pill form and as an ingredient in many sleepy-time teas.
If you prefer fruitier fragrances, bergamot is the sleep-inducing smell for you. The name refers to the bergamot orange, a citrus fruit similar to the everyday orange except green, like a lime. It smells like you think it would, and yet it's been shown to reduce stress symptoms and ease anxiety. The Olive Leaf & Thyme Candle by Bed Threads features green olive and olive leaf mixed with lemon thyme, bergamot and sandalwood – perfect to light as you read a few pages before your eyes start feeling very heavy (which means it's time to blow out the candle, because safety).
For some people, sandalwood is ideal for easing anxiety symptoms and triggering physical relaxation. Others will find it energising, causing you to feel relaxed but awake. Whatever the case, it is a popular choice among candle and incense aficionados. Use it in the early evenings to commence the wind-down to lights out.
There's a reason people drink chamomile tea at night time. Its calming effects are likely due to an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to receptors in your brain that decrease anxiety and trigger sleep.
Those who don't love florals will love Clary Sage, a warm and woody scent that has been shown to reduce stress hormones, like cortisol, which help set you up for better sleep. Burn some Ayu Clary Sage Incense when you start getting ready for bed to ease yourself into a relaxing night of sleep.
Like valerian, some people will find the smell of cedar-scented products just a bit too much to be relaxing. But if you're someone who loves the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil then cedar could make a perfectly relaxing fragrance to invite into your nighttime ritual. Try using it while you take a bath – it's often used to ease pain and reduce skin inflammation.
Some say that vanilla is helpful for decreasing arousal, which is an important element in preparing for sleep. Some might prefer a less intense fragrance, as vanilla is quite rich, but if you respond well to this sweet scent then it's worth incorporating into your bedtime ritual.
Common in "anti-ageing" beauty products, rose geranium is said to have antioxidant properties. If you love the smell of fresh roses, try using it at night – it's also been shown to increase relaxation and soothe anxiety.