In these uncertain times, good sleep and total relaxation may be hard to come by, what with the health and safety of our loved ones to be concerned about.
But worry not—there are many tricks you may have not yet tried in order to help you get some proper shuteye. Turning off all the lights and blocking out external light sources from your window certainly makes a huge difference. Putting on a sleep story or guided meditation can also help to place your mind in a relaxed state.
Stimulating your sense of smell through scents that help you relax and sleep is also one effective way to do this. The most convenient way to get a hold of these scents would be in the form of essential oils.
Essential oils can be used in different ways; either through inhalation, by smelling it directly from the bottle, or putting a few drops in a diffuser or humidifier. They can also be applied to the skin by diluting in a carrier oil.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite scents to facilitate restfulness.
Lavender is the most commonly known scents for aiding relaxation and facilitating sleep. The use of lavender dates back to ancient times: the Egyptians used the plant in the mummification process, while the Greeks, Romans, and Persians used it as a bath additive, believing that it helps clear their minds and bodies. Lavender has long been believed to be effective in treating many conditions, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Studies also show that inhaling lavender oil decreases blood pressure and heart rate.
2. Juniper Berry
Studies show that juniper berry is also effective in treating insomnia. A group of Japanese researchers found that applying juniper berry into a mixture of other scents in a fragrance that patients sniffed in bed helped reduce their use of sleep-aiding medication. Also, according to essential oil and MLM company doTERRA, inhaling the “woody, spicy, but fresh” scent of juniper berry aids in calming and grounding.
Sandalwood is a popular scent among perfume makers and enthusiasts due to its warm, earthy, and soft notes. The same study by Japanese researchers mentioned earlier also included sandalwood in the fragrance mixture. In addition, one pilot study conducted with palliative care patients suggests that sandalwood may be effective in reducing anxiety.
Jasmine is another popular choice among fragrance makers for its intense, rich, and sweet scent. It’s also has been found to have a similar chemical makeup to barbiturates or propofol, which are commonly prescribed sedatives. It’s also been proven to reduce anxiety and decrease heart rate, thereby promoting sleep.
5. Clary Sage
Clary sage has been found to reduce feelings of anxiety, relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and elicit relaxation. It’s also been suggested to be beneficial for depression and reducing menstrual cramps.
Frankincense has been used since ancient times; you might even know it as one of the gifts delivered to baby Jesus by the three kings in the biblical story of his birth! It’s highly prized for its many aromatherapeutic benefits, including improving sleep and aiding relaxation.
7. Your partner’s scent
Countless couples have been brought apart by the pandemic due to stay-at-home orders, but perhaps a mere whiff of their scent could make a huge difference. In a study published on Psychological Science, 155 participants who spent two nights with their partner’s scent, and two nights with a control scent in random order, reported 2% sleep efficiency when they were exposed to the former. To reap the benefits of their scent while they’re away, add a trace of a scent that they use every day onto a t-shirt or a pillowcase—it could be their spray-on deodorant, their favorite soap or shampoo, or their perfume.