Aroma and scent therapies are considered an effective method against stress, lack of relaxation and sleep disorders. Find out how certain scents affect our sleep and which aromas can help us sleep more restfully here.
Table of Contents
- Stress, Relaxation & Sleep
- Our sense of smell & scents during sleep
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils for a better sleep
- Three essential scents for a peaceful sleep
- Cedarwood or Sandalwood
- Relax & sleep better
Stress, relaxation & sleep
More and more people suffer from sleep disorders or sleep too little on a regular basis, although sufficient and good sleep is the most important basis for our daily performance and a healthy everyday life. Stress and lack of relaxation in particular are not only detrimental to our health, but also to our sleep and ensure that the urgently needed nightly regeneration is disturbed. If we feel stress before going to bed, our cortisol level increases exactly when the body actually needs to rest. This often leads to problems with falling asleep and promotes restlessness and concentration problems, which in turn has a negative effect on sleep.
So that body & mind recover sufficiently and we wake up in the morning really rested, we should come to rest and relax especially early in the evening. Meditation, music or the tried and tested evening reading are popular methods that are supposed to positively address our senses and alleviate stress. But can certain scents and aromas also calm us down and help us sleep better and more restfully?
Our sense of smell & scents during sleep
Our senses are constantly active and busy transmitting perceived stimuli from our environment via the central nervous system to the brain, where they are further evaluated and processed. When we inhale, scents reach the olfactory receptors in our nasal mucosa and trigger certain stimuli, which are transmitted to our brain and, among other things, to the "limbic system" responsible for emotions and feelings. In this way, smells can evoke both physical and psychological reactions, arouse emotions or become part of our emotional memory.
Even at night, our sense of smell does not completely shut down. However, scientific research has shown that our sensitivity to smell is strongest towards evening (around 9pm) and weakest at night into the early morning. This means that we react more intensively to scents or smells in the hours before going to bed than at night, while important regeneration and processing processes are taking place in the brain.
Fragrances have a particular effect on sleep due to their potentially relaxing effect and by triggering positive emotions or memories. Positive emotional feelings lead to the release of certain messenger substances in our brain, for example endorphins or the "happiness hormone" serotonin. Serotonin has a calming effect on the nervous system and, as a precursor of the sleep hormone melatonin, is crucial for a healthy sleep-wake rhythm. The perception of certain smells can therefore help, especially before going to bed, to prepare optimally for sleep and to support falling asleep.
Aromatherapy: Essential oils for better sleep
Aromatherapy is a branch of herbal medicine that has relied on the natural and healing effects of essential oils for centuries. These are absorbed as fragrances or care substances, especially in the form of candles, aromatic and body oils or baths, via the smell or the skin.
Various studies have shown that certain essential scents, which are associated with calm, relaxation and a positive mood, have a positive effect on the physical and mental state. Among other things, they help to alleviate stress, tension and anxiety. Since these factors are directly related to the quality of our sleep and are often responsible for difficulty falling asleep or insomnia, aromatherapy can support healthy sleep.
Three essential scents for a peaceful sleep
Lavender is considered a classic of aromatherapy and has been known for centuries as a natural remedy for sleep problems, inner turmoil or anxiety due to its calming effects. The plant's aroma has been shown to help relieve anxiety, dispel nervousness and promote inner peace.
Lavender contains over 200 phytochemicals that reduce the release of stress hormones in our bodies, protect the nervous system from an overload of negative stimuli, and also have a calming effect on heart rate and blood pressure. At the same time, it influences the production of the happiness hormone serotonin. Thus, lavender has a positive effect on our mood and melatonin synthesis in the evening, which can support a healthy sleep-wake rhythm.
Cedarwood and sandalwood
Usually perceived as spicy and pungent, the scent of sandalwood has a balancing effect and can help promote a sense of well-being and positively influence emotions and thoughts. Sandalwood has been used for many decades in traditional Indian Ayurveda to relieve nervousness and restlessness and helps to create optimal conditions for a peaceful sleep.
And the fragrant oil of cedar is also said to have a sleep-promoting effect. The aroma strengthens the nerves and has been shown in some studies to help you fall asleep faster.
Lemon balm is also a proven remedy for relieving insomnia. The aroma of lemon balm not only has antibacterial and blood pressure lowering effects, but has been shown to calm our minds, relieving stress, nervous tension, and negative moods. Thus, the essential oils of lemon balm can ensure that nervous activity shuts down in the evening, stress and anxiety signals are perceived less strongly and we relax better and sleep peacefully.
Relax & sleep better
Many studies confirm that rituals with essential oils can support relaxation and also improve sleep quality in the long term. Especially when mental or physical stress disturbs sleep and makes it difficult to fall asleep, targeted relaxation before bedtime can be supported with the help of the natural effects of essential oils. Among the many possible applications, the aromas of lavender, sandalwood and other medicinal plants are particularly popular in the form of room scents and scented candles.
Tip: For a pleasant fragrance experience and the most effective effect, you should also pay attention to the quality and origin of the plant substances used.
At our current cooperation partner OZOÍ you can find high-quality scented candles & essential oils, which consist of exquisite vegan ingredients and can help you to improve your well-being, mental health or physical relaxation with the effective scents of aromatherapy. This way, you can gently and easily find your way to a deep and restful sleep in the evening. But please remember to extinguish the candlelight before going to sleep! 😉
Perceived scents affect our body and psyche, can appeal to the nervous system as well as evoke emotions or memories
Certain scents can relieve stress, tension, nervousness, or anxiety, helping to improve falling asleep and staying asleep, and alleviating sleep disorders
Essential oils of lavender, cedarwood, sandalwood or lemon balm are particularly conducive to relaxation and support peaceful, restful sleep
Best regards and see you soon!