4 Scents For a Better Night’s Sleep (and 3 to Avoid)

Medical Disclaimer: The following content is for information and educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.

We all want a better night’s sleep; whether we try to improve it through less screen time, a warm shower, a better supporting mattress etc., there are many things we can do to get those much-needed Z’s. One method on the list is aromatherapy. It’s simply the method of using scents whether that be in oil or diffuser form to affect and improve one’s well-being.

The great thing about aromatherapy is it’s a natural source, meaning no chemicals are involved. Furthermore, you’re not putting any substances in your body which is better for your overall well-being.

So, can scents really help you sleep better? Several studies have shown scents like lavender improve sleep quality. Further, scents have been used for centuries for their calming and relaxing properties. 

Here’s a list of 4 popular scents that may help you relax and sleep better.

scents for sleep

Get the most out of your scents

Before we mention our list of top scents to help you fall soundly asleep and enter the dream state quicker, it’s best to know the various products you can obtain and the best way to get the most out of it all. You can get scents in oil, incense sticks, candles, water and tea form. One of the easiest ways to get the most out of the scent is through herbal tea, where you’ll inhale and ingest the relaxing scent. 

Other ways to reap the benefits of scent is through a diffuser, a spray which can be sprayed onto your pillow, oil droplets into a tissue or warm bath and simply a candle. However, it’s worth mentioning that scented candles are a potential fire hazard and they also tend to be costlier. 

If you really want to get the most out of your scented oils, incorporate them into your night-time routine through products such as creams, facial oil and shower/bath lotions. Take it a step further and use them as massage oils. Do gentle facial massages to release any stress and tension in the muscles.

diffusers to scent bedroom

The Best Scents to Help You Sleep

1) Clary Sage

A plant which sports calming hues of lilacs also has smelling properties to help relieve any feelings of stress and restlessness. With our busy lives, our minds and bodies can become overwhelmed with stress, preventing us from having a good night’s sleep. The use of Clary Sage in diffusers etc., is great at removing such tension from the body and mind. Perfect to incorporate in a relaxing bath after a long day or use in massage oils to push the stress out of your body.

Links to purchase (Australia only): AwoNourishedlife

clary sage scent

2) Lavender

Probably the most common and well-known scent to help you drop off to sleep, lavender has gained popularity due to its calming effects. Available in every form of aromatherapy for you to try and test. Its relaxing scent is meant to relax your mind and body. According to the founder of NYC’s first aromatherapy school, Amy Galper “Lavender supports [your] breath, meaning it can help deepen and slow down our breathing so we can rest.”

Links to purchase (Australia only): EcomodernessentialsN-Essentials

lavender scent for sleep

3) Frankincense

Your first thought may have gone to the three wise men, but you don’t have to birth God’s child or trek across a desert to get your hands on the stuff. With its links, Frankincense has gained the title of “king of oils”, but what actually is it? Taken from the sap found in trees, many benefits have been discovered from this natural source. Assisting with the calming of the nerves, it supposedly helps with sleep by relaxing the mind and body, working to slow down and relax one’s breath. A rich and well-bodied scent, Frankincense will ease you into a deep slumber.

Links to purchase (Australia only): BuckleyandphillipsEcomodernessentials

frankincense scent

4) Your Partner’s Scent

Studies have suggested that your significant other’s scent has many sleep benefits. Published in Psychology Science, the study discovered an increase of sleep efficiency and an improvement in melatonin. Whilst clinging onto your S.O. may not be the best option to help get better sleep, one easy and spacious way of creating a similar effect of pillow scented sprays is through sleeping with their t-shirt.

What Scents to Avoid

1) Citrus Oil

When you hear citrus, you think cold, fresh and refreshing. Containing many fruits under its umbrella like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit etc, whilst they have a multitude of benefits for your body, mood and complexion, sleep is an aspect it lacks in. The use of such in aromatherapy has discovered its aid in helping people feel and become more active whilst enhancing their mood. All wonderful benefits, however, we’re looking to slow down as the moon pops up.

2) Rosemary

Commonly used in cooking, Rosemary has been found to have multiple advantages other than cooking. An ingredient helping to boost brain activity – not want we want whilst trying to doze off, researchers find that the herb is great for helping you feel refreshed and provides a boost for your mood, brain activity and nervous system. Its effects are meant to help you feel more active after using it for aromatherapy.

3) Peppermint

Surprisingly, whilst many promote the use of peppermint to help you sleep, it can actually do the opposite. For me when I hear peppermint, I think refreshing not resting. This ingredient has been used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine. Holding many wonderful properties, what it doesn’t help you do is sleep. Over the years, researchers have discovered that the use of peppermint oil can increase alertness and enhance memory.

Wrapping it Up…

And there you have it, our quick and easy guide to helping you get that better night’s sleep. We understand that struggling to sleep can become very stressful, which is why we wanted to introduce you to a variety of scents and options to help you on your deep sleep journey.

James Lee

James Lee

James is the content director at WhatASleep, a certified sleep science coach from Spencer Institute and our in-house sleep product expert. Over three years, he's personally tested hundreds of mattresses. He likes to keep his reviews simple, objective, and straightforward so that the readers don't have to go through decision fatigue which is often the case while shopping for sleep products.

He hails from Sydney and has a journalism degree from the University of Queensland and an MBA from Melbourne Business School.

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