In a word – Yes!
Our sense of smell is our strongest, most influential sense. Scent receptors are over 10000 times more accurate than taste buds. Every time you get a whiff of something nice or horrid, your smell receptors trigger your olfactory bulbs (a pea size cluster in the brain). From here the scent is sorted and your limbic system is kicked into action. This is the same system from which basic human behaviours, including learning & emotions, are controlled.
Ever associated a memory with a smell?
Now you know why. Every time you inhale a smell, a chain reaction is repeated in the brain and body. This may even evoke memories and emotions of previous experiences if they were strong.
But can a smell help you sleep?
Study after study shows how exposure to different scents can protect long-term health. It can relieve stress, pain, nausea, insomnia and improve mood. Combining scents and essential oils – aromatherapy – have even show to kill flu, E. coli, and cancer cells. However whilst aromatherapy is pretty unregulated, standards do increasingly exist. However more research is needed to really understand any benefits and potential side effects.
That said..there are increasing amounts of essential oil based sleep mists now on the market with many a devotee swearing by the relaxing properties of their preferred fragrance. Whilst Lavender is the most common base fragrance for most off the shelf sleep mists, it is not just because it smells nice. Lavender has been proven by scientists to help you sleep more soundly. Researchers monitored their sleep cycles with brain scans and found that lavender increased slow-wave sleep. This is instrumental for slowing heartbeat and relaxing muscles.
But if you don’t like Lavender – no problem! Other essential oils may suit you better and have plenty of beneficial properties.
Finally it doesn’t have to be a sleep mist, sprayed straight onto your pillow or sheets. A diffuser is an effective way to release essential oil into the atmosphere, or even a bowl of steaming water with some drops of your favourite scent.
Have you tried a sleep mist? Did it work for you? Tell us here what has been your favourite scent and why.