Our five senses play an important role in our lives. From sight, sound, touch, taste and smell we are psychologically led to make important decisions. Marketers and big brands know this well- of course! Bright colours and bold typography catch our eye, supermarkets know to position certain products around their stores depending on the time of day. The smell of fresh bread as you walk into the store is pumped from the bakery ovens at the back all the way to the front door, tempting you to buy some. Colours, as discussed in our previous blog about bedrooms, appeal and calm us just as much as they excite and awaken us. So how can smell help you with sleep?
Farewell to pot-pouri.
We all love the fresh scent of laundered bedlinen. Especially if it’s been out on the line in the fresh air all day. Britons are spending over £1 million a day on air care products. Research and statistics organisation Mintel, produced a report stating that the market was still growing, yet a lot of the air care products we buy are not necessarily good for us. Made with dozens of artificial scents and propellants, they have been blamed for increased home pollution.
The Lavender Effect
So what are the natural alternatives? Research has shown that many natural scents have positive effects on our health. Lavender for example is a centuries old remedy for calming and relaxing you. It has been proven to decrease heart rates and lower blood pressure - putting us into a more relaxed state. Research also showed that those who smelled lavender before going sleep, slept more deeply and felt more active in the mornings.
It’s not only lavender that has a soporific effect. Jasmine, Bergamot, Sandalwood and Chamomile all aid sleep and help us to relax during stressful times. Simply dabbing some oil on your wrists (test to check for any allergic reaction first though), will provide benefits as well as scented baths or oils in the bedroom. Natural scents can be purchased from a wide range of retailers and use no artificial ingredients. You can also make your own using essential oils, water and witch hazel.
Some of us suffer from allergies which can make tolerating certain smells challenging. So, stick to natural oils and ingredients and test each one first before you head to sleep.
Other issues can affect sleep such as dust, pollen and animal fur. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner and spend time getting behind and under the bed to remove any excess dust. Weekly is best. Hypoallergenic bed linens, duvets and pillows are important too. Also, wash your mattress cover if it can be removed. This will kill all bed mites and keep it smelling fresh and clean too. Other options are the use of an air purifier and closing windows during high pollen count periods too.
Find the right ingredients for a calmer night’s sleep.
Everyone is different, so try different techniques with your use of smells. Remember to test these out on your partner too. They may have a different reaction to you. Subtle use of natural scents shouldn’t cause any problems though.
Good luck and keep us updated with your new sleep regimes.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is part of the mint family and has many varieties. It is easy to grow both in pots and as a bedding plant.