Do Scents Really Affect Your Sleep?


Is it possible for the scent of a room to affect your sleep? It turns out the answer is yes—but how much? According to the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) most recent International Bedroom Poll, sleepy participants seemed to think scents affected them quite a bit.

This poll took a look at the sleep habits of people living in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. Japan was the only country that didn’t seem to have high numbers when it came to feeling more relaxed in a nicely scented bed.

When asked this statement, “I feel more relaxed in my bed if my room has a fresh, pleasant scent,” the highest number of people in agreement came from Mexico, with 92 percent, and Germany, with 90 percent. 86 percent of United Kingdom participants and 78 percent of Americans and Canadians were in agreement that scents mattered. However, only 41 percent of participants from Japan felt that fresh scents made for a better night of slumber.

According to David Cloud, CEO of the NSF, “studies have shown that scent plays a powerful role in relaxation and memory-building. Having a pleasant scent and a relaxing bedroom routine can contribute to a good night’s sleep.”

So what exactly are these scents that can help induce sleep? Lavender, due to its ability to help boost sleep, can help with insomnia, according to a 2005 study. A German study also found that jasmine is effective as an anti-anxiety medication and sleep aid.

Can scents detract from your ability to sleep? According to the people who responded, yes, although not as many people seemed to be strongly bothered by the smells of mold, body odor, pet odor, stale air, cooking odor and antiseptic when sleeping as you might think. Mexico and the United States ranked mold as the biggest problem, while Japan and UK residents seemed to be most affected by stale air. When it came to sleeping polls for “scents that detract from sleep,” Mexico came in at 74 percent, with Canada at 64 percent, UK at 60 percent, USA at 59 percent, Germany at 58 percent, and Japan at 29 percent.

What do you think? Do the everyday scents in your home or bedroom keep you from getting a good night’s sleep? 


Always consult your chirorpractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Image Credit: lavender by smithadri, used under a creative commons license.

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