Sense of Smell and Relaxation

Sense of Smell and Relaxation

Have you ever wondered why that deep sleep lotion in your drawer actually helps you sleep? The answer may seem spiritual, but it is actually very technical. “Lavender interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA to help quiet the brain and nervous system activity, reducing agitation, aner, aggression, and relentlessness” (Breus, 2018). In short, inhalation of a scent sends a signal to your brain. Much like the smell of cookies may remind you of Grandma’s House or rubber of the school gym, some smells like lavender can stimulate relaxation. 

Although lavender is a very common scent, there are many others that can promote relaxation too. Some of these smells include Valerian, Jatamansi, Jasmine, Bergamot, Chamomile, Rose, Fennel, and Veltiver to name a few (McDermott, 2021). All of these can be bought as essential oils. Most essential oils require dilution and can be used in a variety of ways such as in a diffuser, bath, massaged onto skin, or inhaled directly. Some people even use them on lava stone bracelets or essential oil bottle necklaces. Once you choose a smell that best suits you, take a minute to search for creative ways to use it. 

With so many scents to choose from, it may be hard to determine a starting point. You don’t need to worry, there is a better way than going out and buying 8 different essential oils. Start with the scent family you like best. If you are not already familiar, the sent families are oriental, fresh, woody, and floral. You can easily categorize scents through a Google search. Fennel is oriental. Bergamot is fresh. Valerian is woody. Chamomile is floral. It is possible for some scents to fall between two families as well, such as lavender being aromatic or fresh and woody. 

I hope you found some knowledge on why your deep sleep lotion actually works, and gained some interest in experimenting with other ways smelling can help you relax.



Breus, D. M. (2018, August 7). The relaxing & health-boosting powers of lavender. The Sleep Doctor. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from 

McDermott, A. (2021, June 1). The Best Essential Oils for anxiety. Healthline. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from 

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