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Fragrance and Sleep

May 23rd, 2011 by ECOYA

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For many of us, sleep really can come at a premium some nights. We lead stressful, hectic, active lives and when it’s time to finally lie down to sleep we need all of the help we can get to fall asleep quickly and get the rest we need.

Adults and children alike can suffer from the likes of insomnia or nightmares. The frantic pace of the modern world means that all too often we go to bed with our heads whirling, our thoughts racing with that day’s unfinished to-do list and panic about the one ahead. The transition from sleep to wake, marked in pre-television days by cups of cocoa round the fire and quiet conversation is now often a final frantic dash to get everything completed, followed by collapsing into bed. The likes of late night TV, caffeine and alcohol don’t help our situation much either, over stimulating and causing broken sleep patterns that we feel all of the next day. A deep, restful sleep is essential in order for your body to restore and revitalize, and that gift could be just one great fragrance away.

"Scents can have positive effects on mood, stress reduction, sleep enhancement, self-confidence, and physical and cognitive performance," says Theresa Molnar, executive director of the Sense of Smell Institute, the research and educational arm of the perfume industry's Fragrance Foundation. By becoming more aware of the way specific odours affect you personally, you may be able to enhance your health and wellbeing beyond compare.

Fragrances are a natural way to restore the gentle transition time into sleep and dreams, whether in baths, as sleep pillows or by burning scented candles in the bedroom prior to sleep. Candles used to be just a way to provide light for reading and seeing at night, but today candles have many uses and are a constant in most homes. The addition of a vast variety of scents for candles provides a way to create whatever mood or atmosphere you want or need. 

You can achieve a super relaxed mind that promotes sleep through the use of fragrance in the form of certain essential oils that could be present in candles, bodycare products or pillows. Essential oils are volatile essences that are extracted from plants, roots, leaves, fruits and the like by steam, distillation, expression, or extraction. The fragrance of certain oils has been scientifically proven to relieve stress and relax the body and mind. The essential oils that are best for relaxation and sleep include Lavender, Geranium, Rose Maroc, Marjoram, Rosewood, Clary Sage, Neroli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Chamomile and Vetiver.

Lastly, vanilla is constantly at the top of the list when it comes to the world’s most popular fragrances, and with good reason. In 1991, the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York tested the effects of five fragrances on 85 patients undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI scan. Of the fragrances tested, a vanilla-like aroma, heliotropin, was rated the most relaxing. Patients exposed to the heliotropin reported 63 per cent less anxiety and claustrophobia than those were not exposed to fragrance. The study prompted Sloan-Kettering to include vanilla fragrances as a standard part of MRI scans. A study at Tubingen University in Germany also revealed that vanilla reduced the startle reflex in both humans and animals. Because of its relaxing properties, vanilla scents are commonly used in bath products and candles to help promote restful sleep, which in turn leads to calm and happy dreams.

Vanilla Bean is one of ECOYAs six signature scents. Purchase a candle & try it out yourself here.
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