Generally speaking, during the night, there aren’t too many smells to contend with when your brain is trying to sleep, but during the day, the world is bustling around us, making sleep more elusive than ever. Your family might be in the kitchen making pancakes and bacon, or they could be whipping up a batch of fresh cookies; your neighbor might have just cut the grass and the fresh scent drifts into your window. These smells can hinder our ability to get sound sleep during the day, but the ideas on this page will have you sleeping like a baby!
Interesting fact: Scent receptors are 10,000 times more accurate than taste buds and experts believe our sense of smell is our most influential sense!
The amygdala is an almond shaped structure in the frontal portion of the brain that stores information from memories and causes us to perceive emotions. It is most known for your ability to feel fear, although as we learn more about the amygdala, we know that it is intimately related to the olfactory system (your sense of smell). If you have ever smelled something and are immediately transported back in time to your grandmother’s kitchen, or a childhood place, or even an unpleasant memory that suddenly seems crystal clear, you have just experienced your limbic system, specifically your amygdala in action.
In a study in Las Vegas, they released pleasurable scents into the casino through the vents and the amount of money people were gambling actually doubled! Another article talks about how a movie theater was secretly putting buttery popcorn scents through the air conditioning vents and the amount of popcorn people ate, even if it was stale almost tripled!
Certain smells will travel into your nose and your olfactory receptors and reach the amygdala through sensory transduction. This causes our bodies to have various reactions to the smells. Lucky for us, our olfactory system can also relay information to our brains that help us to stay calm and to sleep better if we use the right scents.
People have been using essential oils and herbal scents for thousands of years. It has only recently become a billion-dollar business. Essential oils are extracts made from plants that are steamed or pressed to expel their fragrance. Research has proven that being exposed to a pleasant smell can actually cause you to have better dreams.
An essential oil diffuser can be easily purchased for a cheap price at Walmart or target or even shipped straight to your door from amazon. If you don’t want the diffuser, many oils can be rubbed directly on the skin or dabbed on the neck or wrist. The great thing about the oils is that you can use as little or as much as you want. Always start with a small amount for the rare occasion you might have a reaction to it. Oils are generally safe, although some people may react differently. Some oils come in packs or groups specific to your needs. There are hundreds of different oils and diffusers for everything from an aching toe, to headaches, sinus infections and Alzheimer’s. I am going to focus on the ones for sleep here though.
Here are a list of some of the top sellers of diffusers at a reasonable price.
2. Second on the list is a smaller diffuser that is BPA free, has an automatic shut off switch and all of the benefits of the first diffuser, but a much cheaper price and a different style for you. The only drawback is that you will need to purchase the oils separately. But at 14.99, it’s a steal!
If you know someone who might benefit from some essential oils, say a coworker, or a family member, or maybe a friend, this diffuser comes with a full set of essential oils and a rotating stand as well. Talk about fancy!
Although aromatherapy and essential oils have massive benefits for most people, always be cautious about trying a new type of therapy for yourself. If you are on any medications or have any conditions, please ask your doctor before using any of these ideas. Also, be careful of prolonged exposure more than an hour a day. Most diffusers have automatic shut off switches that you can program for the time you want. Pregnant women and children especially might be affected different by some of these scents. Most important of all,
Go Ahead! Try something new. It might have more benefits for you than are even written here. As always if you have any questions or feedback, write your comments below and let us know what works and doesn’t work for you. Most of the products we have recommended have come directly from another night shifter who personally has used it and attested to its advantages.