When it comes to the quality of our sleep, women are twice as likely to report problems such as not getting enough sleep or feeling sleepy during the day, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Hormones, work stress and having too much to do in too little time are a few contributors to sleep issues, the NSF reports.
But according to a new international NSF survey, the air quality in the bedroom trumps demanding bosses, overcrowded schedules and hormonal swings as factors affecting sleep quality.
The survey noted that more than 90 percent of survey respondents in Mexico and Germany credit the pleasant scent of their bedrooms with helping them fall asleep fast and sleep soundly all night long. And to ensure a pleasant-smelling room, 100 percent of Germans participating in the survey said they air out their rooms once a week. Eight out of 10 respondents in Mexico said they change their sheets at least once a week to enhance the aroma in the bedroom.
“Studies have shown that scent plays a powerful role in relaxation and memory-building,” says David Cloud, CEO, National Sleep Foundation. “Having a pleasant scent and a relaxing bedroom routine can contribute to a good night’s sleep. No matter what your nationality, you will spend about a third of your life in bed. Fresh air and a pleasant scent are great ways to improve your sleep experience.”
In a study conducted at Britain’s University of Southampton, researchers discovered adults who slept in a room scented with lavender oil ranked the quality of their sleep on average 20 percent better than adults who slept in a room scented with a placebo.
Indeed, lavender and jasmine are popular “bedroom smells,” but Russell Rosenberg, director of research and investigator at NeuroTrials Research, an NSF immediate past chairman and a member of the NSF 2013 International Bedroom Poll expert panel, suggested trying out any scent that helps you feel calm without overpowering your room.
But whether you choose lavender or get creative with sandalwood, florals or other scents, use caution when using candles or electric aromatics. Instead, use reed diffusers, potpourri or sachets, Rosenberg said.