How sleep and smell are linked


Research from the National Sleep Foundation has revealed that as many as 61% of women suffer from sleep difficulties in their menopausal years. In fact, disrupted sleep is one of the first indicators for women that they might indeed be peri-menopausal.

Born from the need to get her own sleep back on track and counter the effects of a life full of deadlines and jet lag inducing travel, Jo Foster founded the beauty & wellness products company, Kiss the Moon, creating products that tap into the power of nature’s soothing ingredients to help with sleep.  Here she shares her thoughts on how sleep, smell, and finding the right aroma could help you drift off to sleep, in these menopausal sleep-challenged nights!

Jo Foster writes:

If you’ve tried all the usual tricks to drop off and they are not working, maybe it’s time to start using your nose.

You could say that smell is our most ancient sense. It’s registered in one of the oldest parts of our brain - the limbic system - along with the other activities that are vital to our survival such as hunger, thirst, memory, sexual response and - importantly - sleep. Smell and sleep it seems, have been woven together from the beginning.  

The most powerful sleep
It’s well documented that smell is closely linked to memory - the smell of tangerines immediately makes me think of watching Disney films on TV during the Christmas holidays when I was small, for example. What’s even more interesting is how different scents have the power to influence how calm we are and therefore how readily we can get to sleep. Research has shown that breathing in certain scents can help to bring the two hemispheres of our brain into harmony (the left hand - logical, intellectual side and the right hand - intuitive, feeling side). When they are in harmony we experience feelings of calm and wellbeing. Some scents, known as the ‘calming antidepressants’ in the world of aromatherapy (such as Jasmine, Rose and Orange essential oils) can influence both sides, changing the brains rhythm, helping to induce a state close to meditation. The more balanced our brains are, the safer we can feel and therefore the easier it is to fall into a restful sleep.

Trust your intuition

Our sense of smell is also very intuitive. Smells that we are drawn towards are probably doing us some good at a subconscious level. Similarly, those that make us curl up our noses are probably best avoided. What works for one person might not work for the next. We've developed four sleep-inducing blends - so you can find your best match and a scent that works for you. We’ve called them Love, Glow, Calm and Dream using essential oils to lull you gently to sleep and calm the soul. 

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Wake up happier
Researchers in Germany have discovered that going to bed in a sweetly scented room can help you to wake up happier. They filled the bedroom of sleeping subjects with either the scent of rose or of rotten egg. The rose sleepers consistently reported back with more positive dreams and woke up feeling more content - suggesting that pleasant smells could help you wake up feeling better about the day ahead.

We're great believers in a scented bath before bed. As well as being a moment of calm at the end of a busy day, the warm water can ease away aches and pains and help your muscles relax before bed. On top of its soothing powers, a bedtime bath also works on a sub-conscious level as it kick starts a change in body temperature that signals to our body that it is time to sleep. Using a scented bath oil or bath salts means you not only benefit from the essential oils on your skin but also through your olfactory system as you breathe in the sleep-inducing aroma

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Alternatively, you can delicately scent your room before sleeping using a natural pillow mist or aromatherapy candle. Burning an aromatherapy candle for just half an hour before bedtime will fill the room with a natural sleep-inducing aroma. Just remember to blow it out!


Kiss the Moon – the beauty sleep specialists Everything in the range is 100% natural, made without cruelty to animals and proudly made in the UK.

Kiss the Moon are offering HotFlush readers a 15% discount until June 30th using the code 15HOTFLUSH at the checkout on their website, Kiss the Moon.


Sleep beautifully everyone xx

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