These smells will help you drift off to sleep faster

It’s not only lavender that helps you catch those Zs

A white Oil Diffuser / Humidifier in a Domestic Setting - stock photo
(Image credit: Getty Images / Catherine Falls Commercial)

Sleep is a vital part of our wellbeing and a lack of it can seriously affect our physical and mental health. But even though we may know how many hours of sleep we need and might own one of the best sleep trackers, it doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes we need to create the perfect sleep environment to drift off into dreamland and now, thanks to a fragrance specialist, we know the best smells to help us sleep.

You might not think a smell can do much if you’re struggling to snooze, but there’s a reason why we’re all so obsessed with oil diffusers and cozy candles. Creating a zen space, full of comforting and familiar scents, will help you relax, calm your thoughts and tell your brain it’s time for bed.

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Adam Kuylenstierna / EyeEm)


Courtesy of MattressNextDayand Eudora Nwasike, a certified fragrance specialist, we now know all the best scents that will ease our anxieties and stresses and get us ready to drift off. 

1. Neroli 

First up is neroli, a fresh smell that promotes relaxation. Nwasike explains that it’s an “airy, citrusy green scent with hints of honey and orange.” It is well-known for easing stress and even stabilizing blood pressure.

Nwasike also adds that it has a “slightly hypnotic feeling and can be a helpful catalyst for lucid dreaming and sparking creativity.”

2. Lavender 

Lavender is a tried and tested sleep remedy, and is often found in natural sleep aids. Several studies have shown that lavender can actually improve your overall quality of sleep and ease anxiety. Nwasike explains that lavender is so effective because it actually has “sedative properties”.

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Anna Blazhuk)

You can find lavender essential oils to add to diffusers, or pillow sprays that will help you fall asleep to the gentle, floral scent. TikToker's have also been adding lavender or eucalyptus bouquets to their showers for a spa life experience.

3. Ylang-Ylang 

Ylang-ylang has similar benefits to lavender oil and is a great alternative if you’re not a lover of the lavender smell. Ylang-ylang has been found to reduce anxiety and even boost self-esteem.

4. Sandalwood

Psychology Today states that sandalwood has sedative effects and improves your non-REM sleep. It’s a soft, woody scent that makes any room feel instantly cozy, as if there’s a log fire burning. It’s a dreamy candle smell, reminiscent of autumn.

Nwasike explains that it can help with “anxiety, fatigue, high blood pressure, insomnia and more.” 

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Anastasiia Krivenok)

5. Chamomile  

Chamomile is often found in tea form because it’s so calming. You can snuggle up in bed with a cup of hot chamomile for example, and you’ll likely drift off quickly—although in our experience it may also make you need to get up in the night to pee…

The scent of chamomile is soft and is proven to reduce anxiety. It can also be found in a lot of perfumes.

Cosy autumn tea ritual at home - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Alina Nechaeva)

6. Rose

Rose is naturally relaxing and perfect for those dealing with stress. Studies have also found that rose scent can actually improve your learning while you sleep—meaning it’s not only a great sleep companion but also ideal for those who are studying. Rose is really easy to find in oil and candle form.


Nwasike even makes a case for wearing perfume to bed and explains that smells affect the brain, especially when it comes to memory. So wearing a familiar scent to bed will stimulate the “primitive parts of our memory” and will help you feel more relaxed.

It will also help your brain recognize the scent and associate it with sleep—so it’s important to wear the same smells to bed if you want to try out the perfume route.

Nwasike goes on to say: “The essential oil in perfumes soothes the mind, relaxes the body and reduces stress levels.”

Naomi Jamieson
Naomi Jamieson

Naomi is a trainee News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on fashion, wellbeing, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life and is training for an NCTJ Qualification. 

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.