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The Scent that Helps Us Sleep
January 2011
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Aromatherapy Puts an End to Restless Nights

scentInsomnia, feelings of restlessness and irritability are widespread symptoms that negatively impact our quality of life. But there’s an alternative to sleeping pills and sedatives, say German researchers. At Ruhr-Universität-Bochum, they have discovered that a nose full of jasmine scent is as effective in soothing, relieving anxiety and promoting sleep as the most commonly prescribed medications.

In their study, the researchers worked with mice that inhaled jasmine scent released into their Plexiglas cage, and then ceased all motion and sat quietly in a corner. The researchers explained that the calming scent molecules proceed from the lungs into the blood, and then are transmitted to the brain, where they affect neurons responsible for the sleep-wake cycle.

When the mice were injected with a chemical variation of jasmine, the results were similar. In working to balance neurotransmitters in the brain, the researchers suggest that the scent of jasmine acts as strongly as a range of today’s psychotropic drugs.

Remarks Bochum cell physiologist and smell researcher Hanns Hatt, “The results can also be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy.”