Updated: Jul 23
To most people, a smell isn’t just a fragrance — it’s a memory. When you get a whiff of chocolate chip cookies, you may think of baking in your Mom’s kitchen. When a warm breeze blows the smell of fresh flowers, you’re instantly rocketed back to your first dance and the corsage your date brought.
And these nostalgic ties aren’t just a coincidence — there’s science behind why we cherish these aromas. Our olfactory response is directly linked to the emotional center of our brain, causing a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings with a simple sniff. Unlike touch or taste, scents are directly correlated with past experiences. It’s no wonder the smell of rain or the scent of a swimming pool makes us so reminiscent.
But aside from their memory-inducing powers, certain scents can also do amazing things for our mind and body. From stress relief to headache relief, certain aromas have a way of making an impact (and positively so). In honor of Sense of Smell Day, below find 11 scents that are more than just a nice fragrance — they benefit your well-being.
Lavender can help you sleep.
As a go-to scent for relaxation, lavender can help calm the mind and body almost instantly. But perhaps it's most useful benefit is its ability to help treat insomnia in students. In a study of 42 college women, research found that the fragrance effectively eased sleep problems and depression in the participants. Next time you’re having trouble getting your shuteye, try turning to the soothing scent for a little help.