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Why does the smell of lavender help you sleep? © Istock

Why does the smell of lavender help you sleep?

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Sweet dreams, the scent of lavender will lull you to sleep – but why?

Asked by: Liz Hayes, Lutterworth


It’s not just because it reminds you of the comforting smell of your granny’s house. Lavender oil is mainly linalyl acetate and linalool, which are chemicals that are both rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies on mice have shown that these compounds inhibit several neurotransmitters and have a sedative and pain-relieving effect. In humans, lavender also lowers the heart rate and reduces anxiety.


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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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