We asked Raj Dasgupta MD, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, for his take. He tells us that, yes, certain scents can help you drift off to dreamland a little more easily. "Scents have the ability to trigger memories and evoke emotions that can make it difficult to sleep," he notes. "Certain fragrances that make you happy and relaxed may promote sleep by reducing stress and anxiety."
But when it comes to sleep hygiene, scent is just one part of the picture. "Think of sleep as a puzzle and the pieces as components of getting sleep," Dr. Dasgupta says. Other important pieces: how dark your room is, the temperature, and avoiding stimulus (think smartphones, tablets, and your TV) before bedtime.
Dr. Dasgupta adds that there is research suggesting lavender to be a particularly sleep-inducing scent. "Numerous studies confirm its calming, soothing, and sedative effects," he says. "It's even been shown to work the same way biochemically that certain anti-anxiety medications do with certain neurotransmitters in your brain."
His advice: While it may not be the answer to everyone's insomnia, skincare products that contain lavender could be worth trying before you reach for over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. "If the missing piece of your sleep puzzle is smell, maybe try this body spray and lotion," he says.