How Do Scented Candles Affect Mood?

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In addition to lighting up a room, scented candles bring pleasant aromas into your home. Some research suggests that candles scented with real essential oils do more than improve the atmosphere; they can actually affect your attitude. By triggering parts of your brain that signal your body to relax, scented aromatherapy candles can boost your mood and reduce your stress levels.

Lowering Blood Pressure

  • A study by Dr. Gary E. Schwartz, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Yale University, suggests that some scents released by aromatherapy candles can help temporarily lower blood pressure. When stressed-out volunteers were exposed to certain scented candles, their blood pressure dropped an average of three to five points, a reduction comparable to an extended meditation session. The smell of spiced apple was found to be particularly effective. When a scented candle triggers your blood pressure to drop, you feel more relaxed and are likely to be in a better mood.

Combating Insomnia

  • Some scented candle users report that certain scents help them fall asleep more easily at night. Lavender and sandalwood reportedly help calm you and reduce anxiety. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that inhaling lavender helps many people with sleeping disorders fall asleep. Additionally, both lavender and sandalwood help people experience deeper, more restful sleep. When you sleep well at night, you feel more refreshed and energetic during your waking hours. Some studies also suggest that the smell of lavender helps you feel more positive.

Improving Symptoms of Depression

  • While no aromatherapy treatment can "cure" depression, a serious medical condition, inhaling the aroma of scented candles can give depression sufferers temporary relief. Scents like peppermint, lemon, chamomile and jasmine have shown to help boost moods by targeting the endocrine system, causing the brain to release tension, nervousness and negative emotions. Since the sense of smell is so closely linked with the emotional centers of the brain, specific scents -- including cinnamon, vanilla, rose and cedar -- can help relieve some depression symptoms by triggering happy memories.

Boosting Energy

  • Aromatherapy candles can also improve your mood by lifting your energy levels. Citrus scents like grapefruit, orange and lemon may make you feel more excited, energetic and positive throughout the day. A study conducted by Mie University in Japan linked inhaling citrus scents to improved immunity, which helps protect you from illness, keeping your energy levels higher. The aroma of grapefruit in particular may trigger feelings of joy and happiness, making you feel more alert and energetic. Similarly, the smell of peppermint acts as a stimulant to help combat drowsiness, according to William N. Dember, a former professor at the University of Cincinnati.

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