Scents to Help You Wake Up and Feel Energized

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Sniffing away grogginess has never been easier.

Just as certain scents like lavender can help you drift off to sleep, other aromas can be just what you need to feel alert and awake. With any of the following smells, look for essential oils, shampoos, body washes, lotions, or teas that feature the scent and take a whiff first thing in the morning. (If these don’t do the trick, try combining the scents with a specific color to really wake yourself up.)

  1. Citrus: Lemons, oranges, and grapefruits aren’t just delicious and nutritious—the smell of the fruits can boost your body’s production of serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel happy. They also reduce levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine, so you’ll wake up but still feel calm. Lemon might be the most powerful of the citrus smells—it’s been shown that smelling it can increase mental stimulation. Since these scents come from everyday foods, you could try eating a grapefruit each morning or squeezing some lemon or orange juice into a smoothie.
  2. Peppermint: It’s probably no surprise that this refreshing scent will make you feel alert, focused, and stimulated. In fact, peppermint also helps you perform better on tasks that require sustained attention. Peppermint tea is especially soothing and aromatic.
  3. Rosemary: The smell of this common herb will get your brain revved up and working again, giving you more mental and physical energy. Another bonus: Rosemary can help you perform tasks better and faster, so keep sniffing it throughout the day if you’re at work. At breakfast, sprinkle some rosemary onto your turkey sausage and eggs.
  4. Eucalyptus: This woodsy scent will definitely help wake you up, and it can also improve your empathy if you combine it with menthol and camphor. Another bonus: If you're stuffed up due to congestion, breathing in this scent may also help clear up your nasal passages. That's not bad for a simple plant that's best known as koalas’ favorite snack!