Evenings are a time to wind down from work or school and to relax. Thus, having that peaceful ambiance is vital to preparing your mind for rest before the coming day. In this regard, lighting a candle in your home is indispensable. Various cultures in history and across the world have used candles to evoke peace when meditating or when conducting sacred rituals in a particular place. Today, science has unraveled the magic behind a candle’s charm. Essentially, the appeal of candles comes from the scents they give off, which affects the brain in various ways.
Here are three benefits that candles can offer to you:
(1) They may improve performance and health
A group of researchers from Northumbria has demonstrated how the smell of rosemary oil aroma improved the speed and accuracy in their study’s participants. If you need to burn the midnight oil for tomorrow’s test or work report, a rosemary-scented candle can help you focus.
The smell of peppermint and cinnamon, in particular, can trick you into feeling lighter even if you do a tedious task such as an evening workout or study session, according to researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University. Thus, lighting a candle which exudes these aromas can make you feel motivated to do something even at night.
Another study conducted by University of Pittsburgh researchers found that peppermint and vanilla scents reduced smokers’ craving for cigarettes. This means that smokers planning to quit can use vanilla or peppermint-scented candles every night to aid their efforts.
Scented candles are also used in mindfulness meditation so that the person who meditates can focus on nothing else but the scent of the candle. Consistently doing mindfulness meditation has been shown to have benefits, ranging from increased alertness to longer life spans. If you want to reap the benefits of mindfulness meditation, you can try using a scented candle to help you meet your health goals.
(2) They lessen your pain and brighten your mood
In a study published in the Indian Journal of Palliative Health Care, a group of researchers has found how the smell of oranges reduced the feeling of pain among patients who experienced fractured limbs. Institute of Aroma Studies director Jeanne Rose suggests that women should sniff rose and spikenard scents to help them cope with sexual, psychological, and physical traumas. Thus, lighting scented candles which exude orange or rose fragrances can help you deal with the blues if you are going through a tough time.
Many behavioral studies have pointed out how certain scents evoke happy and painful memories. If you want to remember positive memories just to perk yourself up, you might want to light a candle in the dark to help you temporarily escape the darkness and hopelessness of reality. As the wax melts, your mind will clear and make it easier for you to think about how to face your problems rationally and constructively.
(3) They help you have better-quality sleep
Using gadgets before you sleep can delay the onset of your deep sleep. This, in turn, can ruin the quality of your slumber. Habitual use of devices before you sleep can eventually lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia. The reason for these problems is that electronics emit UV light which disrupts your brain’s timely release of sleep hormones. Candles, on the other hand, don’t emit UV light.
You will need to discipline yourself when it comes to resisting the urge to use gadgets before bedtime. Try to stop using your devices at least three hours before you sleep and keep them away from your bedroom. An hour before you sleep, turn off the lights and light a scented candle in one corner. Lay down on your bed and let the sleep set in. The candle will provide your room with a relaxing atmosphere and conducive lighting that will help you drift off into dreamland.
Some safety reminders
If you are planning to use scented candles, make sure that you don’t place them near items that may catch fire such as curtains, papers, and wooden walls and furniture, especially if you are going to use candles to aid your sleep. Don’t use scented candles too often for too long and in areas with poor ventilation as it may lead to indoor pollution in your room, which can cause respiratory problems. It’s best to opt for scented candles that are not made of harmful chemicals as their source of fragrance at all.
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