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Sleep and Stress Relief With a Diffuser Humidifier

Updated on January 19, 2017
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Greenmind is a writer, teacher, parent, musician, and nature freak. He has fought insomnia and sleep issues for many years.

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What Is a Diffuser Humidifier?

A diffuser humidifier is a cool little unit that infuses your room with the scent of essential oils, while at the same time conditioning the air to give the atmosphere a tropical touch. It can help with healthy sleep and sleep-related issues, as well as stress relief. For me, it means having a room that I can retreat to when I've had a long stressful day, or a morning refuge to visit before I go to work. Diffuser humidifiers also have the benefit of better, more restful sleep. During the winter or other dry months, humidified air is easier on breathing passages while you sleep, so many people keep one in their bedroom.

Another nice benefit of these units is the essential oil feature. Since scent is closely connected to emotional well-being and stress, having warm scented air in your study, den, or bedroom can make your life just a little bit less stressful and more restful. There are essential oils and combinations (listed later in this article) that are thought to affect particular emotions and states of mind. In the morning, a nice sage or pine and spice aroma can really help get you out of the door in a good mind-set. Since you can choose from thousands of combinations, you can find the right scent for the right situation for stress relief, healthy sleep, or other key parts of well-being and balance.

Diffuser humidifiers are affordable and require little maintenance, but they can make a real difference in your mood. Spend some time in a room with warm, scented air, and your state of mind is naturally lifted.

Scent and Mood – the Latest Research

In a recent report for Scientific American, Rachel S. Herz, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, summarized some of what is known about the effect of scent on stress levels and state of mind. According to Herz, smells have been shown to affect people’s mood, work performance, and behavior. One interesting reason is that there are specific memories that we come to associate with specific odors. This is known as linking, and it occurs with other senses and memories as well. The connection to smell, however, is thought to be especially intense thanks to the unique mechanism by which smell connects to our brain. This gives smell a special place as the sense most associated with intense emotion.

Memory, Emotion, and Our Sense of Smell

Smell, more than any other sense, triggers memory, which in turn can stir up our emotions. This is thought to be due to the fact that scent molecules land on the part of the brain involved in emotional response. Smell, like taste, is a form of chemoreception, meaning the stimuli molecules are the direct cause of the sense that we experience. Compare this with touch, hearing, or sight, and you can see that these two senses are unique in the way that they put your brain in direct contact with substances in the environment. Furthermore, scent is a far more varied experience than taste, which has four basic categories. Smell, by contrast, has as many different elements as there are substances in the world.

My Favorite Diffuser Humidifier

I'm extraordinarily picky about scent, and I'm almost as picky about the appearance of furnishings in my home. I like the VicTaing wood grain diffuser humidifier for its appearance, and for its nearly silent operation. One of our favorite rooms in the house features this diffuser on a low side table. The lights are low and the furniture is comfy, and after a long day it's a perfect place to retreat to, The scent and warmth that our diffuser brings to the room is key to the rejuvenating, welcoming environment. Stress doesn't stand a chance when I'm in the Scent Room.

Scent and Your Mood

The essential oils activated by diffusers, candles, and other sources of scent, act directly on our emotions. If you're feeling stress, or having trouble sleeping, this is important. Smell is unique in its ability to trigger emotions thanks to the way the stimulus “lands” directly on that part of your brain that determines your state of mind and your memory. If the smell (stimulus) triggers a good memory or a relaxing sense of well-being, then you experience good emotions in a way that isn’t triggered by tasting or hearing something. You may already be aware of this – for me, it’s the way the smell of a freshly mowed lawn immediately reminds me of growing up in a small town and cutting the grass every Saturday. It’s a sweet sense of nostalgia, and it happens because those grass-scent molecules have floated through the air, into my nose, through the nasal passages, and landed right on a part of my brain. As Herz says,

“The olfactory bulbs are part of the limbic system and directly connect with limbic structures that process emotion (the amygdala) and associative learning (the hippocampus). No other sensory system has this type of intimate link with the neural areas of emotion and associative learning, therefore there is a strong neurological basis for why odors trigger emotional connections.”

Watch One in Action

Essential Oils and Mood

With a diffuser humidifier, you can dial in a mood-lifting scent any time you want. These affordable, reliable units can actually make a difference in your state of mind and the way you sleep, depending on the kind of oils you choose. Here are some that are thought to affect different moods, according to essentialoils.co.za:

  • Alertness Basil, Bergamot, Black pepper, Grapefruit, Peppermint, Rosemary
  • Assertiveness Basil, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ylang-Ylang, Lime
  • Concentration Lemon, Basil, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Frankincense, Chamomile Roman
  • Confidence Cypress, Fennel, Ginger, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Orange, Pine
  • Contentment Cypress, Lavender, Bergamot, Orange, Sandalwood, Cloves, Ylang-Ylang
  • Creativity Bergamot, Lemon, Frankincense, Neroli, Rose, Jasmine, Cloves
  • Focus Thyme, Lemon, Fennel, Bergamot, Basil, Cypress, Cinnamon
  • Happiness Orange, Rose, Jasmine, Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon, Geranium
  • Joy Sandalwood, Frankincense, Lemon, Petitgrain, Orange, Bergamot
  • Peace Chamomile Roman, Neroli, Juniper, Frankincense, Melissa, Yarrow
  • Performance Bay, Bergamot, Frankincense, Lemon, Grapefruit, Lavender, Jasmine
  • Positive Basil, Lemon, Grapefruit, Myrrh, Patchouli, Geranium, Frankincense
  • Restfulness Lavender, Geranium, Clary sage, Neroli, Sandalwood
  • Self-awareness Cypress, Clary sage, Jasmine, Coriander, Cloves, Sandalwood
  • Self-esteem Jasmine, Geranium, Cedarwood, Sandalwood
  • Self-image Orange, Lavender, Melissa, Neroli, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Bay, Pine, Nutmeg
  • Stress Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon, Geranium

A Spa in Your Bedroom

With the right combination of light, music, and the scented environment of a diffuser humidifier, you can create a virtual spa environment in your own home. I sometimes use a diffuser and my Drift light bulb, which glows with a natural-spectrum light that slowly fades to black, recreating a sunset and easing relaxation at the end of the day. The scent of the oil and the dim lighting, combined with a custom, stress-relieving musical playlist, really works for me at the end of the day. As you can imagine, it's also a wonderful sleep aid. You will of course find your own combination of atmospherics that works for you.

Happy Relaxing!

Sources

  • Herz, Rachel S. "Do scents affect people's moods or work performance?" Scientific American.
  • Warrenburg, Stephen. "Effects of Fragrance on Emotions: Moods and Physiology." Oxford Journals, Medicine & Health & Science & Mathematics, Volume 30, Issue suppl 1.
  • http://essentialoils.co.za

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    • profile image

      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks ago

      I love this! I will be getting one! Thanks for the information on which scents invoke what feelings.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 weeks ago

      This is new information for me on humidifiers that provide stress relief. Good to know and to research. Thanks for the valuable education.

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