How to use Scented Candles to Help Sleep Well | Sleep Hub

Posted by Bensons for Beds on 24th Mar 2020

How to use Scented Candles to Help Sleep Well | Sleep Hub

Scented candles can help to create different moods within your home, whether you want something calming at the end of a difficult day or something more invigorating, to energise you for the day ahead. Their beautiful, evocative fragrances can fill a room and certain scents are thought to help you relax

But can scented candles actually help you to get to sleep at night?

In this article, Dr Will Locke, Head of Research Development and Compliance at Wax Lyrical, a leading UK based home fragrance brand, tells us about Wax Lyrical and how scented candles can help to relax us and promote better sleep.

Who are Wax Lyrical?

Wax Lyrical is a company which develops, manufactures, and delivers world-class home fragrance and hand care products. We are based in the stunning surroundings of the English Lake District and we’re proud to be based in the UK.

We manufacture over 97% of our products from our factory in beautiful Cumbria and we export to over 40 countries around the world, helping to support British businesses and manufacturing.

Wax Lyrical is a green company, dedicated to making our products and packaging as environmentally friendly as we possibly can. Our packaging is sustainably sourced from trees in the North West and we also have a large wind turbine outside of our factory in the Lake District.

Wax Lyrical has even won the Insider Made in the North West Award for Green Innovation.

What is aromatherapy?

A row of tiny liquid filled bottles lying flat with alternate sprigs of flowers

Calming scented candles and their fragrances often have their basis in aromatherapy and essential oils. Aromatherapy is an holistic therapy which uses natural ingredients such as plant extracts and oils to promote health and wellbeing. It is thought that aromatherapy oils can help to support normal physical and emotional health.

Aromatherapy has been used as a complementary therapy for thousands of years and has been used by ancient cultures all over the world including India, China and Egypt amongst others. [1]

Candles and diffusers: how to use scents to unwind at night time

Lighting a candle in the evening, an hour or so before bedtime, helps you to unwind and relax and this puts you in the mood to go to sleep. Doing this can form part of a routine of slowing down and relaxing at the end of a busy day and this gets both your brain and body ready to start thinking about going to sleep.

As an alternative to a candle, you could also use essential oils or scents in a diffuser. A diffuser will fill your room with scent as it spreads the fragrance through the air. An added benefit is that you don’t need to blow out a diffuser before you go to bed like you do with a candle.

When it comes to scented candles, everyone has a different sense of smell. Most people might agree that a fragrance smells nice but each person will have individual thoughts on which fragrances they prefer.

This means that the best candle to relax you before bedtime might be different to someone else’s. If a certain scent doesn’t work for you, it may be worth trying another instead.

What are the best candles for relaxation?

Woman smelling two lit candles

Many of us find it difficult to truly relax and wind down before we go to sleep. And we have all been there, lying in bed, replaying everything that happened during the day over and over in our heads or worrying about other things going on in our lives.

There are a variety of different scents which can help to promote a relaxing and calming atmosphere in your home. Some of the best candles for relaxation include ones which have geranium, rose water and chamomile.


Geranium is a flowering shrub which is native to South Africa. It has a sweet, floral scent which has been used in perfumes and soaps for many years. Its scent is thought to have a calming effect on your emotions. [2]


You might have had a chamomile tea, but have you tried a chamomile scented candle? Chamomile essential oils are thought to have several beneficial effects, including helping to support a normal night’s sleep and reducing feelings of worry. [3]

Rose water

Calming candles for anxiety are ones which contain rose essential oils or rose water. [4] Made from water and rose petals, rose water has a sweet scent and has been used in traditional medicine in the Middle East as far back as the 7 th century.[5]

The very act of taking some time to yourself and lighting a scented candle can help to relax you. Try having a bit of quiet time or popping on some relaxing music, indulging in a soothing hot drink and lighting your favourite candle and feel the stresses of your day melt away.

The best candles to help you sleep

A candle, small bowl of pink salt, a sprig of lavender and a rolled up cloth lie on a wooden holder across a bath. Soft focus on candles in background.

We all know that sleep is very important for our wellbeing and yet a lot us are dissatisfied with the quality or the amount of sleep we they get each night. Anything we can do to improve our quality of sleep has to be well worth trying and the good news is that there are a number candle scents you can try that could help you to sleep better.

Some fragrances which are present in scented candles are known to promote sleep. As human, we have neurotransmitters in our bodies, including dopamine, histamine and serotonin, which are sometimes referred to as they body’s chemical messengers. [6]

These neurotransmitters work to keep your brain alert while you’re awake but they can sometimes keep you up when you want to go to sleep. [7] Ingredients in some scented candles have been shown to slow these neurotransmitters down and that can actually help you to get to sleep.

And did you know that we can also smell scents while we are sleeping?! Scientists have monitored people’s brain activity while they are sleeping and they can see changes when they are exposed to fragrances. Of course, for safety’s sake, to avoid the risk of fire, it is important to remember to blow out all candles before you go to sleep!

Here are some of the best scented sleep candles which can help you drift off into a peaceful sleep:


A flowering plant from the mint family [8], Lavender is perhaps the most well-known scent which promotes sleep. It has a light, floral scent and helps to relax both the body and mind and may help you to drift off to sleep. Some studies have shown that it can also help to improve the quality of your sleep. [9]


A favourite of the three kings, frankincense isn’t just for Christmas! It’s actually a hardened resin which comes from the Boswellia tree and it is used as an ingredient in lotions, perfumes and soaps as well as scented candles and other home fragrance products. [10]

Frankincense is sweet and woody with notes of citrus and spice. It is thought to help calm feelings of stress and promote relaxation, helping you to fall asleep. [11]


Native to the Mediterranean and North Africa, marjoram is a herb with is similar to oregano. It has a spicy scent with notes of pepper. It is thought to support the normal relaxation of your joints and muscles at night time, creating a peaceful feeling which can help you drift off to the land of nod. [12]

How to get the best out of your scented candles

Woman trimming wick on a florally decorated candle in a glass container

There’s more to it than just lighting a candle and leaving them. Here are a couple of tips to help you make the most of your scented candles.

Beware the risk of fire

Take care when lighting your candle and to reduce the risk of fire, never leave your candle burning unattended. Make sure there’s nothing loose hanging over your candle, such as clothing or curtains and be sure to blow it out completely before you go to sleep.

Getting your candle to burn evenly

The first time you light your candle, make sure the whole of the top surface of the wax has melted before you then put it out. If you don’t do this, you could end up with your candle burning down the middle, rather than burning evenly. This is called tunnelling. [13]

Maximising the scent from your candle

You usually get the best fragrance from your scented candle after around an hour of burning when you have a large wax pool so be sure to light it early and let it burn for a while before enjoying it.

If you’re exposed to a fragrance for more than 20-30 minutes then you stop noticing it. Having different scents in different rooms means that you’ll immediately notice a new fragrance when you leave the room. Remember though that you can’t leave a burning candle unattended so you could use diffusers instead.

Keeping your candle free from soot

Before lighting your candle, be sure to remove the dust and soot stains from the candle’s jar using warm water and an old cloth. If you don’t do this then the smell of burning can overpower the scent of your candle and the scent won’t last as long. [14]

Trimming the wick

Trimming the wick of your candle can help it to last longer. Leaving your wick long can create a larger flame and melt more wax, creating more soot as it burns and leaving the candle and its jar looking dirty. [15]

And finally, enjoy!

To watch the full interview with Dr Will Locke, click here: