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The lush smell of lavender is often associated with calm and relaxation. And compared to other essential oils used in aromatherapy, lavender has some pretty robust research behind it: One 2015 randomized controlled trial found that smelling lavender promoted sleep and reduced stress in a group of 60 people. Another found that when incorporated into a healthy sleep hygiene routine, lavender aromatherapy improved overall sleep quality based on Fitbit readings and sleep journals. And in a meta-analysis on 34 studies that looked into how various smells affect rest, lavender was shown to be the most effective at improving sleep quantity and quality.

Beyond its ability to promote sleep, lavender oil was also associated with enhanced immune function in one 2017 trial on pregnant women who received aromatherapy massages. Compared to a control group, those who lathered up with lavender had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of IgA, an antibody blood protein, following their massages.

Lavender oil can also be taken orally in supplements, like mindbodygreen’s calm+, which contains a trio of EU organic hemp oil, ashwagandha, and of course, lavender oil. This interacts with the nervous system in a neuroprotective way and is clinically shown to provide mood stabilizing and calming effects.*

Try it in: A nighttime diffuser blend, candle, facial steam, or calming supplement.

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