A person's memory may be enhanced by simply inhaling essential oils during sleep.
A professor of neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine conducted a small experiment that only involved 23 adults aged 60 to 85 who had no issues with dementia. The participants were divided into two groups.
Participants in one group were given an aromatherapy diffuser along with 7 oils: rose, orange, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, rosemary and lavender. This group diffused the oils for two hours when they first went to bed and rotated the oils that were used each night. The control group received a diffuser as well but instead of essential oils, they were given distilled water with untraceable amounts of odorants added. The experiment was conducted over six months.
At the beginning of the study, the participants completed a word-list test used to evaluate verbal learning and memory and this test was repeated at the end of the six month period. Researchers found that participants in the aromatherapy group had a 225 percent increase in their cognitive ability compared to the control group.
Researchers note that despite the study being so small, the results do mirror other published studies and results found in other labs that suggest that smell can have an impact on post-sleep memory. It is believed that cognition improvement may be related to the fact that the area of the brain that processes odors is the same area that processes emotions, learning and memory.