Using This At Night Could Boost Your Memory In Later Life

Our senses can take us a long way.
Woman sleeping cozily on a bed in her bedroom at night
bymuratdeniz via Getty Images
Woman sleeping cozily on a bed in her bedroom at night

Ever walked past somebody that uses the same perfume as an old friend? Or smell food that takes you back somewhere?

For me, it’s hot doughnuts. Whenever it’s chilly and I smell those hot, sugary doughnuts, I’m instantly transported back to my home city of Liverpool. It doesn’t matter where I am when the smell happens, I’m home the second it hits me.

Smell can be such a powerful sense and, according to scientists at the University of California, it could actually be used to treat dementia patients in the near future.

Fragrance can boost memory in older adults

Researchers worked with people between the ages of 60 and 85 who didn’t have memory impairment. They were all given a diffuser and seven cartridges, each containing a single and different natural oil.

The group of participants was split into two – the “enriched” group that got full-strength fragrance cartridges and the control group who were given the oils in tiny amounts. Participants were asked to put a different cartridge into their diffuser each evening prior to going to bed and it activated for just two hours as they slept.

Following the trial, the researchers found a 226% increase in cognitive performance for the “enriched” group compared to the control group; they also reported an overall improvement in sleep quality.

According to the researchers, scientists have long known that the ability to smell can predict development of nearly 70 neurological and psychiatric diseases. These include Alzheimer’s, and other dementias, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and alcoholism. The researchers add that there is a link between COVID-induced smell loss and memory decline.

The team stated that they’d like to next study this technique’s impact on people who are already experiencing cognitive decline. They hope that their findings will lead to more investigations into scent-based therapies for memory impairment.

Finally, a product based on their study and designed for people to use at home is expected to be released later this year – exciting stuff!