Science Says You Really Should Stop and Smell the Roses—Doing So Can Give Your Brain a Boost While You Sleep

New research reveals that rose-scented incense can enhance your ability to retain information.

On a breezy spring day, there's nothing like taking a few minutes to stop and admire the beautiful blooms around you. As it turns out, stopping and smelling the roses has some pretty impressive cognitive health benefits. A new study, which was published in Scientific Reports, found that rose scents can help with information retention and learning success—and sleeping with the scent present can even give you brain a boost overnight.

rose bush

As part of the study, researchers experimented with 50 sixth grade students who studied for a test. Two groups of students were given the same language lessons, which they studied right before bedtime. One group was instructed to place rose-scented incense on their desks while studying, while the control group studied the very same material without a fragrance nearby. Afterward, the students took a vocabulary test based on the material they reviewed. Researchers placed more rose-scented incense near the test group as a retrieval cue. The students who studied with the rose-scented incense demonstrated stronger information retention than those who did not.

Some students continued to use the rose-scented incense while they slept. When the incense was used during both the study and sleeping phases, the students showed a significant increase in learning success by approximately 30 percent. "One particular finding beyond the seminal initial study was that the fragrance also works when it is present all night," Dr. Jürgen Kornmeier, co-author of the study, said in a statement. "This makes the findings suitable for everyday use."

The final takeaway? By sleeping nearby rose-scented incense, you may actually give your brain a learning boost, which allows you to retain more information that you learned throughout the day.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles