Smells that wake you up – 4 scents that will transform your morning routine, according to experts

Spritz these home fragrances to give your mornings a vitality boost

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You may not naturally be an early riser, but there are a few tricks that can help you start the day with a boost. One of the best (and most fun ways) is to harness the power of scent, integrating smells that wake you up into your morning routine to get you up, energised and focused in the morning.

We spoke to scent experts to identify the fragrances we can add to our morning routines, that paired with some other bedroom design tricks can turn you into a morning person. And yes, that does include waking up and smelling the coffee…

Smells that wake you up

1. Myrtle in the bedroom


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Your bedtime routine may include a scented bath followed by a spritz of pillow spray to help you sleep, but fragrance can have a powerful impact in the morning, too. You don't even have to get out of bed to feel the effect if you have a diffuser or atomiser on your bedside table using the best home fragrance to help wake you up. 

'Reed diffusers work brilliantly in the bedroom, and you can build the fragrance when you wake up by turning just one or two reeds,' says Glenda Taylor, an aromatherapist and creator of home fragrance, skincare and wellbeing products for her company, Angelico.

Some scents, such as peppermint, are the fragrance equivalent of a loud alarm clock, so opt for a softer wake-up with gently stimulating aromas instead.

'Myrtle is sparkly and enigmatic, mandarin is happy and uplifting, and sweet orange is joyous and fun,' suggests Glenda. 

'When we inhale essential oils, the chemical constituents travel via the olfactory nerves directly to the part of the brain called the limbic system which controls emotion. It is no coincidence that most citrus oils contain a big wack of linolool, limonene and citral – mood-boosting natural chemicals that mean they are perfect home scents that make you happy.

Glenda Taylor aromatherapist and founder Angelico
Glenda Taylor

Glenda has been an aromatherapist for more than 30 years. For her brand Angelico, she has created a range of home and personal products, including essential oil blends used to fragrance and change the mood in the home.

2. Peppermint in the shower

You may not have time for a full 'everything shower' routine in the morning, but don't skip scent when it comes to getting you prepped for the day ahead.

scented candle

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'Nose-tingly aromatic notes such as peppermint, eucalyptus and pine are known to enhance levels of concentration and focus, so they're great to wake you up and get you into a work mindset,' says Michael Parker, a fragrance education and development expert.

'I’m a firm believer in dressing your home with scent, just as you would consider the furnishings of your home to create certain feelings for each room,' Michael continues. 'I always opt for aromatic scents for the bathroom (and kitchen) as they help to cut through any other odours – these are usually the first two rooms you visit in the morning and want to feel invigorated and clean.'

Michael Parker scent expert
Michael Parker

Michael Parker, a learning and development specialist for an established British fragrance brand, has had a lifelong interest in perfume. He has worked for an array of luxury brands across home, fashion and fragrance. He is a firm believer in the power of scent and the effect that it plays in our everyday lives, for both personal wear and around the home.

3. Citrus (and coffee) in the kitchen

Dualit kitchen coffee station

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Yes, you really should wake up and smell the coffee! A study from Seoul National University in South Korea found that simply inhaling the aroma of coffee can reduce the impact of sleep deprivation and stress. But the kitchen can provide other scent boosts, too.

The peel of citrus fruits contain uplifting essential oils, so something as simple peeling an orange or slicing a grapefruit for your breakfast releases feelgood aromas that you can use to help set the tone for the day.

More of a cereal person? Cheat with a citrus-scented room spray or light a candle on your kitchen counter.

'A quick spritz of a room spray while eating breakfast can kickstart your morning ritual,' suggests scent expert Michael Parker. 'Opt for something invigorating that contains citrus or aromatic notes. Otherwise, the gentle glow of a spicy candle on a lazy morning can help ease you into the day ahead.'

4. Sandalwood in a home office

home office with navy walls

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A bonus, if you work from home, is that you can scent your workspace, and find the best scent for your home office. Make your home fragrance work harder by choosing one with added benefits, that can help you feel focused and serene as you sit at your desk in the morning. 

'Woody oils such as sandalwood, frankincense, cedarwood and cypress and wonderfully calming, while peppermint, rosemary and spearmint will help to make you feel more alert,' explains aromatherapist Glenda Taylor. 

'An electric vaporiser is great in an office as it infuses cool fragrance and you can just pop it on and let it do its thing,' Glenda continues. 'They can also send out periodic bursts of fragrance which can ‘remind’ you to focus, or set your diffuser at ‘constant’ to keep you wide awake and focused.'


What scent is the most energising?

If you are looking for an instant lift the effect of peppermint oil has been shown to help keep you awake and even boost exercise performance. In a study reported by Ho and Spence, it was found that the presence of peppermint oil resulted in improved exercise performance, such as extra press-ups and even running faster. In another report by Norrish and Dwyer in the US it was found that the feeling of sleepiness was put off by 11 minutes in a darkened room when it was scented with peppermint oil, compared to being unscented. 

If you're looking for a scent to give you that mid-morning boost peppermint is worth trying.

Andrea Childs

Andrea began her journalism career at Ideal Home and is currently Editor of our sister title, Country Homes & Interiors, which celebrates modern country style. Andrea is passionate about colour and how it can transform both our homes and our sense of wellbeing, and has completed The Power of Colour course with the prestigious KLC School of Design. Andrea's career spans interiors magazines, women's lifestyle titles and newspapers. After her first job at Ideal Home, she moved on to women's magazines, Options and Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor of Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for