These candles could actually help you sleep better

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Adding a few candles to your bedroom not only makes your sleep space feel instantly cozier—certain scents can actually help you fall asleep faster.

 

The concept is similar to using essential oils for sleep: If you have the right scent wafting through your bedroom, it can promote relaxation, calmness, and yes, help you drift off into dreamland more quickly.

 

If you want to use the “magic” of scented candles to fall asleep faster in your home, this guide will explain everything you need to know about choosing the right candles for your bedroom.

 

Keep reading to learn more about the most common types of candles, candle wax, and candle wicks, the best scented candle for sleep, and tips for safely using a candle in your bedroom.

Types of candles

There are four types of candles you should be familiar with. To fall asleep, you can use a combo of all four or mix and match your favorites. Just make sure you pick at least one scented candle if you’re looking to improve your sleep.

Wax candles

This is the most common type of candle you’ll find at the store. Chances are, you may even already have a few in your home. Wax candles can be made of beeswax, soy wax, or other types of wax.

Scented candles

These are the candles typically made with essential oils that can help promote relaxation and better sleep. Popular scents include lavender, neroli, bergamot, and vanilla.

Decorative candles

Decorative candles are ones you may light periodically, but they’re not ones you’d use for their scent factor. They’re purely in your home for aesthetic purposes.

Types of decorative candles include:

  • Pillar candles: These are the tall, cylinder-shaped candles you typically cluster together to add a decorative element to your home. You can place pillar candles in the center of a table, at the corner of a fireplace, or near an entryway table.
  • Votive candles: These small candles are usually encased in glass that you use to decorate your bathroom. Votive candles are typically about 1 to 2 inches tall.
  • Tea lights: Tea lights are the smallest type of candles and are shorter than votive candles. They can be used anywhere in your home for decor or ambiance.

Flameless candles

If you’re concerned about falling asleep while your candle is lit, or just want to keep a candle on for hours at a time without worrying about potential hazards, flameless candles are the way to go. These candles are generally battery-powered or rechargeable. Scented options exist if you want to use them for sleep.

Types of candle wax

Within the wax candle category, there are a variety of different waxes to choose from, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here’s an overview of the most common types of candle wax.

Soy wax

Most candles in your home are likely made from soy wax. It’s an affordable ingredient and has a great burn rate. Just note that this isn’t the most environmentally-friendly wax type out there since it relies on the soybean industry. To produce soybeans, harmful chemicals, which contaminate the forests the soybeans are grown in, are needed.

Paraffin wax

Paraffin wax is made from petroleum, which makes it a byproduct of the oil industry. Although this isn’t the most environmentally-friendly wax either, it does hold fragrance better than soy wax. So if you’re shopping for candles that’ll light up the whole room with a scent, this is a good wax to look out for.

Beeswax

The eco-friendly options are here! Beeswax is one of the most environmentally-conscious wax options for your candles since it’s a byproduct of honey production. That means it’s natural, renewable, and nontoxic. Non-scented, decorative candles are typically made with beeswax since it emits a naturally sweet and subtle aroma. However, beeswax doesn’t hold other scents well so it’s not the best option for sleep.

Coconut wax

Coconut wax is an eco-friendly option for candle lovers who appreciate highly scented candles. It’s sustainable, made from coconuts, produces little soot, and holds fragrances well. Because coconut wax holds fragrance, it’s a great option for sleep.

Blends

Blended candles are a way to make more sustainable candles. If you mix soy or paraffin wax together with other types of wax, you can use less of the harmful oils that may damage the environment.

Types of candle wicks

There are a few different types of candle wicks, but most of them are made out of the same materials. Metal, cotton, or a mix of both are the most popular options. A candle with a 100% cotton wick is the healthiest choice since cotton is a natural, nontoxic material.

Whether you use a single wick or multi-wick candle is up to you. Smaller candles are usually made with single wicks, while larger candles typically have three or four wicks. If you want a candle that emits a higher fragrance, a multi-wick selection is your best bet.

Candle burn time

Many factors contribute to your candle’s burn time, including the weight of your candle, the type of wax used, and the amount of chemical additives used in the candle’s formula.

 

Generally, smaller votive candles have a burn time of about seven to nine hours for each ounce of wax that’s used.

 

Larger candles, meanwhile, burn at a faster rate of about five to seven hours per ounce of wax used. If you want to calculate the burn time for your specific candle, check out this easy-to-use chart.

Best scented candles for sleep

Which scented candles promote better sleep and deserve a spot in your bedroom? We’ve compiled the best scents for sleep to make candle shopping a breeze.

Lavender

One study found that participants who inhaled lavender before bed reported better sleep quality than those who didn’t. Other studies have found that lavender is effective at helping to stabilize moods and treat anxiety.

Ylang-ylang

Ylang-ylang is a popular scent found in perfumes, and it’s also perfect to look for in a candle to help lower stress and anxiety. When participants in a Korean study inhaled a blend of ylang-ylang, lavender, and bergamot once daily for four weeks, they had lower stress, anxiety, and blood pressure by the end of the month.

Chamomile

Chamomile has been used as a mild sedative to help induce sleep for centuries. Chamomile’s calming effects are believed to come from an antioxidant called apigenin, which helps ease the brain into relaxation. You’ve probably already heard of sipping chamomile tea for bedtime, so why not up the ante and sip your tea as a chamomile candle burns in the background?

Neroli

While neroli isn’t as popular for sleep as chamomile and lavender, you shouldn’t discount it. One study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that inhaling neroli before bed helped “decrease anxiety and increase sleep quality in cancer patients” and promote better sleep overall.

Bergamot

Some oils, like citrus, are energizing, while others are calming. Bergamot is a calming scent and even has anti-inflammatory properties, making it relaxing for your entire body.

Cedarwood

According to a study published in the journal Autonomic Neuroscience, participants who smelled cedrol, a compound extracted from cedarwood oil, had an increase in activity in the parasympathetic nervous system and a decrease in activity in the sympathetic nervous system.

 

The parasympathetic nervous system is also known as the “rest and digest system.” It slows your heart rate and relaxes the muscles in your GI tract. Therefore, cedarwood can help tone down your adrenaline levels and help you fall asleep faster.

Jasmine

Inhaling jasmine before bed can not only help you fall asleep but can also promote more restful sleep throughout the night. If you have trouble staying asleep, this could be a great scent for you to start with.

Sandalwood

Simply saying the word “sandalwood” makes me feel dreamy already. And the science is there to back up why this scent is so good for helping you sleep. Research has shown sandalwood has sedative-like effects that help induce sleep faster.

Vanilla

Vanilla might relax you by reminding you of freshly baked cookies in the oven during the holidays, but it also has real stress-reducing benefits that can help you sleep. One study showed that people who breathed in a vanilla-like scent during an MRI had less anxiety during the procedure than those who didn’t.

The right way to use candles in your bedroom

Although lighting a scented candle can be a helpful tool for bedtime, practicing safety is key. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when lighting candles for better sleep:

Never leave candles unattended

This one is pretty much self-explanatory. Unattended candles can lead to fire, so make sure you’re alert enough to blow out your candles before you fall asleep. If you’re concerned about safety, you may want to consider scented flameless candles for the bedroom.

Trim the wick before first use

Follow the instructions on your candle, but the standard is to typically trim wicks 1/3 of an inch before you burn them. This will keep the flame manageable and ensure the candle emits less smoke and soot as it burns.

Avoid putting candles near vents or windows

Where you place your candles in the bedroom is super-important. Putting candles near vents or windows could cause the flames to waft over to other flammable objects nearby.

Leave candles burning for the right amount of time

Again, instructions for burn time should be listed on the back of your candle. If you’re ever unsure, a good rule of thumb is to never burn a candle for longer than three to four hours at a time.

 

This article originally appeared on Saatva.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Smart habits that can help you keep your dirty house clean

 

Having a messy house can be pretty bad for your wallet. It’s true. I learned this the hard way when my closet was so disorganized that I couldn’t find my eyeliner. You can read all about it and why I think organizing your life will help save you money.

 

 

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2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

 

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With three kids and a full-time job, plus this blog, it can get a little overwhelming to keep on top of my messy house and keep the cleaning under control. The easiest way to keep my house clean would be to outsource it or even spend money on a professional organizer or fancy cleaning gadgets- unfortunately, that is really not an option financially.

 

So I have to figure out a way to keep on top of the cleaning and chores without outside help and to make sure your messy house is anything but messy!

 

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Leave the room a little cleaner or neater than when you arrived. I know that sounds difficult and a little condescending, but it’s really not.  In fact, this is easy to do.  Put one thing away.  Move one thing. Simple. Keep on doing that, and you will see that your messy house gets a little more clean (and stays clean!) every day.

 

 

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Setting a schedule for deep cleaning and general cleaning will keep the dirt from piling up. It is a productive and fun way to bond as a family. It also maintains the cleanliness and hygiene of the home.

 

Assign each member of the family specific tasks. General cleaning includes; sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, or any surface tasks. Assign these to the kids since they are easy ones.

 

The adults do the deep cleaning, including complete rub down, especially on the hard-to-reach areas and sometimes disregarded. If you do this often, such as every two weeks, it will help keep your house in order.

 

 

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When I notice toothpaste in the sink or crumbs on the kitchen floor, even if it’s not a scheduled time to clean, I will take care of it right away. Leaving it only makes me feel overwhelmed, and clearing time on the calendar to tackle it all is not always feasible. If I take care of it at the moment, it won’t linger as a chore that needs to get done, and the house will always feel somewhat clean.

 

 

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Do a bit of cleaning every day. This way, you won’t end up being overwhelmed by how messy your house is. Divide your tasks into days so you will do one part of cleaning every day.

 

For example, dust on Monday, vacuum, and mop on Tuesday, clean the bathroom on Wednesday, and so on. It will not take you more than 30 minutes a day, and you will feel much more organized.

 

 

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Dave Pedley, founder and editor of YourCub.com has a similar take on the cleaning schedule: As any parent will testify, keeping a home neat and tidy with young kids in the family is, well, just not going to happen! So I concentrate on keeping it clean – messy is OK!

 

I adopted a strategy I used when I was still working as a software developer –  I look at the whole house as a project, divide it into subtasks – and tackle one task at a time.

 

While the kitchen and bathroom obviously need daily attention, the rest of the house-cleaning jobs are divided into sections, and each part gets its special day in rotation. I don’t even try to keep everything under control all the time, just the essentials. And the routine stuff is handled in turn.

 

 

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For example, while the food is cooking, I rinse the dishes or do other quick cleaning tasks in the kitchen.  While chatting on the phone, I put away laundry, and when walking from one room to another, I try to grab one or two things to bring with me.

 

 

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Want to maintain a tidy house? Make sure not to waste a movement. I can always find something that needs picked up or placed back where it goes. For example, let’s say I am taking laundry to the washing machine.

 

As I begin walking from my bedroom down through the hallways, I am simultaneously picking up the random piece of trash in the hall and grabbing some toys that are on the floor.

 

 

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If you have a big family, do a load of laundry every day. Don’t let it pile up until it is too overwhelming.  You can also follow FlyLady’s system of washing each load and then immediately drying it and putting it away (instead of having finished loads piling up).

 

 

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Use two laundry baskets or one that has dual compartments. One for white clothing one for dark clothing. If you sort them into the correct basket as you change clothes, the washing is already sorted into colors and whites for you when it is time to do laundry!

 

This is a great way to save some time and since it takes so much less time to do laundry you can throw in a load on your way out the door in the morning.

 

 

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First, do the simple things like picking up things and putting them back where they belong.

Straighten pillows, fold blankets, pick up stuff that doesn’t belong in each room.

Get into the habit of putting dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, hanging up, or putting back other clothes where they belong. You can’t really clean until you have picked up the clutter.

 

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I know this is super cliche but it really works! Cleaning is much easier and goes much faster when your house is picked up. So get into the habit of putting things where they belong to make cleaning easier. If you have items that don’t belong anywhere, make it a point to find a place for it. If you can’t find a good spot for it then maybe it’s time to get rid of it.

 

 

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Instead of having one centralized cleaning supply center, create smaller mini cleaning stations via baskets or fabric cubbies throughout your home (bathrooms, mudroom, kitchen, upstairs/downstairs, etc.). That way, you can customize each one based on the specific needs of each space.

 

 

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Storage baskets are your friend.  There are so many fun, stylish storage baskets these days that are ideal for toys (kids and pets), books/magazines, small electronics such as a tablet, remotes, and other clutter-causing items.

 

While ideally, these items should go back to their original place of storage, the reality is that doesn’t always happen.  Baskets are a quick, easy way to declutter a space so that only the items you want to be seen or visible.

 

 

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I have lived by this rule for years, and it works to help my house neat. At the very least, if I don’t have time to do anything else before I leave the house, I make my bed and do the dishes.

 

 

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Use products you enjoy, and you’ll be more motivated to clean! Ex: Choose or make a daily multipurpose spray that smells great, get a high-quality dish brush and store in a pretty ceramic holder, or purchase a set of pretty reusable glass bottles.

 

 

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When you’re struggling to feel motivated to clean, try setting a timer for an un-overwhelming amount of time, like 10-15 minutes. Then focus on the task at hand and do your best until the timer goes off. You’ll most likely find you accomplished more than you thought you could, or you may even have the momentum to do a little more!

 

 

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The best way to keep a home clean is to involve the whole family! Maintaining a clean home is a huge task for just one person to take on. If you have kids, assign age-appropriate cleaning tasks; this gives them a sense of accomplishment and teaches responsibility.

 

Cleaning together is also a great and fun bonding opportunity. Create a cleaning schedule together and make it fun! Offer rewards and incentives, too, especially for the kids.

 

 

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Celebrate the accomplishment! When the task is finished, plan to reward yourself with something you enjoy, like taking a walk, connecting with friends, a relaxing bath, or indulging in your creative hobby.

 

 

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You can often avoid drain clogs and fruit flies by keeping the drains clean. Pouring baking soda down the drain followed by white vinegar can keep a drain spotless! Flush the drain with hot water after about half an hour, and you’re golden. (Thanks, John the Plumber!)

 

 

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Tip: Vacuum the rug twice a month. Many people make the mistake of vacuuming every other day or week, which can damage the rug. Vacuuming it after every 15 days will make the rug even more durable. If your rug is stained, you can easily create a solution of white wine vinegar, detergent, and warm water and then rub the stained area with it. The stain will vanish away quickly, leaving a spotless rug.

 

 

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Keep cleaning products in the bathroom to help make cleaning easier. Spray your shower with white vinegar until you can give it a thorough scrubbing on the weekend. Get into the habit of putting the toilet bowl cleaner in and swishing it around with a brush once daily to keep it fresh.

 

 

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A common fire hazard that is frequently overlooked in terms of cleaning is the stove and oven. Surfaces like the burners and the floor of the oven can become covered with grease and food bits that can combust and quickly get out of hand.

 

 

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Keeping our homes organized is really important for ourselves: our emotional and physical well-being.  It also can save us a lot of money. A lot of frugal living tips only work if you are organized. If your life is organized, you can shop on sale and out away for next year. If your life is organized, you can meal prep for the week.

 

If your life is organized, you can put up a crock-pot dinner instead of getting takeout. If your life is organized, you can shop in bulk and not have to throw lots of extra food out.

 

I can’t finish any post about cleaning or organizing without recommending the best cleaning and organizing book of all time. My mother bought FlyLady’s Sink Reflections book when I was a child and I still remember how life-changing it was.

 

Now that I have my own home I use a lot of her tips and tools to keep my own life and house organized. I really cannot stress enough how much you should read this book.

 

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