Improve memory with the scent of roses in your sleep?

Improve memory with the scent of roses in your sleep?

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Better memory through the scent of roses?

The performance of the memory can degrade especially in old age or after brain injuries. A new innovative method to strengthen the memory processes in the brain during sleep could possibly help in the future. All that is needed is just the scent of roses.

The current joint study by Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Weizmann Institute of Science found that brain memory processes can be enhanced during sleep. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Current Biology".

Memory problems increase with age

Many people show memory impairment in old age and there are more and more memory gaps. A new method could help people in the future to better remember certain things.

Rose fragrance to support memory?

The newly developed method for strengthening the memory processes is based on a rose scent, which is absorbed through one of the nostrils during sleep. Because it is known that a process of memory consolidation takes place during sleep.

“For long-term memory storage, the information gradually passes from the hippocampus (a region of the brain that serves as a temporary buffer for new memories) to the neocortex. But how this transition takes place remains an unsolved mystery, ”explains study author Ella Bar from the Weizmann Institute of Science in a press release. Apparently, the rose scent can support the storage of information here.

How was the investigation structured?

While the study participants were exposed to the scent of a rose, they were asked to remember the location of words that were shown on either the left or right side of a computer screen. The participants were then asked which side the words were displayed on. Afterwards, they were asked to sleep a little, and the rose scent was given to them again, but this time only through one nostril.

Clinical applications in prospect?

By triggering so-called consolidation processes in only one side of the brain during sleep, the activity between the hemispheres could be compared and the specific activity that corresponds to the reactivation of the memory isolated, the researchers report of their investigations.

Fragrance could reactivate memories

With this scent recorded on one side, the researchers were able to reactivate and intensify memories that were stored in a certain half of the brain. The team recorded electrical brain activity while sleeping with EEG. The results showed that the one-sided release of rose fragrance led to different sleep waves in the two hemispheres. The researchers report that the hemisphere that received the scent showed improved electrical signatures of memory consolidation during sleep.

Memory test results were better

Finally, after waking up, the test subjects were asked to take a second memory test of the previously seen words. "The subjects' memory for words presented on the odor-affected side was significantly better than the memory for words presented on the other side," said Bar.

Enhance memory consolidation through smells

The results underline that the process of memory consolidation can be enhanced by smells. Due to the special organization of the absorption of smells, memories can be manipulated locally on one side of the brain. This method may one day help to restore memory after brain injuries, for example, the researchers hope. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Ella Bar, Amit Marmelshtein, Anat Arzi, Ofer Perl, Ethan Livne et al .: Local Targeted Memory Reactivation in Human Sleep, in Current Biology (published March 5, 2020), Current Biology
  • New Sleep Method Strengthens Brain’s Ability to Retain Memories, Tel Aviv University (Published March 5, 2020), TAU

Video: How sound and smell are tied to learning, and the connection to sleep. Matthew Walker (July 2022).


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