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what is the most recognized smell in the world?

what is the most recognized smell in the world?

what is the most recognized smell in the world?

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what is the most recognized smell in the world?
what is the most recognized smell in the world?

We put the question to fans at a recent Buffalo Sabres game – according to a survey, what is the world’s most recognizable smell? No one ended up identifying the number one item on the list, but we had fun asking.

Then the final family I asked provided a surprise I wasn’t expecting.  Check it out…..

The World’s Most Recognized Smells:

  1. Coffee
  2. Peanut Butter
  3. Vicks VaporRub
  4. Chocolate
  5. Wintergreen Oil
  6. Baby  Powder
  7. Cigarette Butts
  8. Mothballs
  9. Dry Cat Food
  10. Beer
  11. Ivory Soap
  12. Juicy Fruit Gum
  13. Orange
  14. Cinnamon
  15. Lemon
  16. Tuna
  17. Banana
  18. Crayons
  19. Cheese
  20. Bleach
  21. Freshly Mowed Lawn
  22. Thanksgiving Turkey
  23. Skunk
  24. Gasoline
  25. Clean Laundry

Buffalo is a hype town that loves food. Taco week is one of the most celebrated ‘fake’ weeks imaginable in Buffalo. The rest of the country wants to steal the best foods from Western New York. What are they?


How Smell Affects Your Sleep

When thinking about sleep and its relationship to the senses, few people immediately think of smell. Sight, sound, and touch typically receive more attention because of the obvious ways that light, noise, and comfort can impact sleep.

While it might not be as immediately apparent, smell can directly affect sleep. Even though smells don’t usually cause a person to wake up, the sense of smell and sleep have a multifaceted relationship.


what is the most recognized smell in the world?
what is the most recognized smell in the world?

Aromatherapy with distinct scents may promote better sleep, help you wake up in the morning, or even influence dreams and memory formation during sleep. Circadian rhythms, part of your biological clock, help regulate your sleep and influence your sense of smell as well.


How Does the Sense of Smell Work?


Your sense of smell is part of a complicated olfactory system1. Special cells in the nose, called olfactory neurons, receive chemical signals from all kinds of compounds in our environment. These neurons are directly connected to the brain, allowing for rapid identification of smells based on which neurons are stimulated.

Scents can reach neurons through the nostrils or from the back of the throat, which is part of why taste and smell are intricately connected. Nerve endings in other parts of the body can also contribute to smell through the common chemical sense, which helps detect irritating compounds.


Can Certain Smells Help With Sleep?

Because of the power of the sense of smell, certain fragrances may contribute to better sleep. Some scents promote relaxation that makes it easier to fall asleep and have a well-rested feeling the next day.

Smells aren’t simply detected and identified; they can produce both psychological and physiological responses2. When a pleasant smell makes you feel relaxed or a foul smell makes you queasy, you’re experiencing the diverse effects of your sense of smell. Scents can become part of emotional memory3, recreating certain responses to smells when you encounter them again in the future.


what is the most recognized smell in the world?
what is the most recognized smell in the world?

Anyone with sleeping problems should talk with a doctor, and unless directed by a health professional, aromatherapy should not replace other treatments for insomnia or sleep disorders.


Among essential oils, few have been studied as much as lavender. Lavender has been associated with improved sleep in multiple research studies16, including in some people with insomnia. The smell of lavender has calming effects17 on heart rate and blood pressure as well as mood. In a study of people exposed to lavender before bed, deep sleep increased18, leading to feeling more refreshed in the morning.


Roses have a reputation for their appealing fragrance, and rose essential oils have shown potential as aromatherapy for sleep. While not conclusive, a study in depressed patients showed some indicators of enhanced mood and sleep19 when they inhaled rose-scented air during sleep.

In a study conducted in a hospital’s coronary care unit, aromatherapy with scents from a type of rose known as damask rose (rosa damascene) showed significant improvement in sleep quality20.

Roman Chamomile

In one study, roman chamomile essential oil applied to pillows improved total sleep time21 for older adults in managed care settings. In a separate study in cancer patients, massages given with a carrier oil blended with roman chamomile essential oil reduced patients’ self-reported levels of anxiety.


Jasmine essential oil that was dispersed in a bedroom during sleep was found to improve sleep efficiency22, meaning that more of the time a person was in bed was actually spent sleeping.

Cedar Extract

Though not studied as extensively, a study using the scent of cedar extract helped people fall asleep more quickly when taking a nap during the daytime.


A preliminary study with cannabis essential oil made from plants that do not contain THC, the compound most responsible for the high associated with cannabis, found improved relaxation23 among people who inhaled this scent.

what is the most recognized smell in the world?
what is the most recognized smell in the world?


Ylang-ylang essential oil, derived from the Cananga tree, has been associated with calmness and slowed reaction times24, which may make it helpful in the lead-up to sleep.

What Are the Best Scents To Wake You Up?

As with aromatherapy for sleep, there’s no guaranteed scent that will make everyone feel alert, but research has highlighted a few fragrances that may be beneficial.


Drinking coffee is one of the most popular pick-me-ups, but not everyone likes the flavor or wants to consume caffeine. Another option may be just smelling coffee without drinking it; a research study found that breathing in the smell of coffee improved alertness, attention, and memory25 without the physical effects of caffeine.


Rosemary essential oil has been found to be a stimulant26 that helps activate the brain and may promote alertness and overall cognition.


Peppermint essential oil has a distinct smell and in some research has boosted memory recall and feelings of alertness.


Preliminary research with essential oils from common sage (Salvia officinalis) and Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulifolia) have found both to be associated with enhanced mental performance27.

Blended Oils
what is the most recognized smell in the world?
what is the most recognized smell in the world?

Some types of blended essential oils may help with focus and attention. In one study, a blended oil with primary chemical components of 1,8-cineole, 3-carene, β-pinene, and β-caryophyllene improved cognitive performance and focus28.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Sense of Smell?

As anyone with a stuffy nose can tell you, the strength of our sense of smell is not always the same. One factor that influences the olfactory system is your circadian rhythm. This part of our biological clock is known for how it promotes sleeping during the night and wakefulness during the day, but it affects numerous other bodily processes as well.

Researchers found that smell sensitivity changes 29through the day in accordance with our circadian timing. In general, sense of smell is the strongest in the evening (around 9:00 p.m.) and weakest overnight and into the wee hours of the morning. This reduction in smell sensitivity through the night may explain why odors generally don’t cause people to wake up from sleep.

Can Smells Affect Dreams?

Research has found that external stimuli during sleep, including smells, can affect dreams, but the nature of this effect remains unclear. In one study, positively associated smells promoted more positive dreams30 while unpleasant smells increased negative dreams. Other research, though, found the opposite, with exposure to a familiar odor31 or a preferred fragrance32 causing more negative dreams.

Many factors can influence dreams, and additional investigation is needed before it’s clear if and how aromatherapy can be used to affect dreams.



Overview of Smell and Taste Disorders




Because disorders of smell and taste are rarely life threatening, they may not receive close medical attention. Yet, these disorders can be frustrating because they can affect the ability to enjoy food and drink and to appreciate pleasant aromas. They can also interfere with the ability to notice potentially harmful chemicals and gases and thus may have serious consequences. Occasionally, impairment of smell and taste is due to a serious disorder, such as a tumor.

Smell and taste are closely linked. The taste buds of the tongue identify taste, and the nerves in the nose identify smell. Both sensations are communicated to the brain, which integrates the information so that flavors can be recognized and appreciated. Some tastes—such as salty, bitter, sweet, and sour—can be recognized without the sense of smell. However, more complex flavors (such as raspberry) require both taste and smell sensations to be recognized.

what is the most recognized smell in the world?
what is the most recognized smell in the world?

A partial loss of smell (hyposmia) and complete loss of smell (anosmia) are the most common disorders of smell and taste. Because distinguishing one flavor from another is based largely on smell, people often first notice that their ability to smell is reduced when their food seems tasteless.


How People Sense Flavors

To distinguish most flavors, the brain needs information about both smell and taste. These sensations are communicated to the brain from the nose and mouth. Several areas of the brain integrate the information, enabling people to recognize and appreciate flavors.


A small area on the mucous membrane that lines the nose (the olfactory epithelium) contains specialized nerve cells called smell receptors. These receptors have hairlike projections (cilia) that detect odors. Airborne molecules entering the nasal passage stimulate the cilia, triggering a nerve impulse in nearby nerve fibers.



The Nose


The ability to smell can be affected by changes in the nose, in the nerves leading from the nose to the brain, or in the brain. For example, if nasal passages are stuffed up from a common cold, the ability to smell may be reduced because odors are prevented from reaching the smell receptors (specialized nerve cells in the mucous membrane lining the nose). Because the ability to smell affects taste, food often does not taste right to people with a cold.

what is the most recognized smell in the world?
what is the most recognized smell in the world?

Smell receptors can be temporarily damaged by the influenza (flu) virus. Some people cannot smell or taste for several days or even weeks after a bout of the flu, and, rarely, loss of smell or taste becomes permanent. Sudden loss of smell also may be an early symptom of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an acute respiratory illness that can be severe and is caused by a newly identified coronavirus officially named SARS-CoV2.




A reduction in the ability to taste (hypogeusia) or loss of taste (ageusia) usually results from conditions that affect the tongue, usually by causing a very dry mouth. Such conditions include Sjögren’s syndrome, heavy smoking (especially pipe smoking), radiation therapy to the head and neck, dehydration, and use of drugs (including antihistamines and the antidepressant amitriptyline).

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Nutritional deficiencies, such as decreased zinc, copper, and nickel levels, can alter both taste and smell. Sudden loss of taste may be an early symptom of COVID-19.

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