Can lavender help promote better sleep?

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Doctors and scientists have long known that lavender can act as a calming agent, with hospitals giving patients little lavender patches after surgery to help with anxiety. 

Now, researchers are looking to take that concept one step further to see if it can actually help people sleep better, especially those with dementia who already are prone to sleep problems.

At the Health Partners Center for Memory and Aging, Bhavani Kasyap, Ph.D., has begun a study on ten patients with dementia, applying lavender patches and monitoring their sleep movements at night using a device similar to a FitBit. The goal is to see whether lavendar can help those people sleep better, which ultimately promotes better health.

"We hope that if we can improve their sleep and sleeping patterns, [that will improve] the quality of life in caregivers and that they can have their loved ones in their houses longer," Kasyap said.