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Just smelling coffee can be good for you

Can the smell of coffee wake you up?

There’s nothing quite like waking up slowly, sunlight filtering through the open windows with a calm breeze, running freely across your skin, fresh Chemex a-brew in the next room. Wake up and smell the coffee, people. That may be all you need.

Is it true? Can the deliciously rich, warm aroma of a steaming cup of Joe wake you up without even taking a sip? That first sip hits the soul, but it’s true, Joe has some tricks up his sleeve before you even dive into his cup.

An international group of scientists studied gene and protein expression in the brains of lab rats, stressed by sleep restriction vs. rats that were unstressed and not exposed to the coffee scent. Researchers found that when inhaling this magic aroma, the activity of dormant genes in the brain was altered, reducing the effects of sleep deprivation.

Here’s what happens when lab rats perked their noses up to coffee:

  • The sleep-deprived rats showed different levels of activity in 17 genes in the brain.
  • Levels of brain proteins also changed in ways that could have a calming effect on stress or have an antioxidant function.

Unfortunately, without self-control when it comes to the brew, I won’t be stopping at the smell alone. After all, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s gonna want some milk. Am I right?

Related: Here's why coffee is actually good for you

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