Why Odors Are Heightened At Night

Smell influences everything from taste to perception to memory formation. However, what you might not know is that our ability to detect and discern scents fluctuates throughout the day, peaking during the late hours. That’s because our sense of smell is linked to our circadian rhythm — the internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. It repeats roughly every 24 hours and impacts processes like hormone release, body temperature, and even our ability to perceive smells. At night, we’re more susceptible to disturbances from unpleasant or potent odors. So, if it seems like your pets seem extra smelly right before bedtime, or if your bubble bath is a bit too fragrant in the evening hours, you’re not imagining things. You’re just picking up on scents that are somewhat dampened during the day.