Lighting Candles Relieves My Insomnia—and Here Are 7 Under-$30 Scents I’m Eyeing Right Now

Starting at just $13.

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Candles Before Bed Roundup Tout

Real Simple / Tyler Roeland

I’ve struggled with insomnia off and on my entire life, unable to calm my racing thoughts during periods of emotional turmoil or stress. Over the years, I’ve developed and accumulated methods and routines that help me “turn off” when it gets close to my bedtime. One of them? Lighting a candle.

My habit started by channeling core tenets of classical conditioning: ideally, lighting a candle then taking a sleep aid medication would train my body to associate the action with a feeling of sleepiness. It turns out there are multiple other benefits, as the flickering, ambient light makes you feel more relaxed and a soothing scent can even lower blood pressure, making it even easier to snooze. With Sleep Awareness Week on the horizon, as the sun dips below the horizon, I’ve rounded up seven favorites.

7 Candles Under $30 to Improve Your Nighttime Routine:

Lidded Glass Jar Crackling Wooden Wick Candle Ocean Air and Moss


Threshold Lidded Glass Jar Ocean Air and Moss Candle

Threshold candles from my Target are my go-to. Since I move around a lot (and generally live within a short distance of a Target), picking up Threshold candles immediately makes any space feel like home. I love all the scents and sizes, but especially appreciate the stylish dark amber glass jar and crackling wick. Oh, and a bonus—the wooden tops make perfect coasters for my bedside table. 

To buy: $13;


Brooklyn Candle Studio

Sweet Fig Minimalist Candle

Brooklyn Candle Studio, based in—you guessed it, New York—specializes in minimalist candles with attractive scents. The candles have 100 percent soy wax for an eco-friendly clean burn, and they’re also vegan, cruelty-free, phthalate-free, and petroleum-free. Top notes include rosewood, middle is mediterranean fig, and the base notes are amber and patchouli.

To buy: $28;

Candle Set (3.5 oz) "My favorite candles" "Just as described" "They were exactly what I was looking for." "Love these!" "My favorite candles"

Public Goods

Luxury Three-Piece Mini Candle Set 

Believe it or not, I first discovered the affordable magic of the Public Goods candle at the beginning of the pandemic, when Public Goods was the only retailer I could find still stocking toilet paper. To fill my cart minimum, I tossed in this candle, and quickly fell in love with the Cedar & Suede scent. For being such a low price, they’re incredibly high quality, and I appreciate the retailer’s sustainability. This three-pack of 3.5-ounce candles—including lavender and vanilla, black currant, and cedar and suede—is a helpful introduction to the line to discover your favorite.

To buy: $13;

NEST Fragrances Votive Candle- Bamboo


Nest Fragrances Bamboo Scented Candle

Nest Fragrances is a popular brand among gifters (and giftees!) thanks to its highly refined wax developed to optimize burn and fragrance diffusion. The scent includes white florals, sparkling citrus, and fresh green accords, giving a light and airy scent that lets the user unwind.

To buy: $18;

Scent Lab Personalized Candle

Scent Lab

Scent Lab Scent Kit

The Real Simple team recently discovered and adored the ScentLab system, which creates a personalized candle for you using AI. The quiz asks you about your scent preferences, sensitivity to smell, lifestyle, and more before matching you with a candle you’re sure to love. (Mine’s currently burning every night beside me!) If you’re unwilling to commit to one scent, you can try three votives for even less for a total of 50 hours of burn time and you get 15 percent off if you choose to buy the full-size.

To buy: $30;

Cuddle Me Cozy // Gardenia

Companion Candles

Cuddle Me Cozy Companion Candle

If you’re a pet lover, you may love the mission behind Companion Candles, a clean and cruelty-free candle brand that donates $1 from each candle sold to help animals in need. This gardenia-scented candle “smells and feels like warm laundry,” which means it’s ideal for a nighttime routine that might involve resetting your room or putting up your own laundry before bed (the time of day in which I most often do it myself).

To buy: $25;

WoodWick Ellipse Scented Candle


WoodWick Ellipse Tropical Sunrise Trilogy Scented Candle

How about a sunrise around sunset? This three-layer scent is complex enough to delight your senses as each scent melts into the next, and we love the aesthetic appeal of the ultra-wide base. Act now while it’s 27 percent off on Amazon.

To buy: $23 (was $31);

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