What happens when you sleep with garlic under your pillow?

Garlic, renowned for its powerful aroma and myriad health benefits when consumed, has also carved a niche for itself in the realm of folklore and traditional remedies. One such belief is that placing garlic under your pillow can improve sleep quality, ward off evil spirits, or even bring positive energy.

While these claims can be intriguing, it’s essential to separate myth from science and understand the potential effects (and non-effects) of this age-old practice. This guide will navigate the origins, beliefs, and scientific perspectives surrounding the act of sleeping with garlic under your pillow.

Guide to Understanding the Garlic-Under-Pillow Phenomenon

  1. Historical Context:
    • In various cultures, garlic has been revered as a protective substance against negative energies and evil entities. Placing it under one’s pillow was thought to promote a sense of security and ward off bad dreams.
  2. Potential Aromatherapy Benefits:
    • Some proponents argue that the scent of garlic can have calming effects, similar to certain aromatherapy practices. However, there’s limited scientific evidence to support this, and reactions to garlic’s aroma can be highly subjective.
  3. Placebo Effect:
    • If individuals believe that sleeping with garlic will provide specific benefits, they might feel these effects due to the power of suggestion or the placebo effect.
  4. Allergies and Sensitivities:
    • For some, prolonged exposure to garlic, even without consuming it, can trigger allergic reactions or sensitivities. It’s essential to be aware of any personal reactions.
  5. Potential Mess:
    • Garlic cloves can get crushed, especially if you’re an active sleeper. This could lead to garlic juice seeping into your sheets, leaving a lingering smell and potential stains.
  6. Attracting Pests:
    • While garlic is known to repel certain pests, it might attract others if left out for extended periods, especially in areas prone to ants or other small insects.
  7. Scientific Perspective:
    • From a scientific standpoint, there’s no evidence to suggest that placing garlic under your pillow has any tangible benefits on sleep quality or health.
  8. Symbolic Relevance:
    • For many, the act might hold more symbolic or spiritual significance than physical benefits. It can be seen as a ritual or a grounding practice, similar to other bedtime routines.

In conclusion, while the tradition of sleeping with garlic under one’s pillow is rooted in folklore and has been practiced in various cultures, its efficacy remains largely anecdotal. If you’re intrigued by the idea, there’s no harm in trying it out, but it’s essential to be aware of the potential inconveniences and ensure it doesn’t adversely affect your sleep or health.

Sleep Remedies – Garlic Under Your Pillow

Sleep is a fundamental aspect of human health, and achieving restful sleep can sometimes be a challenge. Across cultures and generations, various remedies have been proposed to assist with sleep, ranging from herbal teas to meditation routines. Among these remedies, the practice of placing garlic under one’s pillow has garnered attention. While garlic is universally recognized for its culinary uses and health benefits when ingested, its role in sleep enhancement is rooted in both folklore and certain holistic beliefs.

Exploring the Garlic-Under-Pillow Remedy:

  1. Historical Roots:
    • Throughout history, garlic has been ascribed protective properties. It was believed to shield individuals from negative energies, malevolent spirits, and even ailments. In this context, sleeping with garlic under one’s pillow was seen as a protective measure and a way to ensure peaceful sleep.
  2. Aromatherapy Potential:
    • While garlic’s pungent aroma is unmistakable, some individuals find it calming. It’s hypothesized that the scent, though strong, might act similarly to aromatherapy, inducing relaxation. However, more research is needed in this area to draw concrete conclusions.
  3. Placebo and Mindset:
    • When any sleep remedy is tried with a strong belief in its effectiveness, the placebo effect can come into play. This means if you think garlic will help you sleep, your mindset might actually make it so.
  4. Practical Considerations:
    • If you’re considering this remedy, be prepared for the robust smell of garlic to permeate your bedding. Additionally, ensure the garlic is wrapped or enclosed to prevent any juices from staining your sheets.
  5. Complementary Approaches:
    • If you’re exploring garlic as a sleep aid, it might be beneficial to combine it with other holistic practices like lavender essential oil diffusers, calming teas, or meditation to enhance potential benefits.
  6. What Science Says:
    • Currently, there is no scientific evidence that confirms the effectiveness of garlic as a sleep enhancer when placed under a pillow. Most of the claims regarding this practice are anecdotal.

Garlic under the pillow is a remedy rooted in tradition and holistic beliefs. While its efficacy as a sleep aid hasn’t been scientifically validated, the world of sleep remedies is diverse, and what works for one person might not work for another. If you’re curious, there’s no harm in trying it for yourself. Remember, the best sleep strategies are often those tailored to individual preferences and needs.


Will sleeping with garlic under my pillow leave a strong smell on my bed?

Yes, garlic has a distinct and potent aroma. If placed directly under your pillow, this scent can permeate your bedding. If you’re concerned about the smell, consider wrapping the garlic in a cloth or placing it in a pouch.

Are there any health concerns associated with this practice?

While garlic is generally safe, prolonged direct contact (especially with crushed or cut garlic) may irritate the skin for some individuals. It’s essential to ensure that the garlic doesn’t get crushed and to be aware of any personal sensitivities. Additionally, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that this practice offers health benefits for sleep.

Can I combine this remedy with other natural sleep aids?

Absolutely! Many individuals combine various holistic practices to improve sleep quality. Along with placing garlic under your pillow, you might consider using calming essential oils, indulging in a warm, herbal bedtime tea, or practicing nighttime meditation.


The practice of placing garlic under one’s pillow is a blend of folklore, tradition, and holistic beliefs. While it might not be a universally effective sleep remedy, its longstanding presence in various cultures makes it a fascinating aspect of sleep rituals. As with any sleep aid, it’s crucial to find what personally works for you and to approach new remedies with an open mind, ensuring that comfort and safety are always prioritized.

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