Introducing calming aromatherapy oils into your nighttime routine could change your sleep habits forever.
I’ve lost count of the number of nights I have had lain awake staring at my ceiling, or caught up on yet another episode of Family Guy, while sleep evaded me. And when I do fall asleep more often than not I spend my night sleep walking (more on that here). It’s exhausting.
But since I have made an effort to layer my room, and myself, in sleep boosting aromatherapy oils my nights have been a whole lot more restful.
While aromatherapy can’t cure insomnia (there’s not much that can) it can increase your chances of drifting off to sleep. Research shows that aromatherapy oils promote relaxation and sleep. No one knows exactly how they do this but experts believe that aromatherapy oils are able to influence the brain chemicals that control our sleep via inhalation or through direct contact with our skin.
If you too have issues getting a decent night sleep, read on.
I love aromatherapy oils; I keep a calming and de-stressing one by my keyboard at work for when the deadlines mount up, one in my flight bag to steady my nerves when we encounter turbulence, and, naturally, I keep a stash of them at home to cocktail as I see fit.
I find aromatherapy oils completely come into their own when they’re helping me get sleep. Neal’s Yard are a favourite, they produce Grade-A stuff. If you’re using them in a burner they burn cleanly and their quality oils last in the air for hours upon hours.
When you’re building up your own aromatherapy sleep aid kit look for Neal’s Yard Chamomile, Cardomom, Clary Sage, Lavender, Neroli, Orange and Vetiver. They’re all calming and relaxing and, in the case of Orange, can even help provide some relief from insomnia.
Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Little Book of Essential Oils, £3.50, is a particularly brilliant glossary you’ll refer too time and time again too.
The Room Diffuser
Scenting your room with the aromatherapy oils that will help you slip off into sleep is a great idea. The ZenBow, £45.99, is a new discovery of mine. Once plugged in, it releases a steady flow of water vapour that’s subtly scented with whatever essential oils you add to the water in the reservoir. It shuts off automatically once it has run out of water so it’s not the worst thing in the world if you fall asleep before turning it off, and the top part of the pyramid calmly works its way through various calming colours so it’s visually relaxing too. It’s just brilliant. Their Purity Sleep Blend Oil is a good partner to the diffuser; it combines relaxing lavender, mandarin, patchouli, sage and sandalwood. And relax.
Aromatherapy Associates is another firm favourite when it comes to aromatherapy gems (their Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil, £45, is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning). Opt for either Aromatherapy Associates Relax Room Fragrance, £23, or De-Stress Frankincense Pure Essential Oil, £27 – both will help you wind down and pass out the moment your head hits the pillow. I like to use them with Aromatherapy Associates Home Fragrancer, £46 – it’s a ceramic plate that warms the oils and allows their scent to pervade the air.
The Pillow Spray
A light mist of This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray, £25, always helps me to nod off. It’s subtle blend of lavender, patchouli and vetivert always does the trick. I keep a full-sized bottle by my bed at home and spray it on my pillow around an hour before I hit the hay and every time I change the sheets. I travel a lot so I carry the travel size with me on trips; a quick spray over a hotel pillow anywhere in the world and I can quickly trick my brain into thinking I’m at home and in my own bed.
When you need to pull out the big guns reach for This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less, £12. Rub the oils over your pulse points and allow the eucalyptus, frankincense and lavender oil to work their magic.