Trouble sleeping? Experiencing difficulty falling asleep, or struggling to wake up feeling refreshed is a common problem that is thought to regularly affect one in three people in the UK.* There are numerous causes of insomnia, ranging from stress and hormonal changes, to excessive caffeine consumption and using mobile phones or other electrical devices before bed.
The quality of our sleep is linked to our long term health and the better sleep we have, the better our body performs. A great night’s sleep is important for us to maintain high energy, mood and concentration levels during the day.
So what can you do to improve your sleep pattern and aim for a great night’s sleep?
I recently discovered that implementing a few tweaks to my lifestyle were in order to help me relax before bed, along with help from several products that helped make this routine a more pleasurable part of my day.
These lifestyle changes includes:
- Setting and sticking to regular times for going to bed and waking up.
- Avoiding caffeine, heavy meals and exercise for a few hours before going to bed.
- Not watching TV, using my laptop or browsing on my phone in bed.
My aims were to:
- Unwind before bed for an hour or so with gentle exercise such as yoga.
- Replace TV and devices with reading a book.
- Create a relaxing environment in which to fall asleep.
So far this is going pretty well, and one thing that I’ve learnt is that pampering yourself and giving your body a treat before bed is a great way of transforming a routine into something that you look forward to and then becomes habit.
So, what products have I been using? You might see a pattern emerging… yes they all contain lavender!
Lavender is renowned for it’s relaxing properties. It’s been proven to aid relaxation and induces a feeling of calm by slowing down the activity of the nervous system, decreasing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Lavender oil is also effective at soothing sore muscles, aches and pains. According to a recent study at Southampton University, introducing lavender into a bedtime routine improved sleep quality by 20%.** Let’s take a look at my favourite lavender-infused products of the moment.
Lavender Bath Bomb by Temple & Twine, £3.99
A great way to prepare your body for sleep is to take a bath. Combined with reading a book, this is a great way to make some time for yourself and switch off your mind. I personally love a candlelit bath (Next do a great range of well-being candles – check out the Sleep Fragranced Candle with lavender, sandalwood and jasmine extracts ,£6) with a scented bath oil or bath bomb to inhale and sooth the senses. Temple & Twine’s Lavender Bath Bomb is an absolute delight! The brand focuses on creating natural products that are good to the body, mind and soul, without using any nasty chemicals that can potentially harm the skin. The lavender-infused bath bomb created a gentle aroma that filled the bathroom and the left the water a gentle shade of lilac, with a sprinkling of lavender flowers. Still in the early stages of development, I’m really excited to see where this brand will go!
Sleepy by Lush, £13.95 /215g
Following a bath, my new bedtime routine has found a secure staple – applying Sleepy by Lush. I’d read reviews online, so I was eager to test out this miracle product that everyone was excited about. It did not disappoint – this body lotion really is incredible. Since buying it, I’ve used it every night and I’ve had some really great nights’ sleep. The dreamy, lilac lotion is made with oatmeal infusion, lavender flower and sweet tonka extract. The combination results in a gentle, floral yet malty formula that’s instantly comforting on application. (My partner also loves the smell, which he’s also convinced helps him to sleep, so that’s a bonus!) I lie on my front when I sleep, so I’ve taken to smoothing the body lotion on my chest and arms so that I can smell the cream on my skin while I’m drifting off. As well as it’s relaxing properties, the lotion contains cocoa butter, making it a fantastic moisturiser. It has just the right light consistency that sinks into the skin without leaving any greasy residue. I really can’t recommend this product enough – well done Lush!
Pillow Spray Violet Lavender by Home & Body Company
This next product is a bit of a mystery as it was bought for me as a gift by my partner and I can’t find it online anywhere, so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of information on it, or a price… It was originally bought from TK Maxx and on the bottle it says that it’s from Home & Body Company. I’ve been on their website, but they don’t list this product so perhaps it was a limited edition product? If anyone else recognises it and knows a bit more information, please do let me know!
Anyhow, this is the first pillow spray that I’ve used and it’s definitely a welcome addition to my bedtime routine. The sweet lavender scent is extremely soothing when spritzed on my pillow and it aids my aim to create a relaxing environment in my bedroom. It is a lovely product and I can’t get enough of the packaging with the cute inspirational quote on the front ‘It’s okay not to be perfect’, which looks fab on my dressing table.
However, one of my resolutions this year is to use more natural products that are kind to the skin and contrary to the other two products that I’ve mentioned, unfortunately this pillow spray isn’t all that natural. Instead of containing lavender oil, the ingredients list ‘parfum’ which is likely a fragrance that imitates the scent of lavender. If you are particularly concerned about whether the products you use contain essential oils or fragrance oils, it’s important to check the ingredient list before purchasing. For me, this was a downside to this product as the benefits of lavender essential oil are far superior to a fragrance oil. An alternative that I have been recommended is This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (£18/75ml) which is made using 100% pure essential oils, so I’ll be sure to try that out.
Lavender isn’t a cure for insomnia…
…but there are certainly proven benefits to using it as a calming influence in your routine. I’ve found that by introducing some of the lifestyle changes mentioned above, plus the addition of these lavender-infused products, I am able to create a relaxing environment that fully prepares me for rest and sleep.
Do you have a particular routine or favourite product that helps you to sleep? Comment below!