Could essential oils be the sleep solution you’ve been longing for? Stylist spoke to leading aromatherapists to find out which oils you need to help you get a good night’s rest.
Here in the UK, our sleep patterns are on a downward spiral. A study carried out by The Sleep Council revealed that last year 74% of us had less than 7 hours sleep a night, and 12% had less than 5 hours. Pinterest searches for ‘sleep optimisation’ are up by 166%, so it seems our relationship with sleep is in dire need of some help.
We all know the perils of not getting enough rest, from putting a strain on relationships to a general lack of energy. And there are plenty of reasons why our on-the-go lives are interrupting sleep, but fixing this with an entire lifestyle overhaul isn’t exactly ideal.
But, adding a little aromatherapy into your nighttime routine could be all the help you need. There have been countless studies proving that essential oils, like lavender, can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve sleep quality as a natural alternative to sleep medication - plus Pinterest searches for ‘natural sleep aids’ have increased by 437% this year.
Essential oils aren’t for everyone though, so if you’re pregnant check with your doctor before you start using them, and never use them directly on the skin in their concentrated form.
Here are the Stylist beauty desk-approved products to try…
Tisserand Aromatherapy experts explained to Stylist.co.uk that sandalwood is woody and sweet, and that it instills a sense of peace and tranquility. It is considered relaxing but also restorative and emotionally grounding.
If you’re using pure sandalwood oil, Tisserand recommends adding it to a vaporiser, along with lavender. The sandalwood will help you relax and switch off from the stresses of the day. But remember, never put pure essential oil directly on your skin - it has to be carefully diluted with a carrier oil.
Lush Ceridwen’s Cauldron Bath Oil
Drop this muslin wrapped melt into your bath and the warmth will help release all the sandalwood and lavender oils into the water. Once the product softens a little use it to wash your skin. Do some deep breathing exercises while you soak to really help yourself chill out.
Votary Facial Oil Rose Maroc and Sandalwood
This Votary oil works wonders for body and mind before bed. Rub it between your hands, lift them to your nose and inhale for three deep breaths, then massage it into your face for overnight moisture.
Ylang Ylang Oil
As Christina Salcedas, from Aromatherapy Associates explains, “Ylang ylang is both euphoric and an anti-depressant, making it great for a positive sleep.” It is also thought to help ease anxiety - which can be another reason for interrupted sleep.
Mauli Surrender Body Oil to Sleep Dharma Pillow Mist
Full of ylang ylang, chamomile and lavender, this pillow mist is the perfect concoction. Spritz over your pillow each night before you get into bed in order to get the full effect of this scent. Try spraying it on your pyjamas for an extra dose.
A’kin Ylang Ylang Shampoo
Treat yourself to an at-home head massage by rubbing this ylang ylang oil-infused shampoo into your scalp using fingertips to ease pressure. Follow up with the conditioner for maximum sleepy points.
Lola’s Apothecary Sweet Lullaby Soothing Body & Massage Oil
Don’t be put off by the lavender in this oil, instead the Ylang Ylang will help ease your stress and anxiety, in turn helping you nod off.
Anita Kaushal, co-founder of Mauli Rituals, explains that cedar wood makes for a soothing oil and is often used in incense. It’s known for its calming effect which helps restore a sense of spiritual clarity for greater inspiration and creativity.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Rosemary & Cedarwood Hair Treatment
Long-standing aromatherapy advocates, Neal’s Yard Remedies frequently use essential oils to help make you feel better and this hair treatment is no different. The cedarwood and lavender mix will sink into your scalp and make your bathroom smell like a spa.
Aesop Sage & Cedar Scalp Treatment
Treat your dry scalp to some TLC by massaging a couple of drops of this pre-shampoo oil into your scalp. Use it 15 minutes before you’re ready to get in the shower to allow the sleep-aiding cedarwood to work its magic.
“Heady and wonderfully potent, Jasmine is redolent of hot summers evenings and relaxation, it calms and soothes as well as gently uplifts,” explain Tisserand. So, not only will this oil help you relax, but it will also remind you of summer.
And if you need further convincing, there has even been studies that prove that Jasmine leads to a more restful sleep.
Herbivore Jasmine Glowing Hydration Body Oil
For the Instagram fans, you might recognise these chic bottles from all those shelfies on your feed. If you want to give the gift of sleep, this Jasmine body oil would make the perfect present.
Bamford Jasmine Bath Oil
Get double the aromatherapy benefits with this Bamford bath oil. Inhale the fragranced steam while the oils to soak into your skin. All the more reason for another long, hot bath.
Darphin Jasmine Aromatic Care
Finish off your evening skincare routine with five drops of this Darphin oil. Rub directly into your skin whilst inhaling the Jasmine, or mix into your favourite night cream to create a soothing blend.
“Lavender not only aids relaxation and sleep but it also helps prevent anxiety, which can also contribute to poor sleeping habits,” explains Chloë Luxton, founder of Bramley Products, which makes lavender the perfect nighttime addition.
“Our sense of smell is directly wired to the brain’s centers of memory and emotion, so certain essential oils do actually improve the quality of sleep by heading straight to the part of the brain which controls emotions.”
Weleda Lavender Creamy Body Wash
All out lavender, this is best in your evening shower. Work it into a lather, making sure to breathe in all the seriously calming aromas.
De Mamiel Anchor
Lavender has been cleverly blended with a whole array of essential oils and other sleep wonders, like magnesium, in this balm. Dab it over your pulse points and let the scent to help you drift off.
Bramley Sleep Spray
The perfect sleep spray consists of two things: a calming, alluring scent and a decent nozzle that creates a very fine cloud of mist. This Bramley spray gets a big tick in each box.
Tisserand explains that chamomile is an oil that has strong pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also a very helpful sedative, and it’s calming and soothing to both emotions and physical complaints, making it a very useful oil for bringing comfort.
Those benefits are echoed by Chloë Luxton of Bramley, too, who says, “Chamomile essential oils are also known to reduce stress and anxiety thus helping you sleep longer and deeper throughout the night.” Sign us up.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
The clue’s in the name - this stuff truly does work. In a study undertaken by This Works, 97% of testers said they slept better, and 100% would recommend it to a friend. After the first spritz, the blend of camomile, lavender and vetiver is slowly released throughout the night to ensure you stay slumbering.
AromaWorks Nurture Room Mist
Liberally spritz this scent around your room before you do some night-time meditation and feel your mind ease into a state of serenity. Move from yoga mat straight into to bed and drift off.
Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist
A pillow mist might seem extravagant, but not only will this one make your bed smell like a field of calming flowers, the scent will trigger your brain to release stress, too, which in turn will you get to sleep.
This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle
As soon as you start thinking about getting ready for bed, light this lavender-filled candle. By the time you actually get under your duvet your room will the definition of zen. Just don’t forget to blow it out before you nod off.