This is the second of a three-part series that breaks down some sensory tips on how to have a great night’s sleep.
We like to think that sleep is very much a sensory experience. As your body rests and recharges for a new day, a wonderful blend of environmental factors come together to determine the quality of your sleep. Whether you know it or not, all 5 senses are at play: sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing. The brightness of your room, the softness of your sheets, the smell of your surroundings, the food you consumed that day, and the background sounds are all factors that contribute to how good or bad your sleep is!
Smells are one of the most important things used to set the mood, including the mood for a good snooze. Aromatherapy is frequently used to relax you and promote good sleep, which is why you may find yourself having an especially hard time staying awake in a soothing spa that smells amazing.
Because scents are so psychologically and physiologically powerful, they are a huge part of our emotional memory, and can trigger certain memories and emotions associated with the scent. This way, particular smells can even affect our subconscious while we sleep, influencing dreams and our subconscious physiological state.
And also, science aside, a bedroom that smells good and sheets that smell fresh are just infinitely more inviting than musty ones. Read on to find out what scents and essential oils you should add to your bedtime routine for a great night’s sleep.
Chamomile is well-known to have insomnia-alleviating properties. Instead of drinking a cup of Chamomile tea before bed, why not try something new and inhale it instead? Historically, it’s been used as an ancient herbal remedy to reduce stress levels and anxiety, and can even be used to tackle depression, which is why it’s particularly good for calming and soothing you before bed.
One of the most divine and popular scents, it’s an easy go-to that’s known for its relaxing effects. That’s why you commonly see lavender in bed and bath products such as bath salts and candles! Research has shown that lavender can help increase slow-wave sleep, slow down your heart rate, and promote muscle relaxation. All these come together for an exceptionally restful night’s sleep.
Another spa favourite, Clary Sage is a powerful essential oil that is known for its antidepressant effects. It does this by working as a natural sedative, reducing cortisol levels a.k.a the dreaded stress hormone. With lesser stress comes better sleep!
This is great for those who suffer from allergies and are sick and tired (literally!) of sleeping with a stuffy nose. Peppermint is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce swelling and your nose and airways and clear the blockage. For those with mild sleep apnea, this can also help to reduce your symptoms and snoring.
Like many others in this list, Sandalwood helps relieve stress and anxiety, but has a much more woody and earth scent as compared to the others, so it’s a great choice for those who want to steer clear of citrus and florals. Research has also suggested that it can reduce wakefulness, resulting in a sedative effect. Useful for sleepless nights!
There are many different ways these oils can be used – you can mix them with water in a diffuser, get an oil-infused candle (although, for safety reasons, we never recommend sleeping with a flame), or simply apply a few drops of essential oil on your pulse points or pillow (don’t forget to dilute with a carrier oil if you have sensitive skin). Here’s to smelling good and sleeping great!