This post was inspired by several conversations with people who find it difficult to sleep, or even relax. I know I’m not alone in having been through times where I’ve struggled with these things (usually stress related) and experienced the debilitating effect that lack of sleep can have on pretty much everything I do. My usual approach involved the following…
Camomile tea is top of my list - totally knocks me out and makes me sleep so deeply I can barely waken in the morning! A few drops of lavender oil on my pillow or oil burner, pillow mist, a good book and a hot water bottle. That’s been my formula which has worked well over the years, but I’ve discovered a few more tricks in recent months for uber relaxation and sweet dreams!
Neom Tranquillity Organic Bath Oil
This is a true luxury product which smells exquisite thanks to English Lavender, Sweet Basil and Jasmine… it smells really pretty and a capful can be used in the bath or massaged into the body before showering. The latter gives a more intense hit of the essential oils, as you’re massaging the oil directly onto your skin before the steam of the shower surrounds you in a cloud of the gorgeous aroma. Saying that, a bath is more relaxing for obvious reasons - not least that you’re lying down! I save this for an occasional treat when I want to feel completely pampered.
Tranquillity Organic Bath Oil costs £32 at Neom Organics
Badger Balm - Lavender & Bergamot Sleep Balm
I’m very fond of this cute little tin of Sleep Balm, which is super easy to use. It is set completely firm, so that when you run your fingers over the surface just a small amount softens to the warmth of your touch (you can’t dig into it like Vaseline). It can be massaged into temples, pulse points and even used as a lip balm - and I slept like a baby the first time I tried this. Certified organic, it is made with Lavender and Bergamot to help you balance and unwind and has a really lovely gentle smell.
The full ingredients are extra virgin olive oil, castor oil, beeswax, and pure essential oils of bergamot, ginger, rosemary, lavender and balsam fir.
Sleep Balm costs £3.99 (small size) or £6.99 at Bath & Unwind
Liz Earle Harmony & Comfort Candles
It was news to me that Liz Earle does candles - or aromatherapy products - but these two little glass jars of vital oils completely blew me away they smell so exquisite. The only heart breaking thing about them is that they’re only available in these teeny 5cm high travel sizes. Harmony claims to create a sense of wellness and balance while Comfort is soothing and reassuring. Comfort is my favourite of the two as I adore warm, woody scents.
These cost £9 each at Liz Earle
Kneipp Balancing Mineral Bath Salt - Lavender
Lavender is one of the most widely used relaxation aids and Kneipp Balancing Mineral Bath Salt is made with lavender essential oil and salt crystals evaporated from pure underground salt water sea. When I first opened this tub the beautiful fragrance drew me right in and I wanted to run a bath and jump straight in! A few hours later I did just that and found it incredibly soothing both physically and mentally.
Just look how gorgeous the natural salt crystals are... of course they dissolve completely in the bath leaving a cloudy at-home spa treatment!
Kneipp Lavender Salts cost £8.95 at garden.co.uk
While the Lavender salts are gorgeously soothing, if you want a serious sleep aid, I’d recommend another Kneipp product…
Kneipp Herbal Bath with Valerian & Hops
This is what I’d call a proper sleep potion, containing essential oils of Valerian and Hops essences, which promote relaxation and a restful sleep. Of all the products here, this is the only one I’d suggest using exclusively at night time. When I first smelt it the fragrance was so intoxicating I couldn’t resist popping a few drops in a little bowl of hot water next to my desk, just so that I could breathe it in and enjoy it. Hand on heart, within about 20 minutes I was sinking back into the chair and could quite easily have nodded off on the spot!
This stuff is amazing… I really felt every knot of tension drift away when I bathed in it. It turns the water a lovely deep blue… same colour as where the light hits the top of the bottle in my pic. It’s really concentrated - you only need one capful for an entire bath - which also makes it economical. I love how the entire upstairs is filled with the soothing aroma after I’ve used it (and secretly hope the children will sleep a little longer the next morning!).
The best price I found was £6.95 at Fragrance Direct.
Silk Pillowcase ~ Charlotte & Co
I’ve fallen in love with this beauty from Charlotte & Co on a million levels. It’s extremely soothing to sleep on (I seriously don’t think I’ll ever be without one now that I’ve tried it!); it stops my hair from frizzing and tangling so much overnight and it prevents the skin creasing - therefore reducing wrinkles!
So yes it’s a luxury, but what girl would turn down a good night’s sleep and waking up with silky hair and smooth skin?! Ok so it may not be quite as fairytale as that, but every little helps! I expected silk to be quite cool and ‘slippy’ to sleep on, but it’s actually really warm and comforting - I genuinely love it.
Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden - Soothe to Sleep Collection
A friend gave me this set of products for Christmas and I just love them… my favourites are the body elixir and comforting night butter, which are extremely moisturising and smell divine! I’ve raved about them on twitter before and many of you agreed they feel and smell like a much more expensive product. If I haven’t had time for a bath, I like to massage these into my arms and neck before bed so that I can drift off inhaling the soothing fragrance.
This pack contains:
Soothing Bath Float 75ml
Smoothing Silk Scrub 50ml
4 in 1 Restoring Body Elixir 75ml
Comforting Night Butter 50ml
Serenity Eye Pillow
This set £20.50 at Sanctuary.co.uk and is currently part of a 3 for 2 offer.
L’Occitane Lavande Body & Massage Gel, Relaxing Roll-on and Lavender Candle
Like most people who have tried L’Occitane I’m a huge fan and this lovely range smells sweeter than most lavender products I’ve come across. I sometimes find lavender a bit dusty-fusty, but this smells really pretty and used together, these three products are a lovely way to help you relax and drift off to sleep.
I like to light the candle while I’m getting ready for bed or reading my book, so that the room is filled with the fragrance. It’s quite a gentle scent and not at all overpowering.
Made with lavender essential oil from from Haute-Provence, the body & massage gel is light, cooling and silky. It’s an unusual texture, almost like a creamy gel that feels like a light oil once massaged in and stays tacky for a little while, so that it can be used for massage or just left to soak in. It’s lovely and cooling on weary legs at the end of a long day!
White Chestnut ~ Bach Flower Remedies
If like me, you’re one of those people whose mind just won’t stop racing when you want it to, these drops are a godsend. The problem usually occurs when you’re trying to get to sleep - or even worse, if you waken in the middle of the night: the ‘3am darkness doom’ when everything seems so much worse than it does by the light of day!
I discovered White Chestnut when I was pregnant, often an ironically sleepless time - and these are safe to use during pregnancy. Just pop a few drops under your tongue (the taste is quite pleasant) and they really do seem to help the mind settle - and hopefully let you drift off to sleep!
White Chestnut costs £5.95 from Feel Unique for 20ml or you can pick it up in Boots or a Health Store.
So that’s my sleep secrets, which I really hope are helpful to some of you. Do you have any others you’d like to share?
This post featured a mix of gifts, purchases & samples.