Does lavender help you sleep?

Renowned for its dreamy effects, and used for centuries in beauty products and herbal remedies, lavender is top of the list when it comes to helping us sleep. There have been a plethora of studies into this widely used plant in a bid to unlock the shrub’s enchanting secrets and discover why it can have such a calming affect on our disposition. 

Lavender is a heady, purple flower, valued for its gentle and enchanting aroma. There are 47 known species of lavender (or lavandula) which have been used in healing and relaxation treatments for centuries across the world.

The Ancient Egyptians used the flowering plant in many of their cosmetics (especially in massage oils). The Greek philosopher Diognes recommended covering the feet with lavender oil to allow its soothing aroma to slowly rise up the body throughout the day. And the Ancient Romans used Lavender for healing wounds, headaches and even in their washing.

Researchers have now shown how potent lavender is when used as a natural remedy to help aid sleep and today this is one of its most common uses with lavender turning up in night-time beauty products, pillow mists and home fragrances.  

How does lavender improve sleep?

Sleep specialist, Richard Jolie says that: “Rather than directly affecting the quality of sleep itself, research has shown the key effects of herbal fragrances like lavender to help reduce stress levels thereby relaxing people enough for them to sleep much better.”

How this works, remains unclear. “One suggestion is that one of the major components of lavender oil, linalool, produces a sedative effect by acting on GABA pathways. GABA is one of the major inhibitory neurotransmitters in the nervous system so is responsible for reduced nerve cell excitation...GABA also has a major role to play in brain circuits involved in sleep,” explains Christabel Majendie, sleep therapist at Naturalmat.

Does Lush use lavender?

Native to Africa, Asia and Europe, lavender is now primarily grown in Provence, France where it has become a major tourist attraction. The lavender in Provence is planted from March to April and once the harvest begins, Lush will take delivery of some 17 tonnes of high-quality lavender and lavandin oil each year to use in a wide range of products. 

“Generally lavender, tonka and similar ingredients work extremely well to sooth the mind and help people sleep, sadly we regret that it won’t resolve any worries about your in-laws coming to stay or anything else that might be keeping you up at night” says Lush co-founder, Mark Constantine.

What products can help put an end to sleepless nights?

Looking for a sophisticated soak? Create mountains of lilac bubbles with A French Kiss bubble bar. The herbal infusion of woody rosemary and verdant lavender untangles knotted thoughts and brings you back down to earth, while extra virgin coconut oil creates a blanket of soft, soothing suds.

If you’re stepping into a steamy shower then Sleepy shower gel is fundamental to a relaxing routine. A strong lavender aroma hits at first, filling your shower with botanical steam, before  a mellower undertone of vanilla-like tonka and caramelly benzoin resinoid fills your nose, finally a burst of sensual ylang ylang comes through as a floral finish. If you like the sound of this, then you can also find the same scent in the shimmering, lilac-coloured Twilight bath bomb.

Finish off by slathering yourself in skin-softening Sleepy body lotion, this pastel lilac cream will wrap you up in lavender water and a lavender flower infusion. Rich Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, illipe butter and oatmeal infusion enrich and condition the skin, while the addition of tonka to the mix gives this malty blend a slightly spicy cinnamon-like note. Heady ylang ylang and balsamic benzoin resinoid will bewitch your senses, sending you into sublime slumbers.

How to create a lavender bedtime routine?

The hot water from your soak or shower will have dilated your pores, so this is the ideal time to carry out a skincare regime as the nutrients, oils and butters will be more readily absorbed into the skin.

Pinch a small piece of Angels On Bare Skin fresh cleanser and mix with a little warm water in your palm, once this has formed a paste, apply to your face in circular motions before rinsing or wiping away with a soft cloth. Inspired by an ancient medieval recipe, this restorative cleanser harnesses the power of lavender in order to balance your skin. Ground almonds add a small amount of gentle scrub, transforming to a soothing almond milk once water is added and resulting in a dazzlingly radiant complexion.

Once cleansed, close your eyes and spritz Eau Roma Water toner directly onto your face, before wiping away with a clean towel or cotton pads. A blend of lavender and rose will even out your skin tone and help to close your pores after a deep clean.

Finally, smooth on delicately floral, lavender, geranium and rose Vanishing Cream. This light moisturiser sinks straight in, leaving behind only a light blossoming scent and gleaming skin.

What about a lavender pillow spray?

We know you’re eager to climb into bed and close those tired eyes after this sleep enhancing routine, but hold fire for just one moment! Before you slip under the covers and drift into dreamland, spray yourself or your bedding with a liberal amount of Twilight body spray. A musical blend of lavender and tonka will infuse your slumbers for a deep sleep and help you to wake up feeling fresh.

Are lavender products safe to use on children and infants?

Mark says “Lush makes all of its own product perfume and we follow the international fragrance guidelines when doing so. The perfume in Sleepy body lotion falls within all the recommended parameters. However, we don’t think you should put any perfumed products on babies under the age of six months.

"Twilight is a body spray with a much higher content of perfume to Sleepy body lotion, so again we wouldn’t suggest spraying the body spray directly onto babies and young children. Again, please use your own judgement on this matter.

"Our advice to parents is to wear the products yourselves rather than applying it to your baby.

Twilight body spray is fine to use on children's bedding, we’d suggest spraying it onto the sheets, giving them a little shake and leaving it half an hour before putting your child to bed.

You could also try Ickle Baby Bot for baby bathers (over six months) who won’t settle. Designed with irritable children and babies in mind, this soothing bath bomb will help your little ones calm down ready for lights out. A magical mix of lavender, chamomile blue oil and sandalwood oil will make bedtime a breeze.

Discover more products to help you sleep better or read more about the effects of lavender. Now tuck up tight and enjoy a good... night’s... sleep...zzzZZZ

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