The best scents to encourage sleep

Words by Elisha Kennedy

You're lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, visualising that free fall into deep, deep sleep... or not.

Sometimes our screens keep us wild-eyed and at other times our train of thought feels like the Japanese high-speed railway. The more you concentrate on the nothingness of sleep the more the everythingness of daily life seems to crush you.

In this transitional state from wakefulness to sleep, our senses are heightened; the smell of freshly laundered sheets, maybe the hot breath of someone next to us. In this time, noises, movements and smells all have a greater effect on us, and when used wisely, keeping the right scents in your bedroom might just be your ticket to sweet dreams. We spoke with three different women who work with scents, to find out which ones encourage slumber. Above: image of incense & holders courtesy of Bodha Modern Wellness Emily L'Ami of Bodha Modern Wellness:

Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Vetiver are all wonderful essential oils to promote sleep. Lavender's proven to increase slow-wave sleep, the deep slumber where the heartbeat slows, the muscles relax and the brain organises memory. Vetiver, also known as the 'oil of tranquillity' is rich & earthy and perfect if you struggle to shut your mind off at the end of the day. Roman Chamomile has a comforting sweet herbal scent that's great for creating a peaceful atmosphere in the bedroom (and it's a good ones for kids). Before bed you want to use small amounts of essential oil so the smell doesn't become a distraction. A diffuser is great, or you can sprinkle a couple of drops of essential oil on a tissue & tuck in under your pillow. Creating your own 'sleep ritual' is a really powerful way to make that mind body connection and let your subconscious know it's time to let go and sleep. __Above: Image of La Romance candle courtesy of Maison Balzac Elise Pioch of Maison Balzac

My piece of advice would be to keep an unlit candle on the bedside table, I always find that the fragrance throw of the cold wax is so amazing, less intense although complex. There was a recent study that managed to show how during the night, the olfactive notes manage to find their way into our dreams, so I recommend choosing whichever fragrances that you want to dream of! Above: Ayu campaign image courtesy of The Ayu __Alanna Quin of The Ayu

Good essential oils to use in the bedroom before sleep include those which have a calming effect on the nervous system such as Lavender, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile and Sandalwood. Creating a good bedtime ritual to help unwind is essential and might include meditation to quieten the mind, a foot massage with warm medicated oil, which helps to destress the body and ground the nervous system. Also by going to bed by 10pm and rising by 6am, you benefit from the time its most easiest to fall asleep and live in greater overall harmony with the natural cycles of day and night. Also following a Vata-pacifying diet that includes grounding, nourishing and warm, easily digestible whole foods helps to gain a good night's sleep. What you eat at night determines not only your sleep but how you will wake and feel the next day.