Sleep, or lack of it, has become an increasingly lamented topic as of late. Even before the lockdown, the business of snoozing was booming, with the global sleep-aids market estimated to reach $79.8m by 2023. Not that anyone is surprised: a good night’s rest boosts memory, mood and concentration. But in an uneasy climate that has us all tossing, turning and staring at the clock, what can be done – fast?
“Establishing a regular sleep routine, with cues such as lowering of lights, taking a shower and turning off screens, will help,” says Dr Anna Persaud, CEO of natural skincare brand This Works. “But if you find that you are still unable to switch off, then you may want to try a natural sleep aid.”
Dr Persaud recommends a spritz of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray for a soporific burst of lavender, vetivert and chamomile (£19.50). Sounds too simple, but in trials 97 per cent of users slept better than normal, 98 percent felt more refreshed in the morning and 89 per cent fell asleep faster. Other notable pillow companions include Mauli’s Dharma mist (£22), Votary’s stress-fighting lavender blend (£35) and an orange-oil based spray from the queen of herbal wellness and beauty Susanne Kaufmann (€24).
For a more direct approach, target sensory points such as wrists, the neck and behind the ears. A key ingredient here is chamomile, which contains chemicals – notably apigenin, a plant flavonoid – that bind to receptors in the brain and have been shown to decrease anxiety and initiate sleep. Anatome’s Essential Sleep Oil uses the herb with seaweed and soothing frankincense (£35), while Bramley’s Calm Balm combines it with rosehip and yarrow (£22) and Indie Lee’s Sleep Body Wash pairs it with lavender for a shower that preps the mind and body for rest ($24).
“We have seen an uplift in searches for sleep products on our website, alongside search terms such as ‘stress’ and ‘calm’,” says Space NK’s chief merchandising officer Margaret Mitchell, who partially attributes the surge to the effects that sleep (or lack of it) can have on our skin. Aromatherapy Associates’ Deep Relax Sleep Well Nourishing Body Treatment gets to work with a formula designed to soothe the skin and ease the path to sleep at the same time (£49, from spacenk.com). Similarly, Dermalogica’s Sound Sleep Cocoon optimises nighttime skin recovery, while lavender, sandalwood and patchouli encourage restful sleep (£72.50). Skincare with soporific potential? Sounds like a new standard in beauty sleep.