To try and get off to sleep I don’t count sheep jumping over a farm gate. Instead, I try and remember and name all the ingredients and essential oils in my pillow mist.
It works with This Works. I start off with jasmine, sandalwood and cananga odorata (ylang ylang). Then its sandalwood and balsam extract. By the time I get to citrus zurantiim bergamie, my eyelids are drooping and I am beginning to doze off.
The final words that go through my mind as I drift off completely are Linalool, Limonene, Geraniol, Farnesol, Eugenol and Isoeugenol.
It is my tried and tested go-to-go-sleep mantra.
I rarely have to mention lavender. That’s taken as read. It’s in practically everything. A sedative and anxiety reliever, lavender is your Gaba neurotransmitters best friends. They are the things that’s send you off.
Not that you can overdose on lavender but too much augustifolia has down sides. Some users wake up and think they are in fields of Provence. Around Grasse. Others wake up in the morning and think they have slept the night with their yoga instructor or spa therapist.
I sleep well but have had hard times with insomnia. To nod off I still need occasional assistance which isn’t a single malt. It got so bad and I got so het up, I had to go to the doctor.
I described the symptoms. The racing mind, the palpitations, the restless feet, the tossing and turning, the confused circadian rhythms, brain fog, irritability, the oscillating eyeballs and paranoia about not sleeping. He listened, nodded and said, “Miaroma”.
Which I thought was a terminal condition. Then he said, “Honeysuckle” which I thought a little forward and fresh and not appropriate in a doctor-patient relationship.
But he was prescribing or suggesting Holland & Barratt excellent lavender pillow spray.
I asked a friend for a second opinion and she said “Bach”. I immediately thought of bedside sound hubs that play tranquilizing sounds like hair driers and crashing waves rather than fugues and orgelwerke. But she was recommending a brand of flower remedy “rescue” pastilles.
The friend is a notoriously bad sleeper and has virtually bankrupted herself trying to get a good night’s sleep. Her bedroom is full of vegetarian melatonin capsules, valerian tablets and West Lab bath salt sachets.
She had tried everything. Putting her pillows in the freezer, vanilla pods in the pillows, earplugs, diffuser reeds, cranial electrotherapy, pre -bed de-stressing eucalyptus bubble baths, Lenor-washed duvets, low watt bulbs and dimmers, thick curtains, weighted blankets, oat milk body lotion, cannabis, every conceivable sleeping position from the solder to the starfish, caffeine curfews, blue light and social media screen time diets.
And even exercise.
At one stage she was making herself bedtime potato and almond yoghourt. As a natural sleep aid rather than a face mask. She gave up on eye face masks. As she always dreamed of firing squads. She couldn’t get on with musical relaxants as she couldn’t ever get comfortable wearing headphones in bed.
I suggested she tried my method of reciting the contents of sleep sprays. Although no neuro- scientists, I told her she would fall asleep before she got anywhere near Vetiveria zizanoides.
Sadly, she said she had tried it but been awake all night trying to remember tonka.
I asked if she had tried CBD oil. She shook her head ,said she had but it was no good. She has put on weight as she woke up every morning with the Munchies”, wanting to spread huge amounts of jam and marmalade on a large portion of battered cod and chips.
To create the optimal sleep environment you have to look after you parasympathetic nervous system and slow down your brain and its alpha and beta active levels to Duh ! zzzzzzzzzz.
You can spend a lot of money doing this. There’s a lot of price snobbery with modern bed spritzers. A friend only uses Olverum. Another Votary and another L’Occitane. My sister has never opened her Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax sleep misy which she bought two years ago. But it’s in a prominent place. And still has the £25 price tag on.
Pillow mists can also cause marital disharmony. Another friend’s friend left her husband when she found out he was having an affair with the assistant of the local health shop. He couldn’t explain why he had started using a Tisserand roller behind his ears and Lab Tonica libido-lifting balm on his pulse points.
Or, the ashwasandha powder in the sheets.
You can tell a lot about a person from the way their bedroom smells. You can give the wrong impression when someone sees you spritzing your bed linen with a bottle that says “Cowshed” on it.
Also, nothing is more of a turn-off than seeing anti snore throat spray on their bedside table.
Or, worse still, an unpeeled durian.