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As someone who sometimes has trouble falling asleep, I've read a lot of advice about how to relax before bed. Avoid blue light devices, read more books, meditate, go to bed at the same time every night — the list goes on!
I'm willing to try just about anything, but few of these tips actually ever become habit.
Then, a friend suggested I try aromatherapy — specifically, misting my pillows and sheets with a lavender and chamomile spray before climbing into bed. I was skeptical but willing to try it if it meant getting a few more minutes or hours of rest each night.
Asutra Mist Your Mood Lavender Aromatherapy Mist, $15, Amazon
After using the Asutra Mist Your Mood Lavender Mist every night for a about a month now, I'm fully addicted. I can't say for sure if the aromatherapy is what actually helps me fall asleep — there's a chance it's a placebo effect — but I've developed a habit, and the scent definitely calms and relaxes me before bed.
It helped me establish a nighttime routine
After washing my face, brushing my teeth and going through my whole skin care regimen, I used to just climb into bed then watch a show or two on my iPad or read a book. It was almost never at the same time, and I'd lay awake anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour in the dark.
When I got the pillow spray, I decided to try and use it as part of a more deliberate routine before bed. I started getting ready at around the same time each night. Then, I'd fold back my sheets, fluff my pillows and generously spritz my whole bed with the lavender and chamomile mist. Then, I'd take a couple of deep breaths through my nose, hoping to activate the "therapy" part of aromatherapy.
Creating a nighttime ritual inspired me to use my phone's bedtime settings to try and get to sleep at the same time each night, and to switch from watching Netflix in bed some nights to only reading books. I felt much more aware of the lavender scent while reading, and the combination of a calming scent and the quiet of reading really set my mind at ease and created a more tranquil nighttime environment.
IT SMELLS AMAZING
In the aromatherapy tradition, lavender is believed to calm your mind and relax your body as well. Chamomile is meant to be a nice, soft scent that can help sedate your mind and lull you to sleep. Scent is a powerful thing, and whether or not there is any merit to aromatherapy, I definitely felt soothed and more peaceful when surrounded by the scent of this mist each night.
Lavender's herbal, almost sharp smell reminded me of the semester I spent abroad in the south of France in college. I'd forgotten that I used to walk to the market each week and buy bouquets of dried lavender to keep by my bed.
I suggest stopping to take some deep, slow breaths as soon as you mist your pillows, before you lay down. The scent continues to release as you roll over or move, which I find delightful and comforting as I start to fall asleep.
THE FORMULA IS SIMPLE
It's worth noting that the only ingredients in this spray are essential oils and water. It contains no added chemicals, phosphates, parabens or alcohol. It's colorless too, so there's no risk of this mist staining your sheets or pajamas.
YOU CAN SPRAY IT ON YOUR SKIN, TOO
In addition to the key aromatherapy elements of chamomile and lavender, this spray includes aloe and jojoba essential oils. You can use it on your face and body as a gentle toner to hydrate and soothe the skin.
BOTTOM LINE: IS IT WORTH IT?
Absolutely, yes! After using the Asutra Mist Your Mood Lavender and Chamomile spray for a few weeks, I do feel like I'm falling asleep faster and sleeping more deeply through the night. Part of that is certainly linked to establishing a healthier routine before bed, but the ritual of the mist is central to that routine. I personally believe that misting my pillows and sheets each night with this calming scent helps calm me. Now, each night when I breath in the lavender essence, my mind knows it's time for rest, and begins to power down.