Once upon a time, being awake at 2am was the sign of an excellent night. Now, it’s quite the opposite. Like so many people, I’m regularly tossing and turning into the small hours, frustrated at not being able to drift off.
Getting a solid eight hours of sleep each night? You must be dreaming!
The problem is, I’ve got an infuriatingly chatty inner voice and it’s clearly nocturnal. It loves nothing better than to pipe up at 2am to outline a) what went wrong today and b) what’s likely to go wrong tomorrow. Yeah, thanks for that.
As such, I’m always on the lookout for anything to mute this mental chatter, and it’s currently the turn of The Body Shop’s Sleep range, from £9 here. It’s a new seven-piece collection which promises to go beyond looking nice on the bedside table and actually make a difference to your wellbeing.
Promisingly, the Body Shop says it’s been clinically proven by the European Sleep Centre to help users fall asleep faster and then enjoy improved sleep quality. If eco concerns keep you awake at night, you’ll be relieved to hear that it uses sustainably sourced aromatic lavender from Provence, as well as woody vetiver from Madagascar, introduced to help diversify local production.
To kick off my new sleep hygiene plan, I hopped into the bathroom with the Relaxing Hair & Body Wash, £12 here. I was delighted to see a range that prescribes a shower as a perfectly good alternative to the cliché of a deep bath. (Rarely time for that round mine once the kids have finally gone to bed.)
Once I’d done lathering, I slathered on the Balmy Body Cream, £25 here, then got busy spritzing with the Pillow Mist, £18 here.
The cream was beautifully soothing to apply and, to my mind, there was something genuinely soporific and almost mesmerising about the scent. My eyes were already closing by the time I dabbed my pulse points and duvet with the Essential Oil Blend, £18 here.
I did wake up – just once – but found it much easier than usual to tune out the blethering of my subconscious and drift back to sleep. I’m often grumpily awake already when my alarm goes off, but this time I was absolutely spark out (and having a very agreeable dream about cake, fyi).
I’ve been using at least some part of the range every night for the past couple of weeks so I’d like to think that the – probably inevitable – placebo effect has waned and I can get a better sense of how well it works.
Overall, I’d say it makes a difference. From a sleep psychology point of view, it’s nice to feel that you’ve not set yourself up to fail by not indulging in the mythical candlelit bath.
The scent certainly agrees with my nose, and I’d like to think I’ve set up an association between it and my brain to signal that it’s sleepy time. The balm feels fantastic on my skin as well.
It’s not a miracle cure for late-night nuisance calls from Brain Central, but I definitely find I’m less restless when I’m using it. The scent lingers long enough to take a good, calming lungful at 2am, then firmly tell my inner voice to give it a rest. I’m definitely going to keep this as part of my beauty sleep regime.
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