We spoke to three industry leaders about the importance of sleep: the team at Olverum, Brendan Murdock (founder of Anatomē), and aromatherapist Michelle Roques O'Neil (founder of Therapie).
In what ways can better sleep affect our mental and physical health?
“Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing; there is a reason why nature has designed us to spend a third of our lives sleeping. When we sleep well, we are restored on every level – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.” – Olverum
“Sleep is essential for repair and regeneration, especially in the REM phase; if this doesn't happen, we eventually fall into a deficit, and as a result, the quality of sleep is affected, as is our mental and emotional well-being.” – Michelle Roques-O'Neil, Founder of Therapie
How can aromatherapy help to reduce stress and benefit sleeping patterns?
“As the name 'aroma - therapy' suggests, the most direct pathway is through smell, directly influencing the brain's limbic system and inducing a sedative effect. The second more targeted method occurs through absorption via the circulation and neuropathways; each essential oil has an affinity to specific body systems. This means blended aromatherapy oils can affect several systems in the body, and over time their influence can help regulate sleep irregularities and the underlying factors.” – Michelle Roques-O'Neil, Founder of Therapie
“The anatomē collection is actually borne out of a process called aromachology, where the power of scent can train your brain and body that it is time to sleep. We distil these unique oil blends into highly concentrated formulations that are highly concentrated and supremely effective.” – Brendan Murdock, Founder of Anatomē
What scents are the most effective for helping with sleep, and what effects can they have?
“Sedative oils like chamomile and lavender are known for their soothing qualities, but I also love petitgrain and vetiver, which tend to have quite woody and herbal notes. However, it’s important to consider that aromatherapy is very nuanced, and a skilled blender can work on several levels using the right combination of essential oils to alleviate underlying disruptors.” – Michelle Roques-O'Neil, Founder of Therapie
“We have 4 oils within our sleep range, which all help with a slightly different aspect of falling asleep. Our Chamomile sleep oil helps with an uninterrupted sleep, as the Chamomile has calming properties, while our Frankincense blend helps with anxiety and stress, quieting the mind for a more peaceful sleep.” – Brendan Murdock, Founder of Anatomē
“Enlivening citrus oils can help to uplift your mood while herbaceous notes of lavender, clary sage, hops, chamomile can help to soothe your racing thoughts to a more tranquil state of mind, ready for restorative sleep. This helps to build an optimal environment for reducing stress, inflammatory reactivity and boosting reparative function in the body leaving you healthier and more resilient. The Restful Pillow Mist, has been scientifically formulated to support and enhance each of the stages of your sleep cycle. Just two spritzes on bed linen 30 seconds before getting into bed can ensure you wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready for whatever the new day has to offer.” – Olverum
What are the benefits of incorporating calming scents into your bath?
“A bathing ritual helps to calm, relax and restore. In Japan, bathing is very much part of their culture, and such rituals are now being explored with more science based research that may be able to help more people to reduce stress, increase relaxation and regulate heart rhythm. Incorporating a sleep oil in your bath routine works well to create a natural steaming environment, alongside bath salts that allow your body to physically relax in the warm water.” – Brendan Murdock, Founder of Anatomē
“By taking an evening bath, you are interrupting your stress response, slowing your heart rate while allowing the relaxing effects of warm water to release tension from your body. I recommend testing the temperature of your evening bath with your elbow – taking a bath that’s too hot could have the opposite effect on your sleep.” – Michelle Roques-O'Neil, Founder of Therapie
What is the best way to use essential oils in your nighttime routine?
“Take time to understand your sleep pattern and the potential stressors that may cause disruption. For example, if you're stretched and over-extended, I suggest something like Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts. The combination of essential oils, Himalayan salt and crystals is exceptionally calming and draws inflammation out of the body. Experiment with different techniques and see what your body reacts best to. Personally, a foot massage combined with soothing sleep drops and a liberal spitz of pillow mist helps to send me into a deep and relaxed sleep.” – Michelle Roques-O'Neil, Founder of Therapie
“Our oils are primarily worn on the pulse points, so 5-10 minutes before bed each night, add a few drops to your wrists, and then press your wrists together to activate the oils and then apply to the neck, sternum and perhaps soles of the feet.” – Brendan Murdock, Founder of Anatomē
Do you have a number one tip for anyone struggling with their sleep?
“Don’t treat it lightly: make sleep a priority by allowing yourself time to wind down and prepare a comfortable sleep environment. Ensure your room is at the right temperature and dark enough; perhaps light a calming scented candle an hour before you sleep to infuse the room and remove all technology.” – Michelle Roques-O'Neil, Founder of Therapie
“Allow your mind to calm and your body to relax. Create a consistent bedtime routine at a similar time every evening, removing distractions (such as technology) and allowing your body to prepare itself for sleep.” – Olverum
“Alongside our oils, I strongly recommend a cool bedroom. Invest in some linen sheets for temperature regulation, allow some air to enter the room and have a clean and relaxing bedroom environment.” – Brendan Murdock, Founder of Anatomē