Flower Power: does lavender really help you sleep?
When it comes to helping you naturally drift off into a restful night’s sleep, lavender is often the most common scent that springs to mind. It has been used throughout history as a fragrance for baths and bedding, that’s why many people make this flower part of their bedtime routine. From pillow sprays and candles to lotions and bath oils, there are a huge range of lavender products available on the market with claims that they naturally promote sleep and relaxation. But, is this actually the case?
In short, yes. It is generally believed that lavender has a calming effect and can help you drift off into a peaceful land of dreams, and many studies have backed up this claim. Research at University of Southampton found that participants who slept in a room where lavender essential oil was diffused in the air throughout the night ranked their quality of sleep 20% better than average. Another study at Wesleyan University found that subjects who sniffed lavender essential oil before bed slept more soundly than those who sniffed distilled water. They also felt more energetic the following morning.
There have also been claims that the scent can have a physical effect on the processes in the body. Tiffany Field, a scientist at University of Miami told the Wall Street journal that the aroma of lavender has been shown “to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state”.
If you’re struggling to drift off, this flower could help. Whilst it’s unlikely to immediately make you enter the land of Nod, the fragrance may help you to relax and unwind, creating a calming sleep environment. So, whether it’s a scented candle or a fragranced body lotion, use this as an excuse to pamper yourself before bed and sleep well with the natural scent of lavender.