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Aromatherapy for beginners

Smell deeply, sleep better

Aromatherapy for beginners
11 September 2011

Q: I’m not getting anywhere near enough sleep and it’s starting to show up on my face. My boss has suggested looking for another job; my girlfriend has suggested I turn to aromatherapy. What's she on about?

Michael, Liverpool

Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

You’re not the only one running on empty: According to recent research, career-driven Britons suffer from insomnia more than any other industrialised nation. So if you're only getting 5 hours a night, you need to make sure that you’re making the most out of every single second. A lot of that has to do with lifestyle choices, bedtime routines, diet and so on.

Aromatherapy is a good place to start. It’s an alternative therapy based on the use of essential oils, which have been shown to stimulate (or in this case sedate) the mind and therefore influence the state of the body. Certain oils like lavender and chamomile, for example, can have a positive therapeutic influence on a person’s sleeping habits, helping them gain deeper and more restful sleep. It’s absolutely essential to get your hands on the best quality of essential oils possible to really reap the benefits of aromatherapy.

Granted, a handful of Ambien washed back with a nightcap or just 10 minutes of a Bergman movie might knock you out in seconds, but such medication actually prevent restful, reparative sleep and will normally leave you feeling – and looking – like you’ve been hit by a truck come sunrise. Aromatherapy is a far more effective at improving the quality of your sleep, according to Dr. Rubin Naiman PhD, founder of the newly formed Integrative Sleep and Dream Health Coalition. Better, deeper sleep means cells have time to repair and regenerate, which will effect your wellbeing and physical appearance.

If you’re having trouble switching off, try a bedtime shower or bath using the Deep Relax Oil from the suitably-named Aromatherapy Associates (£37 for 55ml from Neals Yard Remedies, meanwhile, make a sleep-inducing blend of oils that can be rolled onto pulse points like the wrists, the base of the neck and temples before bed (£5.80 for 9ml from Last but not least Origins have a collection of natural sleep-aids that includes an overnight cream (Dr Weil Night Health Bedtime Face Cream £46 for 50ml from that not only helps skin recover from the environmental stressors of the day but also contains a blend of aromas to help bring on some serious shut-eye.

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