Disclosure: This post on sensory sleep products include affiliate links meaning that if you purchase the product using the links provided I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Getting a good night’s sleep is a challenge that almost all of us will face at some time in our lives. And for some, throughout our lives. Whilst part of the problem may be getting us off our phones or away from multiple other distractions to actually get the hours in. Even when we do give ourselves adequate time many of us still struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Sleep hygiene is the idea that there are multiple ways we can create an optimal sleep environment. And best prepare our bodies for sleep before we even climb into bed. Some of these ideas involve what we eat or drink, how much exercise we get, when we sleep as well as where and with whom. People tend to get a better night’s sleep when they sleep alone and in a well-known environment. Recent studies, quoted in a previous blog post, show that stress is the biggest obstacle to a good night’s sleep. With this in mind I’ve compiled my 5 favourite sensory products which help me relax and unwind. Helping me fall asleep quicker, stay asleep for longer and sleep deeper.
For 10 tips and tricks on unlocking a good night’s sleep read here.
The Sleep Plus Pillow Spray
I started using Sleep Plus Pillow Spray by This Works after receiving a sample in a Birchbox order. The spray uses Lavender, Chamomile and Vertivert to help achieve a better night’s sleep. The benefits of the PLUS spray, as opposed to the deep sleep version, is longevity. The Plus spray continues to release it’s scent as you move around in the night ensuring that you continuously benefit from your once a night spritz.
The relaxing qualities of lavender are well-known and you’ll find it in many sleep promoting products. It’s also an anxiolytic which means it relieves anxiety helping us achieve a state of relaxation and calm. It also interacts with the GABA neurotransmitter to help soothe the brain and nervous system reducing restlessness.
Chamomile, whilst probably most familiar from teas, also has a well-known relationship with sleep. It has both stress-relieving and sleep-enhancing properties. Studies into the herb have also shown that it can be effective in managing symptoms of stress and anxiety. A must if you’re trying for a restful night sleep.
Vetiver, although less well-known, helps improve breathing patterns; particularly helpful if you snore – or sleep next to someone who does! Research has also shown it can be helpful in reducing anxiety which will keep many of us awake at night.
With frequent usage I found it easier to fall asleep. And I felt more refreshed waking up indicating that I was achieving a better sleep quality. Whilst I’m not a fan of lavender scents the mix in this spray was mild enough and soothing without being overpowering. If I did wake up in the night, the comforting scent helped me drift off easily.
The Sleep Hand Cream
I’ve been using The White Company’s Sleep Conditioning Hand Cream for the last few weeks after a recommendation from a friend. The balm uses lavender and chamomile essential oils (benefits as above!) alongside aloe vera and shea butter to create a relaxing, nourishing and hydrating hand cream for bedtime.
Initially I was sceptical how a hand balm would help me sleep. The scent was lovely but how would a scent on my hands translate to impacting on my sleep? But I think the benefits of this balm are two-fold.
Yes, the scent does seem to linger whilst you fall asleep and I have been able to smell it even when my hands weren’t near my face. This is quite an achievement as you’d imagine for this to work that the scent would be overpowering. But it’s not. When you first smooth it on the scent is stronger but settles into a lovely mild aromatic scent within seconds.
Secondly, there’s an additional bonus to using the hand balm. Whilst the scent is lovely I also look forward to the moment just before bed when I smooth the balm onto my hands. The consistency is on the thicker side rather than being watery like some hand creams. But it melts in beautifully and doesn’t leave any sticky residue, just a lovely smell. This moment helps me get into the mindset for sleep and the combination of massaging my hands and the scent helps me relax. The benefits of massage to promote relaxation are nothing new. It helps relax tissue and muscles thereby putting us in a state of relaxation and combatting stress. It’s also a lovely ‘me’ moment. A little bit of self-care at the end of the day.
Buy The White Company Sleep Conditioning Hand Cream here
The Essential Oil Aromatherapy Diffuser
I’ve been using this item since May 2019 after hearing about the benefits of essential oils to help sleep. I read countless reviews for different diffusers and finally settled on the Victsing Essential Oil Diffuser for Aromatherapy, 150ml. On different sites I read consistently good reviews about this product and the 150ml size was small enough to fit on my bedside table but would last a few hours to ensure I was thoroughly asleep before it turned off. This diffuser also has a sleep setting meaning the diffuser will turn off after a specific amount of time instead of running all night or until it runs out of water. The array of soft colours were an additional bonus to create a soothing atmosphere in the bedroom or as a nightlight to read by!
I love this product, it met my specifications and expectations. Many reviews for similar products revealed customer disappointment so I hadn’t let my hopes get too high. But the product worked exactly as it should and over a year later has continued to work with no problems. I use the diffuser almost every night rotating different essential oils depending on my mood. The diffuser works well and. providing you’re using a good quality essential oil (more below), fills the room with a lovely smell without being overwhelming.
I have a bedside light already, but the soft glow of the different colours are lovely if you’re looking for something more muted to unwind to. You can rotate through the various colours or stick to one colour for consistency. Whilst I purchased this specific diffuser based on size to meet the requirements of using in a smaller room on a small bedside table, I would definitely buy a larger one from this brand if I wanted it to scent a larger space.
A Note on Essential Oils:
I initially purchased my first essential oil from my local Holland and Barrett. They stock the Miaroma brand. These essential oils are a mix of pure and diluted scents. Either way, I found the scents muted and not strong enough when mixed with water in the diffuser. This meant using a lot more oil even for a light scent which didn’t last.
Next, I researched different essential oil companies. It’s important to me that my essential oils are safe to use; from reading about essential oil it appears that essential oils aren’t always regulated. I decided to use Gya Labs which I felt provided sufficient information to assure me they were safe to use. As well as enough positive reviews that they worked well for my purposes; namely in an aromatherapy diffuser.
Before you buy please ensure you are happy with the product and don’t use anything if you have health concerns or complications without consulting appropriate medical professionals. Essential oils aren’t necessarily safe in pregnancy or around children.
My favourite scents for essential oils are:
- Vanilla for that walking into a bakery smell which is definitely one of my happy places! Most vanilla essential oils are synthetic so are likely to be a more muted smell once mixed in the water.
- Jasmine is one of my favourite floral scents. Benefits also include uses in soothing depression and promoting calm.
- Lemon/Grapefruit for an energizing scent. I tend to use this during the day rather than evening.
- Rose is another firm favourite of mine. Rose oil can be expensive and Rose Geranium is more common. You may want to test Rose Geranium first as it’s probably not the ‘rose’ scent you’re imagining. I find Rose Geranium more intense than the more subtle scent you’d get from a pure rose oil. Rose oil is used to soothe depression, anxiety, stress and pain which can help with sleep.
- Peppermint oil helps me ease nausea. But I also love the clean and fresh scent which helps me relax. Peppermint can also help ease headaches which I have frequently.
You may also wish to try vetiver, lavender or chamomile oils due to their sleep related benefits!
Buy Victsing 150ml Essential Oil Diffusers for Aromatherapy here
Buy Victsing Homasy 500ml Essential Oil Diffusers for Aromatherapy here
For essential oils buy:
Gya Labs Rose Geranium 10ml Essential Oil here
Gya Labs Lemon 10ml Essential Oil here
Gya Labs Peppermint 10ml Essential Oil here
Gya Labs Lavender 10ml Essential Oil here
Gya Labs Vetiver 10ml Essential Oil here
Gya Labs Chamomile 10ml Essential Oil here
The Silk Pillow Case
This is a more recent purchase I’ve been using for the past few months. I heard about the benefits of silk pillow cases on and off for years. And I was curious to try it myself but hesitant to spend a lot of money on something that might be a gimmick. Primarily I had read articles which suggested silk pillowcases were better for both hair and skin. Some claims included helping reduce acne, keeping skin hydrated and lessening damage to hair. Another benefit of silk pillow cases was heat regulation which can help you keep cool during sleep.
During a particularly hot summer, whilst pregnant and therefore sleeping with an internal radiator, I decided to take the leap and trial a silk pillowcase. After further research into different brands and reading reviews on Amazon I choose the Bedsure Pillowcase. They are cost effective, come in multiple colours and are well-reviewed.
This product definitely met my expectations. It didn’t cost a fortune and a set of two was convenient to allow both my partner and I to trial it out. I found it especially beneficial in the summer months. We both felt that the silk was smoother and cooler on our overheated skin. I can’t say for sure about the benefits to my skin and hair, there were too many variables. But it did feel like my skin wasn’t as clogged up and the silk felt soft and smooth on my skin. Due to the lower price, I was worried that they would wear easily, ruin when washed or become stained easily. This hasn’t been the case and I’m considering buying another set so we can sleep with them every night especially in the summer.
Buy Bedsure Pillowcase Pack of 2 here
The Sounds of Nature
Type sleep sounds or nature sounds into YouTube and a ton of videos will come up. Look on relaxation apps and the nature sounds are there too. We know that for many music can improve the quality of our sleep. Meanwhile, nature is known to have soothing and relaxing qualities. Being outdoors can lower levels of our stress hormone cortisol, Vitamin D from the sun can improve our mood and hearing the sounds of nature can have soothing affects. But research from Brighton and Sussex Medical School suggests that hearing nature sounds indirectly, through a speaker using an app etc., can have similar relaxing affects. So, the science supports using nature sounds to help you relax and fall asleep.
I listen to nature sounds via GoogleHome through my sleep settings. This allows you to set off a series of commands by wishing Google ‘goodnight’. Included in mine are nature sounds which play for up to an hour automatically and then switch off. There are a great array of sounds on offer which I switch up accordingly. My favourite ones are ones involving water. Either rain or thunderstorm sounds or babbling brook or ocean sounds. But there’s plenty to choose from. A similar function for nature sounds is also available from the Amazon Alexa. Other apps which use nature sounds include Calm and HeadSpace. As well as accessing videos on YouTube.
Buy an Amazon Echo Dot here
Buy an Amazon Echo Plus here
Do you have any sensory sleep products you swear by? What are they and how do they help? Share the love of a good night’s sleep and let us know below!