Use calming lavender for a good night's sleep this summer

Use calming lavender for a good night's sleep this summer

It's safe to say that most of us look forward to the summer months, especially if we get a tough winter. The endless hours of daylight, the balmy evenings, the sun beating down on us as we enjoy days out - it's a tonic, even if Britain's weather means some of it remains a daydream.

However, many people who have wished for hot days might have felt their desires backfire when they realise that they are also accompanied by hot nights. Tossing and turning while the rest of the world slumbers is no fun, especially when you've already exhausted suggestions such as opening windows and eating a banana before you retire.

While we can't offer you cooling solutions for your bedroom, we can recommend something that might help soothe your racing mind if you tend to get het up about your sleeplessness - or if it's actually caused by the stresses of the day as opposed to your temperature: lavender.

Lavender's effects on the body

Before you dismiss this based on the idea that it's a simple plant that grows in your garden and happens to smell nice, it's worth remembering that lavender has been used as a sleep aid for hundreds of years.

In addition, past studies have shown that the scent of the flower can reduce anxiety and symptoms of insomnia. For example, research at the University of Southampton and Wesleyan University both reported subjects sleeping more soundly and experiencing rest of a better quality after smelling lavender before they went to bed.

Nobody is completely sure why this might be - we won't go into detail with 'the science part' here, but suggestions have been made that it could be the impact of lavender's oils on the heart rate and brain waves that do the trick when it comes to eliminating insomnia.

All we know at Heyland & Whttle is that mixing lavender oils and using it in our products has a soothing, calming effect on us and our customers, which is why we always recommend it during the summer to help you nod off.

A better bedtime routine

In the past, people would have had to purchase concentrated lavender oil from a pharmacist - or apothecary, if we go back even further - and then sprinkle it on their pillow in the evenings to inhale while they rested.

Lavender could soothe your mind when you're struggling to sleep.

Fortunately, we now eliminate this rather messy part for you by adding the essential oils to the products ourselves, meaning you can substitute them into your usual routine to reap the benefits.

For example, you could try having a bath before you go to bed, keeping the water a lot cooler than you would normally if the weather is hot - but not cold, as this can actually make you hotter when you get out.

Wash with one of our lavender soap bars, making sure you lather up plenty and keep the foam on your skin for a few minutes so that the scent permeates all around you.

Doing this should keep the soothing scent on your skin when you put on a cool cotton nightie or pyjamas and climb into bed, newly relaxed.

If you tend to start getting cross about potentially being unable to sleep early in the evenings - and this is a vicious cycle to get into - then why not try lighting a lavender-scented candle and reading a book rather than over-stimulating your senses by watching TV?

Just half an hour with a nice novel - or soothing music if your eyes are too tired to read - and a sweet-smelling candle burning could make all the difference to your sleep routine.

And if you don't have the time to sit with a candle burning, then you could always opt for a subtle infusion of lavender throughout your home during the day.

Heyland & Whittle's much-loved lavender reed diffusers will do just this without becoming overpowering like some lower-quality offerings from other brands.Similarly, our Citrus & Lavender room mist can quickly fill any part of the house with a calming scent, making it perfect if you want to do a quick spritz around your bedroom before heading to bed.

Try some of these ideas and we're sure that you'll enjoy what remains of Britain's beautiful summer nights much more - and you'll wake up refreshed the next morning.