Your bedtime routine is a truly personal experience. From enjoying a warm bath with aromatherapy oils to incorporating fragrances in the form of essential oils. Your calm pre-sleep routine will prepare your mind and body for a restorative night’s sleep. We have partnered with a London-based apothecary, anatomē, to explore the relaxing role of scent. Their head nutritionist and sleep expert, Winder Ton, reveals the science behind essential oils and the best way to incorporate them into your calming bedtime routine.
Before going to bed we must be fully relaxed. Our most common mistake is going to bed with a head full of thoughts. When you are worried, you may take a long time to fall asleep or feel that your sleep is fragmented. This is because you may have elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, preventing you from relaxing. When you are completely relaxed, your brain produces alpha brain waves, a type of wave that is necessary to start the sleep process. A bedtime routine can help with this and interestingly, scents can play an important role too.
Essential oils work in communication between your nose and brain. Any time we smell something, especially in natural fragrances, we inhale particles called esters. The esters float in the air reaching the nostrils and dissolving on the roof of each nostril. This is where specialized receptor cells, called olfactory receptor neurons, detect the scent. These neurons can detect thousands of different odours.
It is the olfactory receptor neurons that transmit messages to the part of the brain. This in turn influences emotions and memories and modifies conscious thoughts. It’s this process which results in behavioural changes such as relaxation of the body.
At anatomē we have a variety of relaxing agents; however, I will focus on Lavender, which is the most studied and known natural anxiolytic found in our Recovery + Sleep Essential Oil blends.
Lavender essential oil is rich in linalool and linalyl acetate which are shown to lower anxiety and depression symptoms. Linalool is particularly important for sleep. As it is a hormone that helps us fall asleep when its concentration reaches its peak. Additionally, lavender essential oil is suggested to enhance the inhibitory tone of the nervous system, relaxing the body and mind.
For this reason, at anatomē, we have created a collection of essential oils to support sleep, based on scientific evidence. Harnessing the power of botanicals, the Recovery + Sleep contains English Lavender and Japanese Seaweed, to name a few of the ingredients. These help your brain to achieve the desired alpha brain waves prior to sleep.
In your bedtime routine, you need to achieve full relaxation of the body. Therefore, when adding essential oil, we recommend that you are calm and still. Put your phone away and be present. At your bed, start dropping the oil onto your fingertips, then start breathing in and out slowly at the same speed.
First, massage the oil vigorously and slowly over your shoulders, chest, ears, and the soles of your feet. Reapply the oils if you think you need more. Then, approach your palms to your nose, and breathe in and out slowly, allowing the scent to travel into your nose. Opening your airways, promoting better relaxation of the body. By decreasing your breathing rate, relaxing neurotransmitters are released which will help you achieve a great night’s sleep.
anatomē is driven by a simple belief that nutritional and emotional balance is the key to a healthy, fulfilling life and that a healthy, nourished body will support a healthy mind. Their innovative outlook means that it looks at each person individually, which allows the team to prescribe in a holistic manner in order to offer the best nutritional and emotional support possible.
Botanical essential oils created by anatomē’s team of aromatherapists target individual health needs and support different aspects of a person’s lifestyle. These form the backbone of anatomē’s comprehensive product ranges designed to support your physical and emotional well-being. It’s a part science lab, part apothecary all wrapped up in a modern package.