Chances are you know where this one is going, Lavender oil helps you sleep, everyone knows that, right?
I have had insomnia almost my whole life. I don’t remember a time I slept easily. Long before adulthood, college and coffee, I have had trouble nodding off.
I’ve tried a lot of stuff and I find that things tend to work temporarily and then they stop.
I think I got about a month out of meditation.
I’m quite conscious of my routine, I go to bed roughly the same time every night and the same getting up.
I drink coffee on an ordinary day (not exam season) in the morning and not after 5pm.
Ever since I was a kid, I have heard about the wondrous lavender plant. Its almost a cure for anything and everything, but is it really?
I subscribe to a beauty box called the Pip Box. A couple of months ago, a Tisserand Pillow Mist was featured in the box and I thought to myself, this could be a good opportunity to find out.
I never take what I read online as fact. A true fact I believe, is rare and I like to know how things work.
In this weeks post, I am going to give you an overview of what I found from my experience of using the pillow mist and from the research I read.
There will be science!
The Product I used
The specific product I used was Tisserand Aromatherapy Sleep Better Pillow Mist.
- The mist was made from Jasmine, Sandalwood and Lavender oils. Based on the sequence of ingredients listed on the back of the bottle, lavender was the main oil (third ingredient).
- The back of the bottle shows it is vegan and Tisserand is a cruelty-free company, without a cruelty-free logo.
- As it the Pip box, by the way, cruelty-free.
- There is a difference between vegan and cruelty-free and if you want to know more about that, I wrote a blog post about it a few months ago- Cruelty-free vs Vegan
- It comes in a 100ml spray bottle and contains 100% natural pure essential oils.
- I spray it on my pillow before I went to sleep as instructed on the back of the bottle.
- This is the first pillow mist I have used, but not the first Tisserand product. I also use the Happy Vibes pulse point roller ball so it is a brand I like.
While trying the mist, I didn’t make any other changes to my sleep routine so I would know if any change was caused by the mist.
I’m not going to lie, I don’t think the pillow mist helped me sleep. I used it for 10 days consistently (inconsistently before that) and I didn’t notice a difference. I lay awake some nights for hours and slept soundly others.
One thing I would say though is that I really liked having it on my pillow. One night I almost forgot to spray it and I kept thinking, something was missing.
I really loved the Tisserand Pillow Mist, even if it didn’t help in the way I wanted it to.
As I’m sure you can imagine, it is a lovely smell. If you have to be awake, you might as well be awake in the presence of lavender, jasmine, and sandalwood.
From what I have read about sleeping well, your environment is important, it should be pleasant and relaxing.
I think as a component of a good sleeping environment, this mist is perfect.
So I am going to continue to use it and I will buy it again because I liked it.
And perhaps work on making my bedroom cozier.
The Science Bit
There are over 200 kinds of lavender and the most common one we use is called Lavandula Angustifolia.
The component that is thought to have a sedative effect is called linalool.
According to Science Focus Magazine, Linalool is absorbed into the bloodstream fast which makes it fast acting.
A quick Google search will show you that lavender has a devoted following and so many sites claim that its effects have been “scientifically proven”.
This simply isn’t true. According to a 2012 paper in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, that examined a number of studies, there have been many studies, but most have been done on very small groups of people.
Some studies don’t compare their results to anything (control group) and so they are not true experiments.
I won’t go into too many specifics, because it’s probably unnecessary, but just remember, what can the experience of 20 people tell you about the experience of people in general?
Probably not a lot and if you don’t compare the results of your lavender group to a group that hasn’t used lavender, how would you know that it is having an effect?
So while lavender oil may help you sleep, there need to be a lot more studies, with bigger groups before we can say with any certainty that Lavender can work as a treatment for insomnia
It’s not all bad news though.
According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,those in the sleep hygiene and lavender group reported better sleep than those in just the sleep hygiene group.
So when I said that I think the pillow mist would work better in conjunction with other stuff, there is some evidence for that
Sleep hygiene is the stuff that you do before bed like going at a reasonable time or avoiding caffeine, that contributes to a good nights sleep.
And even if lavender itself is a bit hit and miss, your brain may might save the day, or night.
according to a 2008 paper published in the British Journal of Health Psychology some people might find that Lavender helps them to relax because of an expectancy that it will.
Which means if you expect to sleep better after using Lavender oil, you just might.
On my bad nights, if I could find something that helped me nod off, I wouldn’t care why it was working only that it was.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your brain is amazing, don’t sell it short!
So does it work?
Lavender oil is a chemical like any other and while it can work for some, other bodies process it differently and it may not work as well.
Our belief about how it might affect us is also an important factor.
It may also depend on why you are not sleeping.
I’m afraid that brings us to the end of what internet searches can tell us.
I really liked the sleep mist, I liked the smell, I liked having on my pillow and it made me happy.
It did not work for me as a sleep aid, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, research has shown a small effect of lavender oil on sleep patterns, even if the studies were small.
Combine it with a good routine and an openness to it working and you might have something.
In my opinion, I really think the worst that can happen is that your pillow smells nice so I would say, give it a chance.
For me personally I’m really happy when things smell nice, I like scented candles and so aromatherapy appeals to me as well. If you don’t that’s ok.
One thing I worried about when I started was that it is such a strong scent, it might trigger my asthma, like a perfume does sometimes, but it didn’t for me. If that’s something you think could happen to your lungs or you are worried about allergies or something, look after yourself and check with your doctor (I know you know that).
Aromatherapy I think has a lot of potential to improve your sleep because you like it and if you don’t like it, it won’t and if you expect it to work, it will.
I don’t think it is the miracle, it is often touted as.
Be careful when you research online because often, writers, like those writing for companies claim “scientific proof”, where there is none.
Ask yourself, does this person have an invested interest in me believing what they are saying?
As always, I encourage you to do some more research, ask others what they’re experience is and try things for yourself.
I have listed at the bottom of the post some of the resources and the references I used when researching this post.
Curiosity leads to wonderful places.
And with that, I wish you many wonderful and restful nights sleep.
Until next time,
Disclaimer: At no point is this article intended to replace medical advice, I am not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be, so do not take this as medical advice. Anything I say is my opinion based on stuff I read online (and you can too if you want) and my own experience. But if you need medical assistance, please visit a medical professional.
I also mentioned a couple of brands, this is for information purposes only and I have not been paid or otherwise incentivized to do so.
References & Articles I read while writing this article.
Fismer, K., & Pilkington, K. (2012). Lavender and sleep: A systematic review of the evidence. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 4(4), e436–e447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eujim.2012.08.00
Howard, S., & Hughes, B. (2008). Expectancies, not aroma, explain impact of lavender aromatherapy on psychophysiological indices of relaxation in young healthy women. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13(4), 603–617. https://doi.org/10.1348/135910707X238734
Lillehei, A., Halcón, L., Savik, K., & Reis, R. (2015). Effect of Inhaled Lavender and Sleep Hygiene on Self-Reported Sleep Issues: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 21(7), 430–438. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2014.0327