Sleep and why it is so important is talked about more and more these days. There is even a day dedicated to sleep. Of course we all know how much better we feel after a sound night’s sleep. Or how awful we feel after a disturbed night, all stressed out and unrelaxed.

Sleep is when the body recovers. Sleep is when the brain does its filing, carefully sorting out the thoughts and experiences of the previous day into a tidy pile. You know when you’ve had a good night’s filing session, because you wake in the morning clear headed and refreshed. A good night’s sleep is a bit like a session with the brilliant Marie Kondo, the tidiness life guru. If you haven’t already discovered her, her advice is life changing.

The question is, how do you set yourself up to get that good night’s sleep? There are so many things that can get in the way. The best thing is to try and create a pocket of relaxing me-time, twenty to thirty minutes before you switch off the light.

Here are a handful of things that can help you wind down at bedtime.

BEDTIME NIGHTCAP
All those lovely sleep-enhancing teas are all well and good. And at the best of times we love them. The only thing is they have a habit of increasing the chance of having to get up in the night, which doesn’t help the case for a long and lovely sleep. Heathcote & Ivory’s beauty editor often has a small cup of Ovaltine. Comfortingly retro, soothing and sleep-inducing, and small enough not to have the bathroom beckoning before sunrise.

RELAXING BATH OILS
A hot bath is soothing in itself. Add lavender, frankincense or rose bath oil and it becomes soothing paradise. A top tip is to add a few drops of essential oil of lavender to a little milk to diffuse the oil, then add the mixture to the bath. Pure essential oil can be too harsh unless diluted. Alternatively, add a a few drops to a teaspoon of almond oil before adding to the bath if you happen to have a little bottle to hand.

GENTLE ARM AND LEG MASSAGE
Practice a little self-care. Instead of simply slathering on body lotion after bathing, try doing so with a few simple massage movements. Make them gentle and long, working towards the heart. So, if massaging legs, start at your ankles and using the pads of your fingers, smooth gently but firmly up to knees. It will help remove tension from your calves, which seem to hold more tension than we think. Lavender Fields Softening Body Cream is scented with the calming, relaxing notes of lavender flowers, with hints of violet, sandalwood, wild hops and amber.

PILLOW SPRAY
Try a puff of lavender pillow spray before bed. The aroma of the Lavender Fields pillow spray is warming and relaxing. It contains lavender oil and extract of wild hops. Lavender is known for its relaxing benefits whilst wild hops has calming properties. Many swear by the feel-good benefits of a pulse point scent too, especially if it is enriched with soothing aromas. Our Calming Pulse Gel has calming wild hops and lavender. Take a look here.

LAVENDER EYE MASK
When the morning light comes early and a chink in the curtains lets it creep in, a soft eye mask becomes particularly useful. Our Morris & Co Lavender Eye Mask is a bestseller. It is pretty, has a soft-against-eyes velvet lining and is filled with lavender flowers. A stylish secret weapon for sleep and relaxation whatever time of day.