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The science of sleep.

Getting enough restorative sleep has been shown to be a cornerstone of our wellbeing. From memory processing to the prevention of disease and the regulation of hormones, sleep is a vital process for the body and mind.

The science of sleep is constantly evolving, researchers spending many of their waking hours trying to learn more about the processes behind sleep such as the circadian rhythms and the different types of sleep.

How the body controls sleep

Circadian rhythms are a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, they repeat roughly every 24 hours, and respond primarily to environmental cues of light and temperature.

Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can act as a central nervous system depressant. It acts to suppress stimulation and promote sleep. When we are awake the levels of adenosine in our brain rise each hour, so the longer we’re awake our need for sleep increases.

All sleep is not the same

Sleep is divided into two main types; rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). REM and non-REM sleep alternate within one sleep cycle, which lasts about 90 minutes in adult humans.

NREM sleep encompasses both light and deep sleep stages. Light sleep is a transition in and out of deep sleep. Deep sleep is the most restorative sleep stage, with the body and brain flushing out waste, processing hormones and concentrating on tissue growth or repair.

REM sleep is important for energising the brain, it helps with the consolidation of memory, as well as learning and creative problem-solving. It is also the stage in which we dream.

How essential oils can help

Scent is a powerful trigger that activates our ‘brain of emotion’ known as the limbic system – a network of connected structures near the middle of the brain linked within the central nervous system.

Essential oils work in communication between your nose (olfactory bulb) and your brain. Natural fragrances like essential oils contain volatile particles called esters - these particles can activate areas of the brain and influence our body and mind.


Cornish Lavender

Its main components, linalool and linalyl acetate, have been shown to lower anxiety and to increase adenosine, a hormone that helps us fall asleep. It is also suggested to modulate GABA neurotransmission, helping the body and mind to relax. 

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Somali Frankincense

It is considered one of the most precious Frankincense in the world due to its high concentration in terpenes. Though it has many other effects, it is specifically known to decrease the level of cortisol, a stress hormone that prevents relaxation and sleep.

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German Chamomile

Our German Chamomile is rich in apigenin, a phytochemical that binds to specific brain receptors, triggering a pathway that involves the GABA neurotransmitter. GABA helps the brain to achieve full sleep cycles through the night.

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Japanese Seaweed

Japanese Seaweed contains great amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols can help induce sleep as well as decreasing sleep latency, encouraging a night of continuous deep sleep. It is also being studied to develop novel sedative remedies.

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Come discover our Sleep Room at our Chiltern Street store

We have created an immersive experience in our Chiltern Street store, which takes you through the science of sleep and how essential oils can help you sleep better through a process called aromacology.

Through the experience you are invited to smell a few key essential oils and learn how they contribute to improving sleep. Based on your interactions with the different parts of the room, our sleep expert will offer to craft a sleep oil personalised to your specific sleep challenges.

The room is available to visit during our opening hours and by private appointment by calling us at 020 3916 0050 or by emailing us at


Why sleep is the cornerstone of health

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Four steps towards better sleep

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The 5 steps to sleeping better and having less anxiety

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