I don't know about you, but my sleep quality is awful. I've tried everything that we're all told we should do. I've tried using a memory foam mattress (that has started retaining memories), I've tried a relaxing sleep-inducing pillow spray. I've cut out late night caffeine, and so on. Factor in a six year-old who wakes up at the crack of dawn and you'll understand why I run on empty most of the time.
But memory foam mattress maker Dormeo reckons I should try a different aroma to get a better night's sleep - the soothing scent of chocolate!
The company reckons that many Christmas scents, together with the annual festive stresses that pile on throughout December, play havoc with out quality of sleep.
The Power of Chocolate
British psychologist Neil Martin of the Human Olfaction Laboratory at Middlesex University conducted an experiment into the power of chocolate's aroma. He concluded that the fragrance of chocolate had a calming effect on the theta brain waves.
The research found that the grade of chocolate, the brand and the price isn't important, so milk and dark chocolate have the same effect on the brain as does various brands and cocoa percentages. It's not the type of chocolate that matters, it's the fact that it is chocolate.
So, we should all sleep with a bar of chocolate on the bedside table, right?
The downside, according to Martin, is that we acclimatise to smells pretty quickly, so the effect of the aroma of chocolate may well be short lived.
A quick look on Amazon reveals chocolate fragrance oils° for candles, soaps, and skin and hair care products should you fancy making some DIY products (there's a guide on making your own pillow mist spray here).
There's even chocolate essential oils° for use in diffusers, as well as chocolate and cocoa reed diffusers° that might help. Hotel Chocolat also has a range of diffusers, mists and fragrances that might be worth considering°.
If you find something that works for you, please do let me know about it in the comments below.
Other Soothing Fragrances
It's not just the scent of chocolate that the mattress maker suggests can boost sleep quality at Christmas.
Frankincense, sage and onion stuffing, and anise all have soothing properties.
There's also some festive fragrances that are best to avoid. These include a real Christmas tree (pine), rosemary, clementines, pigs in blankets (bacon), and cinnamon all have properties that get us energised.
Chocolate orange diffusers and fragrances might best be avoided (in the bedroom at least).
That said, if you're frantically wrapping presents late into the night, these Christmasy fragrances are best to energise you and give you the strength to unleash your inner elf.
So, to summarise, don't eat your chocolate this Christmas. Smell it and enjoy a better night's sleep, according to Dormeo.
Phil Lawlor, Sleep Expert at Dormeo, sums it up nicely: "Why not give yourself the gift of peaceful sleep this Christmas and indulge in some luxury chocolate treats guilt-free."
If you need me, I'll be conducting some sleepy research of my own. Night, night...
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Do you have any other tips to boost sleep quality? Let me know your secrets in the comments below.