A couple of weeks back (which could mean yesterday or it could mean 2008 – we have no idea), while stood in the cue at Asda trying desperately to find a good conversation to eavesdrop on, we stumbled across a couple of ladies chinwagging about herbal sleep pillows and how they had transformed their lives. Admittedly, we had never heard of a herbal sleep pillow before, but given the high praise thrown their way we couldn’t resist getting all Magnum P.I. and finding out more.
As it turns out, people have been stuffing herbs inside their pillows for centuries and centuries. But here’s the best bit: it’s done to protect you from evil, encourage good dreams to crop up, discourage nightmares, help you see into the future (hello EuroMillions) and, wait for it, even conjure a lover into your life.
Now we’re not sure how much of this is actually true, which is a crying shame, but there are three undeniable facts that made these little gems (read: herbal sleep pillows) worth writing about:
- They are a great way to bring herbs into your life on a daily basis.
- They are amazing when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
- Depending on the herb, you can enjoy crazy vivid dreams, like cheese dreams but way better.
So, without further ado, here are the five fragrant herbs we recommend you buy, stuff into a small pouch and then place inside your pillowcases. We can vouch for the women in Asda; this trick is going to transform your life.
Lavender’s superpower is making all those in its local vicinity totally relaxed, which is why it’s such a great herb to add to your sleep pillow. There is just something about the rich, potent and intoxicating scent of real lavender buds that manages to bring about a sudden feeling of restfulness, which is key to enjoying a long night of quality sleep.
Our advice: when you buy lavender, try and stick to buds that are still really tightly formed because these will keep hold of their scent the longest. Then, when your buds do start to lose their scent (which is inevitable), try crushing them between your fingers and thumb ever so gently, which will make them release even more of their lavender oils.
You could take three round the world trips and one flight into space; you will never find a flower that smells quite as sweet as the ever-so-delicate chamomile. It’s one of the most smile-inducing and relaxing scents your snout can ever get a whiff off – a mix of herbs and green apples, which makes it the perfect scent to help you slip into a deep slumber.
Our advice: this is a scent your young whippersnappers will absolutely fall in love with, which is why you should stuff a chamomile sleep pillow into their pillowcase. That said, kids rarely sleep still, so you might be better off sewing a hidden pouch into their favourite teddy and popping your chamomile gift in there. After all, no amount of wriggling and nighttime-gymnastics can ever break a child-n-teddy snuggle, meaning your kids will get to enjoy this sweet and relaxing scent until they finally drop off.
Mugwort sounds like something Pomona Sprout would give her students during a Herbology class at Hogwarts which, weirdly enough, isn’t the only thing this usual herb has in common with the wizarding world because, as far as we can tell, it possesses magic. That’s right. Magic. Since time began, Mugwort has been known to stimulate super-vivid dreams. Wait. Let me rephrase that. It’s been known to stimulate super-vivid good dreams. But that’s not all. It also eliminates bad dream encounters and eases any anxieties you might be feeling, which has to be the best recipe for sleepiness. Ever.
Our advice: if you want to try mugwort on its own, by all means, go for it. But if you want to have some mega-interesting dreams (the kind that would probably interest psychologists), then we recommend you try combining this crazy herb with rosemary because – wow – that cocktail does stuff we can’t explain.
If you’re anything like us, your face is probably scrunching up right about now, which is fair enough because rosemary seems like a pretty leftfield choice for a sleep pillow herb. However, rosemary has been proved (by science) to help your brain project some pretty out-there dreams.
Our advice: try adding rosemary to your sleep pillow in small doses at first to see if it makes your dreams any clearer. You don’t need much, just a few tiny sprigs will do. You might find this pungent herb helps you work out any niggling issues that might have cropped up during the day which, for a lot of us, is what sleep is great at.
Don’t worry, we know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Ha, I’ve been using hops to help me sleep since the local pub first served me,” and we can’t argue with that. But hops have a lot more to offer than just making beer taste better. For centuries they have been used to encourage deep sleeping, lethargy and relaxation.
Our advice: If you have a son or daughter that’s about to endure a gruelling month of exams – or you’re a son or daughter that’s about to endure a gruelling month of exams – try adding hops to your sleep pillow the night before a big test. The hops will go a long way to help calm your nerves.
As a sort of final thought, our favourite combination of herbs have to be rosemary and mugwort, lavender and chamomile, and chamomile and hops, although you can mix these herbs any which way you like. As Britney would say, it’s your prerogative.
Thanks for reading! For more sleeping tips and bed buying tricks, follow us on Facebook. You may even pick up some pub quiz knowledge, and nothing is better than that.