Words: Lauren Carbran
I’ve tried lavender oil, pillow sprays and the relaxing sounds of waves crashing against the shore, and I’ve even adjusted the time I eat dinner, to get a better night’s sleep. Yes, they work (well, kinda), but what if it was even simpler? What if a beauty product I already own would instantly relax me as my head hits the pillow?
On a crisp, spring morning in April, I met Mona Maine de Biran, co-founder and president of Kierin NYC fragrances, whose passion for sustainability in fragrance is a breath of fresh air. She’d flown in from New York a few days before. We chatted for a good hour on her favourite topic and at the last minute she mentioned she wore Santal Sky to sleep in every night, one of the four unisex vegan fragrances in her range.
I thought, what? Don’t get me wrong, I adore perfume. I dream of having a walk-in perfume wardrobe one day, and my desk at work is drowning in uplifting floral scents. But after a night out or a cosy evening in, when I’ll wear a warm vanilla or cinnamon-filled perfume, that’s where it ends.
‘I wear Kierin Santal Sky to bed,’ says Mona. ‘It’s so soothing and it’s a scent of peace. It helps me relax, and I’d recommend it to anyone, whether you’re a good sleeper or not.’
As I walked back to my office, it started to make sense. After all, scent evokes memories and experiences – it’s nostalgic and totally personal. And as I regularly go to sleep with my head spinning about my commute the next morning or that big meeting coming up, I’d rather be reminded of the calm sea waters of my boat travels in Indonesia, thanks to an aquatic scent like Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure (watery notes of orange blossom and jasmine).
It’s no surprise that the sleeping industry is trending this year. Not only have internet searches for sleep optimisation grown by 116% (according to the Pinterest 100 top trends), but last week it was reported that Mark Zuckerberg has even invented a sleep box, called the Zucklight, to help his wife with her insomnia.
So it’s a Wednesday evening, and I’ve chosen to test this out midweek (when I’m a bit more anxious than, say, a Friday night, understandably). I spritz Santal Sky twice on my neck after I shower and let it settle as I wipe off my makeup. Instantly, the spicy, warm notes of saffron and cardamom surround me and I start to think, ‘Whoops, if I smell like this all night I won’t be able to concentrate on sleeping!’
My bedtime routine consists of reading a book, checking my phone and putting in reminders for the next day. I’m feeling pretty energised, really, by the scent and I wonder how a calm night’s sleep will develop while my senses are being treated and tickled (although I’m enjoying the scent developing, obviously).
I switch off the phone and it’s time to sleep. I don’t know why I’m nervous about the pressure of sleeping with a perfume on. But then, once the spices have died down, the creamy hints of sandalwood come through, and my mind wanders to Yosemite, the US national park where I trekked deep into the woods, among waterfalls and giant sequoia trees.
It’s not long before I’m completely relaxed and descending into a deep, comfortable sleep. I wake up once in the night (possibly because I’m not used to the smell yet), but in the morning I feel refreshed and uplifted, which puts me in a positive mind frame for my day ahead.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be spritzing perfume every night before bed, but I’ll certainly be adopting the hack when I feel I need a bit of TLC.