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Neal Yard's Sleep Workshop

learning about aromatherapy and herbalism for a better sleep

What a great experience at Neal’s Yard’s Sleep workshop tonight ! Ella and Nyasha, both store managers, herbalists and therapists for the Natural Remedies brand, organise a monthly workshop right in the heart of Covent Garden. This month the focus is on achieving better sleep through herbalism, aromatherapy and relaxing facial treatments.

We were 5 ladies in attendance, although only 2 of us actually ever experienced sleep issues. After introductions, we went straight into the first relaxing concoction: the Sleepy Time Milk. A combination of warmed up oat milk, Ashwangadha powder, Rose water, N.Y.’s own Unwind Flower Essence Blend and a little honey. This is a recipe invented by their colleague Tipper Lewis. Absolutely heart and soul warming even if a little grainy and a slight bitterness to it, but we all loved it and had a second serving.

Ella and Nyasha explained the virtues of many relaxing and sleep-inducing herbs extracted in tinctures, essences and oils. We tried the tinctures licking the back of our hands, something like licking salt before a healhty tequila shot (NOT! Lol). So we tasted a little drop of The Unwind Flower Essence Blend (made of organic brandy, flower essence of vervain, impatiens, agrimony, rock water, walnut, aspen, white chestnut) and a homemade super-duper herbal tincture made of Skullcap, Passion flower, Oat and Ashwagandha, to be taken as 2-5 ml in just a little water.

The lovely ladies took us then on a sensory journey during which we needed to guess 4 aromatherapy oils with a big old sniff. Well guess what, I pretty much got them all wrong by name, although I did properly guess the olfactory descriptions for each of them! We learnt that Cardamon is grounding, relaxing and good for nervous exhaustion. That the exotic Ylang Ylang releases stress and makes people giggle; that Mandarine is a balancing oil which calms but also stimulate the digestive system and that the renowned French Lavender is the most well-known relaxing and sedative essential oil. What was interesting is that each of us had very different take on how we felt about each oil, and which ones we liked. And what is important is to choose scents each of us are drawn to and which make us feel good to create your very own Aroma Balance

We then had the choice to pick 2 to 4 aroma balance oils of our choice to be mixed into a massage oil or a bath product. I chose French Lavender and Cardamon to be mixed as a wonderful and light massage oil. Lovely !

The feel good event continued with my friend Kata volunteering for a Wild Rose facial, which started which her face being cleansed with a soft muslin cloth drenched with warm water infused with dried wild roses and eucalyptus leaves, soaking in a large porcelain bowl. A dream! Nyasha then massaged Kata’s face in slow circular motions with the Wild Rose Beauty Balm which apparently can be used anywhere on your body, and even your hair or to soften your cuticles.

The Neal’s Yard ladies reminded us about how most of us learn as children to prepare for sleep... and how as we grow older we all leave our sleep ritual behind…. So it’s time to bring it back!

Imagine this, feeling good every night, right before going to sleep. And it’s not just a dream ;-)

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