sleep week

I Tell Anyone Who Will Listen (Including My Key Worker Sister) About This Sleep-Granting Body Cream

Photo-Illustration: retailer

I believe everyone has a secret skill. Some people can always tell if the dress they’re about to buy will go on sale the next day, others are mysteriously good at knowing when to stop drinking on a night out. I don’t have either of these X-Men-like powers: I am just very good at sleeping.

As a sleep enthusiast, there’s nothing I won’t try to get eight (or, the goal, ten hours rest): I take my own pillow everywhere, I’ll road-test (bed-test?) any new ‘sleep trend’ (remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘clean sleeping’ a few years ago? I did it, and I’ve never been more tired) and I’ll pay for any new product promising me a restful night. A small lavender-filled pillow that quickly lost its smell? Bought it. Harry Styles reading me a bedtime story on the Calm app? I did not enjoy that. Weird warming gel that was supposed to make me relax but actually felt like £12 worth of severe sunburn? I’m still annoyed. While my friends get in virtual queues for Glastonbury tickets or trainer releases, I know the exact time the new version of my favourite Sundays sleep mask ‘drops’ online.

So as a board-certified sleep expert – which sounds so much better than just ‘lazy’ – let me tell you all about This Works’ Deep Sleep Body Cocoon. I am (naturally) a fan of the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray – which I love and use so much that I always have at least one backup bottle in my flat – so as soon as I saw the Cocoon cream on Instagram (when it launched earlier this year), I ordered a tube. Its lavender and camomile scent is deeply calming, but because it’s got vetiver oil in it too, it’s not the traditional musty lavender scent you might associate with, say, your gran’s downstairs loo. It somehow smells fresh and clean but also relaxing and calming.

The packaging says to put it on after a bath, but I just smear it all over my hands, arms and chest before going to bed because I’m five-foot-nine and it feels like a waste to put it on my shins where I won’t be able to smell it. Because it contains shea butter and it’s a thicker formula, the cream takes a little while to sink it, but it doesn’t come off on your sheets and it’s great for over-washed hands. The scent is also quite strong so makes your room – and bed – smell lovely.

I like best to use it alongside the pillow spray – as it contains the same oils as the spray, they complement each other. The pillow spray’s scent is stronger, but I find it tends to fade quite quickly, and the lotion tends to hold its calming, relaxing scent a lot longer, which means I fall asleep more quickly, and sleep for longer. My sleep app has the proof: I’ve gone from an average of eight hours, 35 mins on a weekend night, to around nine hours, five mins asleep.

And if you don’t believe me, how about an actual expert – I sent a tube to my sister, a respiratory physiotherapist who was recalled to the NHS front line from her office job during the first lockdown and was extremely stressed. She said she coated herself in it, head to toe, and had her first night of undisturbed sleep since she started at the Nightingale Hospital, and dozed off more quickly every night after that. Meanwhile, I am already on my second tube and I will continue to enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who expresses even the vaguest issue with sleeping through the night (and also, people who don’t ask for my advice at all).

Other sleepy products we like

Contributor Sara Gaynes Levy called this lavender-scented sleep balm, now a crucial part of her night-time routine, like “Ambien, without the side effects”.

This pillow mist from Cowshed (the in-house brand at Soho House) contains lemon myrtle, as well as St John’s Wort and Lady’s Mantle, which naturally relieve stress.

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I Tell Anyone Who Will Listen About This Sleepy Body Cream