Murad, meanwhile, isn’t the only skincare company attempting to lull its customers into dreamland. Other beauty brands are relying on botanicals rather than hormones to do the trick. The Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Night Health line, out in February, includes a bath oil, a linen spray, a face cream and a pulse-point balm, all of which contain calming chamomile, lavender and mandarin oils. “The products are not designed to effect a knockout, but to encourage our natural capacity to sleep,” says Rubin Naiman, sleep and dream specialist at Weil’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, who developed the line with Weil. Molton Brown is also going the aromatic route, lacing its new Body Therapies Sleep collection with Bulgarian lavender, sweet Florida orange and Atlas cedar bark. The collection includes Bathing Elixir, Soothing Body Oil and Room-Aroma Rocks (a postmodern take on potpourri meant to be stored bedside).
According to Stanford’s Sullivan, while aromatherapy is unlikely to cure serious insomnia, nightly rituals involving calming potions can promote restful sleep. A fragrant bath, for example, can serve as a “buffer period” between the stresses of the day and bedtime. And while essential oils aren’t likely to replace Ambien, they’re far less fattening than warm milk.