Lush recently added a new body lotion called Sleepy (lushusa.com, $4.95) to its permanent collection—and fans of the product, which first hit stores last year as a limited-edition holiday exclusive, couldn't be happier. But Redditors and commenters on the brand's page don't just love the lotion's scent; they also say that the pale purple concoction legitimately helps them sleep better.
In fact, after last year's product launch, fans took to Reddit to demand that Sleepy be available year-round. “Sleepy absolutely helps with my insomnia,” one person wrote. “It has helped me!” another said. “I only put it on my hands and arms since they're closest to my face and it's made a world of difference.” Another Redditor who suffers from insomnia says it’s “the one product that can actually help me through the worst of my nights.” Now that Sleepy is back, people are seriously stoked. “SO SO happy they've decided to make it a year-round product,” one person said in the Sleepy reviews.
Lush doesn’t flat-out say that Sleepy will help you sleep, but its website says that the lotion will “soothe your senses,” and help you “instantly feel at ease.” “Say hello to your new nightly ritual! Zzz...,” the description for Sleepy states. So yeah, it definitely drops hints that the stuff can help you get a sound night of shut eye.
But there might actually be something to this fandom—and it likely has a lot to do with the lotion's lavender scent, says board-certified sleep medicine doctor and neurologist W. Christopher Winter, M.D., of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It.
“There is research that has found that lavender can help promote sleep,” he says. “But it probably doesn’t matter the way it’s delivered, via a pillow spray, lotion, or whatever.”
One small sleep study published in the journal Chronobiology International had 31 men and women sniff lavender essential oil water one night and distilled water the next before they went to bed. Their sleep was monitored with brain scans, and researchers found that people slept more soundly and felt more energized the next day after sniffing lavender before bed. Another study published in Nursing Critical Care piped lavender essential oil into the rooms of ICU patients and had them report on their sleep afterward. Those who were in the lavender rooms said they had an increased quality of sleep and reduced anxiety levels.
Of course, Dr. Winter points out that there could be a placebo effect at play “but if it’s helping them sleep, that’s great.” His main concern is how someone’s sleep will be impacted if they rely on Sleepy to conk out and then don’t have it handy. “Fear of not sleeping is really the biggest engine of insomnia,” he says.
Doctors typically treat insomnia with cognitive behavioural therapy, a form of treatment that involves a focus on thinking and its influence on a person’s behaviour and feelings, to try to figure out what’s causing the sleeplessness in the first place and then correct it, Dr. Winter says. “That tends to be the most effective,” he says.
So, if you love Sleepy and swear it helps you sleep, that’s totally cool. But if you find yourself panicking after you forget it on a trip, it might be time to consult a sleep medicine doctor. They should be able to help more than any lotion can.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.