Writer Elle Kwan

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Dream On…

Is a massage that promises deep, plentiful sleep really too good to be true?

THE DEAL: Sleep is a central tenet of the work-life aspiration, yet with so much going on—in our lives and our minds—it’s no surprise that the fabled eight hours of sleep prescribed for optimum health is lacking for many of us. Spa L’Occitane’s new treatment aims to send us back to bed for a good night’s rest.

It’s thought that insufficient sleep is connected to depression and obesity and impacts focus and happiness. And here’s the thing. While we all recognise the value of good sleep, most of us do not prioritise it. In fact, we’re sleeping two hours less today that we were in the 1960s. Now, the French skincare brand has developed a treatment to aid sleep. The Sleep and Reset Massage has been effectiveness-tested by the European Sleep Centre, and we were keen to see if it could truly deliver the deep restorative sleep we all dream of.

THE LOWDOWN: The treatment mimics our natural sleep cycles to deeply relax both on the spa table and at night in bed. It begins with an inhalation of essential oils, followed by a cleanse and facial massage to reawaken tired skin. With its dual-focus on neck and head this is an elevated way to wind-down and cast away negative energies — racing thoughts, please now exit. While I’m still face-up, my therapist Cherry applies the brand’s Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-In-Serum, a gorgeously scented facial oil with anti-ageing properties. She  stretches my head left and right from earlobe to shoulder, then gives my arms, legs and stomach a brief but thorough massage too. In fact, by the time I flip over, deep yawns accompany my growing sense of relaxation. Sweeping movements from the heels of my feet to right under my buttocks are as soothing as ocean waves rolling across my body. Then the intensity begins. Cherry’s deep tissue back massage is precision-focused. From rolling movements between my hips to under my ribcage to a pummeling shoulder massage, she seems on a mission to root out any and all lurking tension. A satisfying clunk, clunk, clunk of knot release signals her accomplishment, and then she begins a final head and neck massage as I drift. I’m sure I didn’t actually fall asleep––so intent was I on enjoying every last stretch and squeeze—but the 90-minute treatment is over in a flash. As I dress, I feel both calm and re-energised.

THE BENEFITS: A dual focus means that massage and ritual induces restfulness, while skin products, namely the Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-In-Serum, diminishes signs of fatigued skin. While it might be tempting to fall asleep on the bed, the real benefit is supposed to come afterwards, with a good night’s sleep on the night of the treatment promised followed by enhanced rest for the next seven days.

THE VERDICT: The 90-minute top-to-toe treatment felt exquisite and indulgent, and Cherry’s deep massage was purposeful and effective, but the real test came that night. As promised, on the first night I fell asleep quickly, which is not unusual, but in a remarkable change, I slept deeply for the entire night, waking up completely refreshed and revived. The next night, and for at least two after that, I couldn’t wait to curl up in my covers. Each night gave me that same deep, sound sleep. If you are sleep deprived, this really is the massage of your dreams.