Why sleep tourism is booming

(CNN) — Going on vacation might seem like an unconventional way to try and improve your sleep habits.

But sleep tourism has been growing in popularity for a number of years, with a growing number of sleep-focused stays at hotels and resorts around the world.

Interest has skyrocketed since the pandemic, with a number of high profile establishments focusing their attention on people suffering from sleep deprivation.

Over the past 12 months, Park Hyatt New York has opened the Bryte Restorative Sleep Suite, a 900 square foot suite filled with sleep-promoting amenities, while Rosewood Hotels & Resorts recently launched a collection of retreats called Alchemy of Sleep. , which are designed to “promote rest”.
Zedwell, London’s first sleep-centric hotel, offering rooms with innovative soundproofing, opened in early 2020, and Swedish bed manufacturer Hastens has created the world’s first Hästens Sleep Spa hotel, a 15-room boutique hotel in the Portuguese city of Coimbra a year later.

Pandemic impact

The Bryte Restorative Sleep Suite, filled with sleep-enhancing amenities, launched at Park Hyatt New York in January.

Park Hyatt in New York

So why has sleep suddenly become such a big priority for the travel industry?

Dr. Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher and co-author of the book “Sleep for Success!” believes that this change has been a long time coming, especially with regard to hotels.

“At the end of the day, travelers book hotels to sleep,” she told CNN Travel, before pointing out that the hotel industry has mostly focused on things that actually interfere with sleep in the past.

“People often associate travel with decadent meals, extending their bedtimes, the attractions and the things you do while traveling, really almost at the expense of sleep,” she adds.

“Now I think there’s just been a huge seismic shift in our collective consciousness and our prioritization of wellness and wellness.”

The global pandemic seems to have played a huge role in this. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that 40% of the more than 2,500 adults who took part reported a reduction in the quality of their sleep since the start of the pandemic.

“There has been an increased focus on sleep in the age of Covid-19, and probably, because so many people have struggled with it [sleep]“, says Dr. Robbins.

Sleep Priority

Hypnotherapist, meditation and holistic coach Malminder Gill has also noticed a change in attitude towards sleep.

“Everything seems to be moving towards longevity, and I think that’s really fueled things,” Gill told CNN Travel.

“Because it’s no big surprise that sleep is such an important aspect of our lives. Lack of sleep can cause many different problems in the body and for your mental health.

“So anxiety, depression, low mood, mood swings – all kinds of things, in addition to fatigue.”

Gill has teamed up with the Cadogan, a Belmond hotel in London, to create a special service for guests with sleep issues called Sleep Concierge.

The service includes a sleep-inducing meditation recording, a pillow menu with options to suit guests who prefer to sleep on their back or side, the option of a weighted blanket, a bedtime tea developed specifically for the service and a scented pillow. haze.

“Different things work for different people at different stages of their lives,” Gill says of the different items offered through the service.

Sleep-inducing practices

Brown's Hotel in Mayfair, London launched the two-night 'Forte Winks' experience in October.

Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, London launched the two-night ‘Forte Winks’ experience in October.

Rocco Forte Hotels

“We tried to put the odds in our favor. If you combine all these things, I would say there is a greater chance of having better quality sleep. But I don’t think there is a unique size.”

The types of sleep-focused programs and/or retreats offered by hotels and resorts also tend to vary, with different properties approaching the concept in different ways.

Luxury hotel brand Six Senses offers a variety of comprehensive sleep programs, ranging from three to seven days or more, at a number of its properties, while Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte hotel in Mayfair, London, has Recently launched, ‘Forte Winks’ is a two-night experience specially created to help guests ‘fall asleep peacefully’.

“Sleep is so important and we’ve noticed there’s been a trend towards sleep tourism, and general wellbeing, after lockdowns and Covid,” says Daniela Moore, senior group PR manager for Rocco. Forte Hotels.

“So we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce Brown’s as a hotel that cares about giving you the best night’s sleep.”

For Gill, the emergence of more and more of these types of experiences is a sign that the “staying up to get things done” narrative is being challenged, and people are starting to better understand how important sleep is. important.

Quick fix?

The Sleep Suite at Park Hyatt New York includes a restorative king bed by Bryte and sleep-enhancing products such as essential oil diffusers, Nollapelli sheets and sleep masks.

The Sleep Suite at Park Hyatt New York includes a restorative king bed by Bryte and sleep-enhancing products such as essential oil diffusers, Nollapelli sheets and sleep masks.

Park Hyatt in New York

But can short-term, sleep-focused travel experiences actually have a long-term impact on a person’s overall sleep?

According to Dr. Robbins, travel experiences that focus on “healthy sleep strategies” that aim to provide guests with the tools they need to improve their sleep can be extremely beneficial, provided a reputable medical or scientific expert is on board. involved in some way to help determine if there may be something else at play.

“If someone comes to one of these retreats and doesn’t see any progress, it might be because they have an untreated sleep disorder,” she explains, citing conditions such as as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome or insomnia as potential examples. .

“That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure that hotels partner with scientists and healthcare professionals who can deliver these strategies carefully.”

Mandarin Oriental, Geneva has gone a step further by partnering with CENAS, a private medical sleep clinic in Switzerland, to run a three-day program that studies clients’ sleep patterns to identify potential sleep disorders.

While the majority of sleep-focused establishments and experiences typically fall into the luxury travel sector, Dr. Robbins believes that all hotels and resorts should make it a priority.

“There are ways to make it meaningful for every level,” she adds, pointing out that “it doesn’t cost anything at all to leave a pair of earplugs next to the bedside table.”

As sleep tourism continues to grow, Dr Robbins says she can’t wait to see “who really continues to pioneer and think creatively about this space”, pointing out that there are countless avenues that have yet to be fully explored in travel and the science of sleep.

“The notion of travel that rejuvenates you and allows you to return home refreshed and restored is a really exciting proposition,” she adds.

Top image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

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