Why sleep tourism is growing

(CNN) – Going on vacation may seem like an unconventional way to try to improve your sleeping habits.

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

Interest has spiked since the pandemic, with some high-profile establishments turning their attention to sleep-deprived sufferers.

In the past 12 months, Park Hyatt New York has opened the Bryte Restorative Sleep Suite, a 900-square-foot suite filled with sleep-enhancing amenities, while Rosewood Hotels & Resorts recently launched a collection of retreats called Alchemy of Sleep. they are designed to “encourage rest”.
Zedwell, London’s first sleep-focused hotel with rooms equipped with innovative soundproofing, opened in early 2020 and Swedish bed manufacturer Hastens established the world’s first Hästens Sleep Spa Hotel, a 15-room boutique hotel in Coimbra, Portugal. years later

The impact of the pandemic

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

Park Hyatt New York

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

Dr. Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher and “Sleep for Success!” co-author of the book. he believes that this change is a long time coming, especially when it comes to hotels.

“That’s why travelers book hotels for a place to stay,” he told CNN Travel, adding that the hotel industry has focused primarily on sleep-deprivation in the past.

“People often associate travel with decadent meals, stretching out bedtimes, attractions and things you do while travelling, really almost at the expense of sleep,” he adds.

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

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

“Sleep has received more attention in the time of Covid-19, probably because so many people have struggled with it [sleep]” says Dr. Robbins.

Prioritizing sleep

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

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

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

“So anxiety, depression, low mood, mood swings…all kinds of things, on top of fatigue.”

Gill Cadogan has teamed up with London’s Belmond Hotel to create a special service for guests with sleep problems called Sleep Concierge.

The service includes a sleep meditation recording, a pillow menu with options to cater for guests who prefer to sleep on their back or side, a weighted blanket option, sleep tea specially developed for the service and a scented pillow. fog.

“Different things work for different people at different stages of life,” Gill says of the different elements offered within the service.

Sleep practices

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

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

Rocco Forte Hotels

“We’ve tried to stack the tests in our favor. If you put all those things together, I’d say there’s a higher chance of better quality sleep. But I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all.”

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

Luxury hotel brand Six Senses offers a range of overnight stay programs, from three to seven days or more, at some of its properties, Brown’s Hotel, the Rocco Forte Hotel in London’s Mayfair, recently launched ‘Forte Winks’. A two-night experience specially created to help guests “sleep peacefully”.

“Sleep is very important and we noticed a trend was happening in sleep tourism and well-being in general, after the lockdowns and Covid,” explains Daniela Moore, senior manager of the PR team at Rocco Forte Hotels.

“So we wanted to take this opportunity to showcase Brown’s as a hotel dedicated to giving you the best night’s sleep.”

For Gill, the increasing number of these types of experiences is a sign that the “narrative of standing up to get things done” is being challenged, and people are beginning to understand how important sleep is.

Quick fix?

The Sleep Suite at the Park Hyatt New York features Bryte's king-size Restorative Bed and sleep-enhancing products such as essential oil diffusers, Nollapelli Linens, and sleep masks.

The Sleep Suite at the Park Hyatt New York features Bryte’s king-size Restorative Bed and sleep-enhancing products such as essential oil diffusers, Nollapelli Linens, and sleep masks.

Park Hyatt New York

But can short-term sleep-focused travel experiences affect a person’s overall long-term sleep?

According to Dr. Robbins, travel experiences based around “healthy sleep strategies” that aim to equip guests with the tools they need to improve sleep can be very beneficial if a renowned medical or scientific expert is involved to help define them in some way. whether there might be something else at play.

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

“That’s why it’s so important for hotels to make sure they’re partnering with scientists and medical professionals who can carefully deliver these strategies.”

Mandarin Oriental, Geneva has gone a step further by partnering with Swiss private medical sleep clinic CENAS to prepare a three-day program that analyzes guests’ sleep patterns to identify sleep disorders.

While most sleep-focused establishments and experiences tend to be in the luxury travel sector, Dr. Robbins believes all hotels and resorts should make it a priority.

“There are ways to be meaningful for every level,” he added, noting that “it doesn’t cost anything to leave earplugs by the bedside table.”

As sleep tourism continues to grow, Dr. Robbins says he’s eager to see “who continues to pioneer and think creatively about this space,” stressing that there are still plenty of avenues in travel and travel that have yet to be fully explored. the science of sleep

“The idea of ​​travel really rejuvenating you and allowing you to come home refreshed and restored is really exciting,” he added.

Image credit above: Rocco Forte Hotels