We all saw it coming. It wasn’t just the pandemic that ushered it in. It was rather life as it is now. Minds and hearts tired from work, never ending notifications on smartphones, all the stress and hundreds of accumulating worries. Sleep was ghosting us all, like an unfaithful, flippant partner.
That’s when sleep tourism became a thing. From Dublin, to Los Angeles and Ibiza, and to even France and Greece – hotels started offering bespoke sleep packages to cater to people who were hungry for a good night’s sleep.
So what exactly do these packages include? How could they bring on the great, big slumber? For starters, many hotels and resorts tied up with those in the bed, mattresses and furnishings industry, at least those that claimed to provide the best goods in order to bring you a night full of good, rejuvenating sleep.
Then there are treatments and offerings attractive for holidayers and these are all associated with sleep tourism. Aromatherapy, locations with geo-thermal hot springs, ‘sleep programs’, specially designed soundproof rooms, yoga techniques like Yog Nidra (Nidra means sleep), and much more. Intrigued?
We will start with Dublin, Ireland, because well, that’s closer to home. The Shelbourne has a special package called ‘Fall in Love with Sleep at The Shelbourne.‘ We must warn you that it’s not cheap; but there are many who are willing to do anything to get ‘Mr Sleep’ back into their lives. The hotel partnered with a luxury Irish brand to create a therapy designed by Peigín Crowley called the Shelbourne Ground Sleep Ritual.
In fact there’s a technology that dedicates itself to providing the best sleep experience, and it’s available for homes as well as for hotels. Bryte’s Restorative Sleep Technology describes itself as “a completely rethought, comprehensive platform focused on improving physical and mental rejuvenation through sleep.” One glance at its website and you get 14 locations where hotels and resorts have embedded it into their wellness and sleep programmes. While these are spread across the length and breadth of the US, Europe too doesn’t lag far behind with its own unique offerings.
Consider Ibiza for instance. If you believed that Ibiza was just for partying, you’d be surprised. Electronic dance music may still be bringing the nights in at this Mediterranean beauty but if you were chasing sleep, you would head to the Six Senses Ibiza Wellness Programs.
Offering a three, five and seven day package to choose from, there is a wellness screening, a personalised consultation, training in Yog Nidra as well as a multitude of other offerings. Like a ‘dreamcatcher’ massage, a cryptology session, and a goodie bag full of sleep amenities.
There’s also the ‘Alchemy of Sleep’ at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. Their sleep special dreamscape involves being guided by their team of experts to “learn how to best manage your sleep and all the tips to ensure a good quality, restoring sleep.” It includes four private sessions with their experts that focus on “sleeping meditation, awake pool stretching, breathing exercises, and sleep naturopathy.”
While wellness tourism was always a thing, and yoga, meditation, and good eating programs were offered by many countries, the pandemic put the spotlight on sleep. A research conducted by Royal Philips found that about 70 per cent of its respondents faced one or more new sleep challenges. The research was carried in 13 countries and 13,000 were asked to participate in the study.
No wonder then, an assortment of programmes are tailored at giving guests some of the best sleep ever, and equipping them with techniques to carry with them back home. And while a lot of these packages can be expensive, or fall under luxury holidays, there’s always something you can do that is budget friendly.
We lose sleep over many things. A health problem, rising bills or debt, the health of a loved one or problems at work. Sometimes, it is also a result of our demanding schedules. It may be a good idea to look out for a yoga class – even a virtual one will do. Many yoga techniques and postures help by cultivating mindfulness and lowering our stress levels. This in turn leads to improved sleep quality.
There’s also something I learnt from a former colleague. Sometimes, it’s good to book a hotel room in your own city. She would often reserve a modest suite, read in bed, wake up relaxed and treat herself to the breakfast buffet and the lush hotel lawns. This way, she got her ‘me time’ away from the pressing demands of a busy family and work life. She also got, good restful sleep – those crisp white sheets, fluffy pillows and a room all to herself did the trick. Plus no laundry, cooking, or cleaning up – the joys of which, can certainly inspire modern day poets. An ode to ‘no cooking, and no laundry day’ is in order perhaps?
Another handy tip came in from an artist. She had a box of what, she called ‘worry dolls.’ Gifted to her by a Spanish friend, these were small, handmade dolls, and came with their own box. The idea was to tell these dolls all your worries, and put them back in their box. The artist confided in me that it certainly helped her sleep better. She felt more restful and less broody.
If you haven’t got the budget, and want to try sleep tourism in a more affordable way, might as well give a hotel room in your city or the worry dolls a try. You can even book some yoga lessons. But if you rather set aside some time and money for a proper sleepcation, the world’s your oyster. From Ibiza to France, resorts will help you pay your sleep debt, and head back home, happy and rejuvenated.