(CNN) — Going on vacation may seem like a rather unconventional way to try and improve your sleeping habits.
But sleep tourism has been growing in popularity for a number of years now, with an increasing number of sleep-oriented stays in hotels and resorts around the world.
Interest has skyrocketed since the pandemic, with a number of prominent institutions turning their attention to sleep-deprived people.
The Bryte Restorative Sleep Suite, filled with sleep-enhancing amenities, launched in January at Park Hyatt New York.
Park Hyatt New York
So why has sleep suddenly become such a major focus for the travel industry?
“When it comes down to it, travelers book hotels for a place to sleep,” she tells CNN Travel, before pointing out that the hotel industry has historically focused on things that actually detract from sleep.
“People often associate travel with decadent meals, extending their bedtimes, the attractions and the things you do while you travel, really almost at the expense of sleep,” she adds.
“Now I think there’s just been a massive seismic shift in our collective consciousness and our priorities for well-being and wellness.”
“There is more focus on sleep in the Covid-19 era, and probably because so many people have struggled with it [sleep]Dr. Robbins says.
Hypnotherapist, meditation and holistic coach Malminder Gill has also noticed a change in attitudes towards sleep.
“Everything seems to be moving towards longevity, and I think that really fueled things,” Gill told CNN Travel.
“Because it’s no big surprise that sleep is 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, bad mood, mood swings — all sorts of things, on top of the fatigue.”
The service includes a sleep-inducing meditation recording, a pillow menu with options for guests who prefer to sleep on their backs or sides, the option of a weighted blanket, a bedtime tea specially developed for the service and a scented pillow the mist.
“Different things work for different people at different stages of their lives,” Gill says of the different items offered within the service.
Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, London, launched the two-day ‘Forte Winks’ experience in October.
Rocco Forte Hotels
“We’ve tried to stack the odds in our favor. When you combine all of those things, I’d say there’s a greater chance of better quality sleep. But I don’t think there’s a one size fits all.”
The types of sleep-focused programs and/or retreats offered by hotels and resorts also often vary, with different establishments approaching the concept in different ways.
“Sleep is so important and we noticed a trend in sleep tourism and wellness in general, following lockdowns and Covid,” explains Daniela Moore, senior group PR manager for Rocco Forte Hotels.
“So we wanted to take the opportunity to show Brown’s as a hotel that cares about getting the best night’s sleep.”
For Gill, the rise of more and more experiences like this is a sign that the “story of staying up to get things done” is being challenged, and people are beginning to gain a deeper understanding of how important sleep is.
Park Hyatt New York’s Sleep Suite features a king-size Restorative Bed by Bryte 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 actually have a long-term effect on a person’s overall sleep?
According to Dr. Robbins travel experiences centered around “healthy sleep strategies” that aim to provide guests with the tools they need to improve their sleep can be immensely helpful, provided a reputable medical or scientific expert is involved in some way. involved to help determine if something else might be at play.
“If someone comes to one of these retreats and sees no progress, it could be because they have an untreated sleep disorder,” she explains, pointing to conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or insomnia as possible examples.
“That’s why it’s vital to ensure hotels partner with scientists and medical professionals who can carefully convey these strategies.”
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva has gone a step further by partnering with CENAS, a private medical sleep clinic in Switzerland, to put together a three-day program that studies guests’ sleep patterns to identify potential sleep disorders.
While most sleep-focused establishments and experiences fall within the luxury travel industry, Dr. Robbins believes that all hotels and resorts should make this a priority.
“There are ways to make it meaningful for every level,” she adds, noting that “it doesn’t cost much at all to leave a pair of earplugs next to the nightstand.”
As sleep tourism continues to grow, Dr. Robbins that she’s looking forward to seeing “who really continues to pioneer and think creatively about this space,” stressing that there are numerous avenues that have not yet been fully explored when it comes to travel and the science of sleep.
“The idea that travel really rejuvenates you and makes you return home refreshed and recovered is a really exciting proposition,” she adds.
Top Image Credit: Rocco Forte Hotels