Is that coffee the only thing keeping your head up today? You’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by Westin Hotels and Resorts for World Sleep Day, 94 per cent of Aussies aren’t getting enough quality shut eye, with one in four clocking just six-and-a-half hours each night. The good news – for those of us jet-lagging ourselves around the world – is that an innovative crop of hotels are seeing to our heavy-eyed predicament. And the results are positively dreamy.
Here we check in and check out the very best of the bunch…
Best for… blissing out
“Health retreats are a good place to learn new skills for maintaining health and put new healthy habits in place, and therefore an ideal place to work on sleep,” says sleep physician David Cunnington. So, it’s little wonder that he’s collaborated with the Golden Door Health Retreat, based in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Here, restoration is the order of the day – and night. In addition to wielding a ‘do as much or a little as you like’ attitude to inspire some quality R&R, this Australian health retreat holds ‘Let’s Talk About Sleep’ workshops, where those in the know share wisdom on how to tackle tiredness, fatigue and how to quantify good sleep as well as offer tips and habits to help you develop better ‘sleep hygiene’.
Best for… sleep in the city
Short on time? The one-night Mindful Sleep package at the Corinthia Hotel in London is perfect for busy jetsetters. It starts in the spa with a personalised hot stone massage that includes guided breathing exercises and visualisation techniques to reduce tension. Then it’s onto yoga, lunch chosen from their Sleep Menu (made with serotonin-boosting ingredients), a session in a sleep pod, and a dip in their thermal pools. After such a busy day, it’s then time for bed, after a ‘turndown treat’ of warm milk and pumpkin seed cookies.
Best for… pampering
Need a pillow recommendation? A bedtime snack? Or a night-time bath scented with lavender? The Sleep Concierge at The Montcalm Hotel in London will deliver sweet dreams directly to your door, with a range of room services centred around relaxation. Not only do they offer a substantial pillow menu (Dainty Delight, Shape You or Manly Macho), but they’ll dab it with aromatherapy oils and set the room to the perfect temperature for sleeping (around 18°C, according to the National Sleep Foundation). Can’t sleep on an empty stomach? Order a delivery of light, healthy snacks or a selection of herbal teas.
Best for… light sleepers
Four Seasons takes sleep very seriously. The hotel giant has even developed its own custom heat-absorbing mattress that has a ‘stabilising feature’ to keep you still if your partner is tossing and turning. On top of this, every room is soundproofed and follows a ‘headboard-to-headboard’ layout (so TV noise doesn’t disturb guests in the next room). Oh, and the tall folk among us will appreciate that housekeepers are taught to make beds in a particular way (called the ‘Issy fold’) so there is an eight-inch pocket along the bottom of each sheet for guests to easily move their feet.
Best for… leisure
The YOTEL hotel near New York’s Times Square is a high-tech haven that caters to travellers who want to blend business and relaxation. Instead of bedrooms, guests sleep in small, but luxurious ‘cabins’ inspired by the first-class sections on airplanes, each equipped with a couch that converts to a smart bed (so tired worker bees can switch between working and sleeping without moving). Need help nodding off? The hotel has even created a feature film called YAWN, in collaboration with documentary maker Scott Elliott, which captures 30 minutes of strangers yawning. Available to view in all cabins, guests are warned not to operate machinery after watching it!
Best for… your body clock
Bedside lights, televisions and your iPad screen – we all know that artificial lighting can confuse our body’s circadian rhythms. That’s why the Miraval resort in Arizona has installed Good Night LED light bulbs in all of its rooms. First developed for use by astronauts on the International Space Station, the bulbs claim to reduce blue light waves, which can disrupt our body clocks and boost production of melatonin (the hormone that maintains your circadian rhythms). The hotel’s website also offers tips for sleeping on holiday (“Pack something from your bedroom at home that will make your new environment feel more familiar”).
Best for… insomniacs
Are your sleep issues physical or emotional? That’s the question the SHA Wellness Clinic in Alicante, Spain, aims to answer. Their week-long Sleep Recovery program is designed to tackle sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnoea. Visitors spend their first night hooked up to a polygraph diagnosis system, which measures their nocturnal breathing and movement patterns. They then embark on a tailored treatment plan, which combines talk therapy with meditation, yoga and acupuncture. Caffeine is discouraged, but there is vegetable tea made from Adzuki beans and mushrooms.
Best for… day dreamers
The Kata Rocks resort in Phuket wants guests to sleep soundly – day and night! Metronap rest pods are installed around the property; these orb-like chairs (which Google also has in its headquarters) are designed to ease sitters into slumber by positioning them in a ‘zero gravity position’, along with relaxing music and vibrations. Prefer to lie down? The hotel spa also has a waterbed room where an ‘aqua mattress’ will massage your spine whilst a colour light therapy system soothes your senses.
Still dreaming of sleep? Check out 6 of the world’s most extraordinary sleepovers.