Pack your jammies and eye masks because American travelers want to sleep on vacation.
There’s an ongoing conversation on social media among travel groups “debating” if we should include downtime on vacation or pack it all in. The verdict typically falls somewhere in the middle. But for those who favor moments of rest, you are not alone. In the past months, more and more travelers have been searching for sleep retreats or the best hotels for a good night’s slumber. According to Skyscanner’s trend reports, sleep is at the top of the list for American travelers, followed by shopping, wildlife spotting, and nightlife. The movement is known as sleep tourism.
So, What Is Sleep Tourism?
Seventy-five percent of U.S. travelers say they’re not getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night, so wanting to relax or “catch up” on rest on vacation is not a new concept, but traveling to sleep is. Laura Lindsay, Skyscanner’s Travel Trends expert, explains that sleep tourism is traveling to specific destinations or locations to enjoy the experience of sleep and rest. It can take place in a wellness setting or simply in unique or luxurious accommodations designed for relaxation and comfort. While we’ve seen an uptick in sleep tourism this year, we can expect to see the trend carry over into 2024.
She adds that travelers are becoming more interested in their sleep health, reporting that roughly 50% of U.S. travelers are more mindful of their sleep habits than in the past. Because of this, hotels have hired wellness experts or sleep psychologists to curate programs and sleep-enhancing amenities ranging from black-out curtains, sound machines, minimalistic rooms, and even assessments to promote a good night’s rest.
How to Catch the Zzzs
Lindsay also shared that 49% of Americans reported travelers sleep better during their vacations. Lodgers are crediting clutter-free rooms, clean accommodations, and fresh air as contributors to good sleep when they travel abroad in addition to being away from their daily stressors. Skyscanner consulted Stephanie Romiszewski, a sleep physiologist and the founder of Re: Sleep, a sleep retraining program, for their latest trend report. Some of her best tips for restorative sleep on vacations included the following:
- Prep before: Get up at the same time each day to regulate your sleep/wake cycle and add light exposure and exercise to your morning routine
- On the plane: Block out the light and noise and maybe play some soothing rain sounds. Don’t force sleep, let your mind wander and it’ll come if it needs to.
- Jet lag: Eat at your new time zone mealtimes and get up at your usual time even if you don’t want to. It will be a short-lived experience.
- During the trip: Focus on making the most of the daytime and don’t worry about sleep – it’ll help you nod off as your body realigns itself to the new normal.
The Best Sleep You’ll Ever Have
While this may seem like a bold decree, truthfully, hotels have employed several tactics to back it up.
One such program is The Art + Science of Sleep by Equinox Hotels: Black-out curtains and lush linen paired with the holy grail of sleep conditions in darkness, quietness, and the perfect temperature, allows guests to experience an optimized sleep during their stay. Sleep experts have curated unique sounds, body movement practices, and breathwork techniques designed to regulate the circadian rhythm of each guest. For the nightly turndown service, guests are presented with food and beverage items that increase melatonin, easing them into sleep naturally. The in-room bar is stocked with wellness amenities like sleep drops, charcoal eye masks, and herbal teas.
Sleep Suite by Bryte at Park Hyatt New York: The highlight of this sleep suite is the smart bed, which auto adjusts to relieve pressure points and soothing motions, essentially rocking you to sleep. Throughout the night, it also adjusts the firmness to match sleep stages. Upon entering the room, guests are greeted with Park Hyatt’s signature sleep-inducing essential oil blend to induce a calming atmosphere. Other amenities to aid in getting the best sleep include satin masks, blackout curtains, and an assortment of books to replace bedside screen time.
Stay Well Rooms at JW Marriott Tampa Water Street: Merging their luxurious comforts with a pursuit of wellness, this Florida destination has everything you need for a restful slumber. Throughout the property, guests are greeted with fresh greenery to mimic being in nature. Each suite has a vitamin-C-infused shower, air purification systems to intersect environmental disruptions, and memory foam mattresses. Circadian mood lighting can also be found inside each room, which helps guests stay relaxed and rested throughout the night.
Continuing the Trend at Home
You’ve returned from vacation, now what? Start by trying to mimic the elements and amenities of your hotel stay. Consider adjusting your temperature, changing your bedding, adding a memory foam pillow, or creating your essential oil blend. Use resources like The Sleep Foundation, which publishes a series of breathing techniques. Other sleep-enhancing amenities you can incorporate into your at-home bedtime routine include:
Sleep Tight Kit by Asutra: If you are looking for one kit that combines what you need to sleep well, this is it. Each kit contains a melatonin lotion, a silk eye mask, and a lavender and chamomile sleep mist, the ultimate wind down trio.
SmartGoggles by Therabody: This biometric eye mask can create treatments that aid in lowering heart rate, alleviate headaches, and put you in a state of relaxation.
Herbal Teas by Brooklyn Tea: They offer an assortment of varietals, but soothing loose-leaf blends with elements like chamomile and lavender are common ingredients to induce sleep.
Disclaimer: Before starting any treatment plan, consult your primary care physician.