Sleep Tourism on a Budget: How to DIY Your Sleep Retreat
Sleep tourism is a trend that aims to turn weary travelers into well-rested ones. People travel around the world to hotels and retreats that are specifically designed to promote sleep.
However, there are only a few of these sleep tourism hotels in the world, and they are very expensive. Not everyone has the money – or time – to enjoy one of these experiences, so I decided to find out if there was a way to DIY sleep tourism. Here’s how I turned a night at a regular hotel room into a sleep-friendly stay.
What is Sleep Tourism?
Sleep tourism generally involves high-profile hotels that provide amenities and services to promote better sleep.
There are a handful of sleep tourism hotels worldwide, from the Sleep Better hotel in Northern Italy to Sleep On Cloud Nineteen in Pebble Beach. These hotels offer treatments and items such as aromatherapy, relaxation techniques, eye masks, weighted blankets, personalized fitness activities, and calming audio therapy to ensure their clientele leaves rested.
5 Elements To DIY Sleep Tourism
For this article, I stayed at a DoubleTree by Hilton, which costs about $160 per night, on average. I set out to make my hotel room a place of rest and relaxation, taking inspiration from sleep tourism hotels.
I implemented many of the common experiences of the sleep tourism hotels, focusing on these five: calming audio therapy, sleep accessories, fitness activities, bedroom environment, and bedding.
1. Calming Audio Therapy
There are countless online resources available to everyone who wants to experience guided meditation, wherever they are. I personally googled “meditation to wind down and sleep” on YouTube and watched one by Headspace. This video helped me control my breathing and place my thoughts in the present moment instead of stressing about my day.
I don’t usually listen to meditations, but I definitely saw the benefits of this activity. I felt calmer and less distracted by all my actions of the day.
Another calming audio therapy available at many sleep tourism hotels is white noise. While studies suggest that more research needs to be conducted to show that continuous noise leads directly to improved sleep quality, it can be used as a sleep aid for distractions and environmental sounds.
White noise can be used to drown out the sounds of cars honking in the street or elevators beeping on your floor. As someone in college with multiple roommates, I am a frequent user of white noise to help transport my mind away from the sounds that surround my body.
2. Sleeping Accessories
There were many sleep accessories that these hotels implemented, but the ones that I chose to use were a scented pillow mist, bedtime tea, and silk pajama set.
I used a “deep sleep” pillow mist that was scented with lavender and camomile to set the ambiance of my bed. This delicate and calming smell provided me with a great aroma to nod off to.
I sipped a “Well Rested” herbal tea from Trader Joe’s while reading a book to wind down before going to bed. With the complimentary coffee machine in the hotel room, I was able to simply put water in the machine and my tea bag in my cup to prepare this directly in my room.
Matching PJ Set
Pajama sets are a huge part of my normal bedtime routine, so I couldn’t pass on bringing a PJ set. When I slip on a pajama set, I feel very put together and boujee, which helps this experience feel luxurious and special.
I also utilized a few self care accessories to really treat myself in this experience and make it feel like a true vacation. I applied a hydrating face mask and used a rose shower steamer. This made my normal hotel room seem like an expensive experience.
Other accessories utilized by hotels are eye masks, ear plugs, cell phone sleep sacs, and weighted blankets. However, you don’t need every item to make your hotel room its own sleep tourism spot. Pick the accessories that you find most soothing and helpful to sleep, and bring them to your hotel room.
3. Fitness activities
At the majority of the sleep tourism hotels, there are fitness centers and activities available to the guests. Many studies have shown that exercise can be good for your sleep.
As with many modern hotels, there was a gym in the DoubleTree that I decided to utilize for this article. You don’t need a fancy gym and a luxury hotel to get the same result of a good sweat session.
Yoga or Pilates
Yoga was a popular activity offered to the guests, as it is a low impact exercise that has a focus on mental health and wellbeing. One location, The Bodyholiday, offers a sunset Yoga class to help wind down guests, which I decided to emulate. I ran through a few minutes of yoga to stretch my body and help me wind down for the evening.
4. Bedroom Environment
A cool temperature and dimmed lights set the mood for a hotel room meant for a good night’s rest. The best temperature for sleep for adults is typically between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. I decided to set my AC in the hotel room to 65 degrees and bundle up for the night.
I also adjusted all my lights when it was time to wind down so that the lighting was moodier. I wanted my room to be darker so my body knew sleep was coming and so my eyes didn’t hurt from any bright lights.
Many hotels have special lights to keep brightness levels down, but I just chose to keep a single lamp on. There are accessories you can purchase for your room to help create an ambiance, such as the Casper Glow Light.
Although you can’t change the mattress and pillows available at the hotel to make sure they are as high quality as the sleep tourism hotels, you can bring some of your own products. If you have a silk pillowcase, this is the perfect chance to use it.
I brought my own silk pillowcase because there are so many potential benefits, such as preventing wrinkles, keeping cool, and preventing hair breakage. You get to create the entire perfect environment for sleep, and that includes what you are sleeping on.
This experience taught me that it is possible to have a luxurious and relaxing experience anywhere. You have the ability to maximize your hotel room — such as by taking advantage of your coffee machine for nighttime tea — and bring self care items to make a normal room a pure vacation.
A benefit to DIYing sleep tourism is that you get to take all your own favorite features of these hotels and create your own slice of heaven. None of the sleep tourism hotels offer every amenity and opportunity, but when you do it yourself, you can have it all.
- Dolezal BA, et al. (2017). Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385214/
- Rusch, HL, et al. (2018). The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30575050/
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