By Giles Fuchs, owner of Burgh Island Hotel (www.burghisland.com)
Most people would agree that sleep is essential to good health. Indeed, sleep plays a huge role in our lives, with the average person spending a third of their lives asleep. Making sure that your guests get a good night’s rest has always been one of the cornerstones of any good getaway experience.
Guests are looking for a sense of escapism where they can reset, refresh, and revitalise, often breaking bad sleeping habits in the process. Research shows that 34% of travellers have admitted to booking a trip simply to catch up on sleep. With the freedom to experiment with bedtime routines, napping, different brands of bedding, holidays are the ideal place to reset sleeping habits.
The importance of sleep
In the UK, as many as 30% of adults have reported living with chronic insomnia, which has a negative impact on their physical health as well as facilitating potential behavioural and mental health issues. Furthermore, research by the British Medical Journal revealed that poor sleep habits and burnout could be associated with an increased risk of catching infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
For guests looking to unwind through the perfect escape, a hotel that guarantees a great night’s sleep will always be first choice. There is a plethora of things hotels are adopting now to conjure the ultimate sleeping environment, from blackout curtains and lavender pillows to white noise and sleepy spa treatments.
At Burgh, guests can book in for a hot stone massage, tailored to their physical and mental requirements, or a deep cleansing facial to truly relax and unwind for that perfect night’s sleep. One study even found that massage could be an alternative to sleeping pills for adults who experience insomnia.
Finding your schedule
Although everyone has a different sleeping pattern, it is important that both early birds and night owls try to stick to a pattern which follows their body’s natural circadian rhythm.
This can be easier said than done, with many people subconsciously changing their sleeping patterns to deal with pressures that arise in their personal and professional lives.
April marked Stress Awareness Month prompting hoteliers to remind prospective guests that holidays are an opportunity not only to ditch bad habits, but also to gain healthy ones.
One study found that those who engage in physical leisure activities for at least 20 minutes once a week are less susceptible to fatigue. It also showed lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index, and perceptions of better physical function. Such activities were also correlated with higher levels of positive psychosocial states and lower levels of depression and negative effect.
Combine this with the chance to relax, a better night’s sleep and the exploration of new hobbies to diffuse stress , both psychologically and physically, are worth exploring for the average guest.
At Burgh, the “artistic experience” classes, freshwater swimming in the Mermaid Pool and sustainable shark tagging trips provide a unique way for guests to improve their wellbeing and thus sleeping schedule.
Leaving your stress at home
This desire for separation from the stresses of work and home life is particularly prevalent among people that have found themselves working from home more over the last couple of years. Young people in particular have found it difficult to separate their workspace from where they sleep, which has had a negative impact on their sleeping patterns and contributed to a mental health crisis.
Whether they enjoy a poolside retreat or an active adventure, a holiday is a chance for guests to escape from the day-to-day pressures and distractions in life which may prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep.
Studies have shown that a reduction in stress helps to boost productivity, allowing you to return to work feeling revitalised. Therefore, sleeping in a hotel room that has been carefully curated for the ultimate sleep, complete with clean and fresh bedding and perhaps even a weighted blanket, can help guests detach from life stresses
Being mindful about your mental health
This strong link between travel and stress-reduction has been recognised by GPs in the UK, who have begun in recent years to prescribe social activities to patients to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression that are exacerbated by a bad night’s sleep.
Whilst we are unfortunately far away from returning home from the GP with a prescription for an all-inclusive getaway, holiday destinations should take the opportunity, especially following Stress Awareness Month, to reflect on how they can help guests both break with bad habits, and forge new ones.
Sleep is such a crucial element of a guest’s experience, so it is important to recognise the role a hotel can play in ensuring they get it right. Only by acknowledging this, can hotels offer their guests a luxurious experience by utilising their amenities to effectively aid their guests stay and at the heart of this is getting a good night’s sleep. As the Irish proverb states, “enjoyment and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”