I've never been good at relaxation, and vacationing is usually more stressful than my day-to-day life. As soon as I land, I hit the ground running and don't really stop — I actually cried when I got home from a recent trip because I was so tired. Thankfully, sleep vacations are now a thing, and it's changed how I look at travel. What is a sleep vacation? It's basically a tired traveler's dream come true, and I'm booking one pronto. Some hotels are now offering packages that focus exclusively on helping you catch up on sleep, and I need one pronto. Nneka M. Okona writing for Well + Good was kind enough to share her sleep vacation discovery with the rest of us, and I for one am grateful. I don't think I've ever loved a concept more.
Well + Good spoke with sleep medicine consultant Rebecca Robbins, PhD, about the program she helped craft for New York City's The Benjamin. The hotel's "Rest & Renew" program offers a pillow menu with 10 (ten!!!) options ranging from "Water Filled" to "Anti-Snore." On top of that, they've got blackout curtains, noise machines, sleep masks and a 24/7 sleep team. It may seem strange to go to a bustling city like New York City and spend your entire time sleeping, but it's hard to enjoy any trip if you don't feel like you're relaxing enough. And if you're a local, it dedication to sleep makes it the perfect staycation.
Meanwhile, Westin offers a Sleep Well package at a ton of its hotels, and it sounds positively heavenly. The description starts off, "Get set for superior slumber in our Heavenly Bed with our Sleep Well Lavender Balm amenity." Superior sleep in a heavenly bed? Who could say no to that? (The package also includes a spa credit, late checkout and a dining credit for the hotel's "Sleep Well" menu.) The Westin Paris takes things to a level that's either impressive or insufferable, depending on how you view the world — they offer a "Digital Detox" package that asks guests to put their electronic devices in a safe when they check in and spend the trip without any devices.
In fairness, a device-free bedroom has been shown to improve sleep health, but a hotel stay that promises "some magazines in your room to rediscover the pleasure of printed readings" doesn't sound like my idea of a fun trip. But if you're dedicated to relaxing, the choice is there. And at Premier Inn — a hotel chain with locations across Europe and the United Arab Emirates — they're so convinced you'll sleep well that they'll give you your money back if you don't. I'd like to take them up on that, please.
This may all feel like a marketing ploy — after all, isn't the intended purpose of a hotel just to sleep? — but it really can be difficult to fall asleep in an unfamiliar location, especially if you have a full itinerary ahead of you and want to enjoy your trip fully. Missing even one night of sleep can be detrimental to your health, and if you're anything like I am when I travel, you'll probably make the people around you miserable if you're under-rested the entire time.
I've always thought of vacation as a time to soak in as many sights and sounds as possible, but there's nothing wrong with bucking tradition and traveling somewhere fun to sleep all day and just relax. It definitely sounds better than my usual vacation schedule, which almost always ends with me needing a vacation to recover from the vacation I took.