It’s safe to say that people experience a little bit of sleep disruption, every now and then, be it through a newborn, an approaching deadline or just an unnaturally restless night. However, it’s also safe to say that this past year has offered a many more reasons for people to wind up sleep deprived. As stated in an article by Conde Nast Traveler, COVID-19 has wrecked many a sleep schedule, and studies show that people are tossing and turning more than usual thanks to stress generated by the pandemic.
“We’ve experienced a level of stress that on a global scale has never been experienced before,” says Natalie Moore, LMFT, a holistic therapist in Los Angeles. “Everyone was affected one way or another, even if they didn’t get sick or lose a loved one. And with so many people working from their beds or bedrooms and not as much separation between work and home life, the mind and body have become confused, which can cause our sleep and wake hormones to not release at the times they should.”
Wellness design has always touched upon sleep, whether purposefully or by coincidence. In fact, some would argue that a core objective of wellness design should be in creating a restorative sleep sanctuary for occupants of a space. Well, it seems, in response to this growing sleeplessness, hotels and resorts have taken that role to heart, either by introducing new programs or doubling down on previously provided amenities.
How Hotels Are Delivering a Better Night’s Sleep
The guests at Rancho La Puerta have been arriving to rest and rejuvenate for nearly 80 years, but just a month before the pandemic shut-down, the ranch debuted a 21-Day Perfect Balance Sabbatical, an intensive three-week program that offered guests a chance to experience the full range of the resort’s signature wellness offerings with a personalized guide—with the added luxury of time to help it all sink in.
The science behind it, according to Jill Thiry, a life coach and teacher who works in guest services at the ranch, was seated in the fact that “it takes 20 to 30 days to form a habit”
Upon reopening in September 2020, the ranch then reworked its programming so that sleep-aid was a top priority, adding classes like “Computer Vision and the Effects of Blue Light and Sleep” to help guests reset after a year spent on Zoom calls and email.
Meanwhile San Diego’s Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa unveiled “Sleep Suites” outfitted with Bryte beds that track a guest’s sleep and have a gentle-wake feature with temperature and light to simulate natural sunrise. And as of late 2020, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island now offers Yoga Nidra, an ancient practice that is often referred to as “yogic sleep.”
“After the stresses of last year, many people can’t sleep because they can’t slow their body and minds down,” said Gary Virden, the spa director at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Yoga Nidra, which puts guests in a deep meditative state, is taught to guests as a tool to combat this. “With practice, guests can train themselves to enter a state of relaxation to stop the mind from racing, which hinders sleep.”