#SleepTourism: A vacay to catch your forty winks!

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Post-pandemic, the tourism industry is moving full steam ahead as people try and make-up for lost time. A branch of wellness tourism that is gaining popularity across the world is sleep tourism as people look to get away from their hectic schedules to improve their sleeping habits. Many sleep-focused properties are also popping up to fulfill this demand.

In the beginning

In early 2020, Zedwell, a London-based hotel became the first sleep-centric property, which featured innovative soundproof rooms and AI-powered mattresses. A year later, Hastens, a Swedish bed manufacturer established the world’s first 15-room boutique hotel called Hästens Sleep Spa Hotel in the Portuguese city of Coimbra. This trend has seen other hotels jump on the bandwagon, too and offer varied sleep-related services like Rosewood Hotels and Resorts in New York, US that recently launched Alchemy of Sleep, a collection of retreats that are especially designed to promote rest and good sleep.

What lead to the rise?

The pandemic spurned people into collectively prioritising their general mental and physical well-being. Global travel and tour operator Sandeep Arora, head, Brightsun Travel Private Limited says, “Since Covid-19, there has been a focus on our sleep cycles as many people struggled with it. This might be one of the reasons why this trend has picked. Yes, it’s still not prevalent in India but we have travellers whose sole reason for travelling is to rest and get back to a normal sleep routine.”

Insomnia, which is a persistent problem with falling and staying asleep, is one of the most common sleeping disorder that people deal with. “A survey conducted by Nielsen with over 5,600 people across 25 Indian cities confirmed that 93% of Indians suffer from sleep deprivation. This has led to a rise in the sleep therapy market in India and sleep tourism is an attempt to serve this demand, which is growing at the rate of 20 percent,” says Dr Arunesh Kumar, head and senior consultant, Sleep Medicine and Pulmonology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

“Relaxation and sleep are a basic human need but owing to the fast paced lifestyle, people have to give dedicated time to fulfill these needs. For those in the corporate world, work stress and lack of personal time makes slow travel a priority. Sleep tourism is a form of slow tourism and it is only going to get bigger from here,” says Chhavi Chadha, travel advisor and founder, Bespoke Tailormade Experiences.

Adapting Indian market

This concept is slowly making its way to India with a few boutique hotels and luxury properties taking the initiative to offer ways to get better sleep. The Belgadia Palace in Mayurbhanj, Odisha is one such place. “We partnered with a luxury sleep solutions company and our mattresses helps with back and neck ache, which is a very common problem among the youth today. We also offer a pillow concierge service where we provide five different kinds of pillows for various ailments and health issues,” says Akshita Bhanj Deo, owner of the Palace, who published their own sleep playlist. At 18,000 plus taxes for a couple’s one night stay, the property offers its guests a speed dial to doctors and mental health experts.

Yoga, Ayurvedic practices, naturopathy, chakra spa are some other offerings hotels are providing to ensure mental and physical well-being, including sound sleep. Jehan Numa Hotels in Bhopal also has a pillow menu, which “includes five types of pillow such as microfibre, memory foam, buckwheat hull, siliconised fibre, down and feather pillows. We have not received any direct query for sleep tourism, our guests are on the look out for holidays where they can unwind and rejuvenate from their hectic lives,” shares Faiz Rashid, managing director.

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