Consumers are increasingly viewing good sleep as more than an aspirational ‘nice-to-have,’ instead prioritizing it as an integral, foundational necessity for mental and physical health. 58% of consumers associate sleep quality with overall health, according to a survey conducted by SONAR™, Wunderman Thompson’s proprietary market research tool. “Sleep is a physiological need,” agrees sleep expert Dr. Rebecca Robbins. “It really is an illusion that if you stay up longer you add more time to your day.”

As a result, the sleep economy is booming; the global market for sleep aids and technologies is expected to reach $84.9 billion by 2021—up from $66.3 billion in 2016—according to the most recent findings from BBC Research. “The industry around sleep-related products is expanding; we see the shelves are rife with things like a new gadget, a new device [to improve sleep] every day, and there’s a huge explosion in the mattress industry,” Dr. Robbins tells JWT Intelligence—all of which “reflects a greater interest in sleep and the tools and strategies for getting better rest.”

For hotels, which are in the business of sleep, this represents a strong opportunity. Now, luxe hotels are creating environments and treatments designed specifically to improve sleep.

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Amenities in the Gregory Hotel's Ultimate Sleep Room. Photo by Wini Lao.

The Gregory hotel in New York City recently unveiled their Ultimate Sleep Room. The room, which opened in February 2019 and is available for booking through April 20, 2019, offers an arsenal of amenities and products to help guests fall and stay asleep. These include smart pillows that analyze sleep patterns, the same lighting technology used to help astronauts sleep while in space, CBD spray, Patchology’s restorative night eye gels and Nightfood, a new ice cream made with minerals, enzymes and amino acids to promote restful sleep.

Other hotels go one step further, with sleep specialists on hand to train guests in the habits of good sleep. The Benjamin hotel’s Rest and Renew program, led by Dr. Rebecca Robbins, was built around the tenet of good sleep. “We’ve designed a series of products and services that improve the sleep experience,” Dr. Robbins tells JWT Intelligence. These include a pillow menu segmented by sleeper type, a Bedtime Bites menu with selections that will help guests wind down without disrupting sleep, on-demand meditation and a “power down” call (the opposite of a wake-up call) where “the staff will come up to your hotel room and share some good sleep strategies,” explains Dr. Robbins. In fact, the focus on sleep extends beyond the hotel room; the entire staff, “from the hotel manager to the busboy,” has been personally trained by Dr. Robbins in good sleep hygiene, incorporating the components of good sleep into all aspects of customer service.

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The pillow menu at the Benjamin hotel.

The new Equinox Hotel, opening June 2019 in New York City, will offer an on-call sleep coach to analyze guests’ circadian rhythms, as well as jet-lag tonics and cryotherapy chambers. And the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland offers extensive sleep diagnostics—including polysomnography—from medical specialists.

“When we’re traveling, we’re in a foreign environment; we’re outside of our regular, safe home where we feel comfortable and relaxed,” Dr. Robbins tells JWT Intelligence. As a result, she explains, “our brain is on high alert,” which makes it harder to unwind and can lead to poor sleep quality. “Hotels have all the more reason to make sleep a priority.”

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