As sleep tourism is set to become one of the biggest travel trends this year, Martin Seeley, the CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay has shared sleep tourism is, what to expect should you go on a sleep retreat, as well the main driving factors behind its increasing popularity.
Sleep tourism: fact or fiction?
Seeley said: “Sleep tourism may sound like a tall order, but there is some solid science behind it. Sleep plays an important role in brain function and overall health, and many people aren’t getting enough of it. In fact, between 50 and 70 million Americans have sleep-related problems, as do 16 million Brits.
“While the reasons why people seek out sleep treatment vary from person to person, there are some common themes. For example, many people have trouble falling asleep at night because their minds are racing with thoughts about work or life in general. Others have trouble staying asleep due to stress or anxiety about what tomorrow may bring. Some have even been diagnosed with insomnia by their doctor and told that they need help sleeping better in order to function properly during the day.”
Seeley continued: “However, going on a sleep retreat could benefit anyone. This is because sleep is essential for many, many reasons. Firstly, the body needs sleep to maintain healthy cognitive functioning and physical performance, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sleep helps us learn new information and consolidate memories. Without it, we can’t form long-term memories. And while we’re sleeping, our brains are busy processing new information and consolidating memories from the day before.”
There is also evidence to suggest that not getting enough sleep can increase the likelihood of experiencing depression or anxiety, by impacting mood and emotions. In addition, it can cause weight gain by changing the way certain hormones function in the body. Chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with a higher risk for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Moreover, insufficient sleep can affect cognitive function, making it more difficult to focus and think clearly.
What to expect at a sleep retreat
Some of the most common services provided on sleep tourism holidays include:
- Massages and other forms of bodywork. Massages are often used as a way to relax and reduce tension. They can also be helpful in treating various health conditions, including stress-related disorders, muscle aches and pains, headaches or other ailments.
- Reflexology. Reflexology is a form of alternative medicine that involves applying pressure to different points on your feet to promote overall well-being. It’s believed that reflexology stimulates nerve endings in your feet that correspond with every part of your body. The idea is that stimulating these nerve endings can help regulate key organs in your body, which may improve their function and lead to better overall health.
- Yoga classes. Yoga is another popular form of relaxation therapy that involves physical postures (asanas) combined with breathing exercises (pranayama). Some yoga practitioners believe that practising yoga regularly can help them achieve greater levels of peace and calmness through meditation, which is one reason why many people take up yoga during their holidays.
- Meditation classes. If you’re looking to learn more about the many benefits of meditation, you can check out some introductory meditation classes at your local yoga studio or community centre. Many people believe that meditation can help reduce stress levels by slowing down breathing and heart rate.
- Sleep doctors. Sleep doctors are trained to diagnose and treat sleep disorders, which can include insomnia and other problems that affect your quality of life (such as snoring). They will then provide advice on how to overcome these problems and improve your sleep quality and duration.
7 Factors that are driving the rising popularity of sleep tourism
Martin said: “Just to clarify, sleep tourism isn’t exactly new. It’s been around for centuries; think of all those artists who used to visit Paris or Rome just to paint or write, but it has become increasingly popular among people in the past couple of years. However, there are seven key factors driving the popularity of sleep tourism at the moment.”
- The growth and influence of social media. The growth of social media has made it easier for people to share their experiences with friends and family members. This has made travel trends more visible and accessible to a wider audience
- People want to try new things, and the wellness industry is huge. People are interested in trying new things, whether it’s practising yoga or enjoying a new type of food from another culture. Sleep tourists are no exception; they want to try something different from what they’re used to at home by spending time in a luxury hotel and having everything taken care of for them without having to lift a finger.
- The “experience economy”. The rise of the “experience economy” has made it more important than ever for businesses to offer unique experiences that customers can’t get anywhere else.
- Wellness practices have become much more popular. It’s driven by technology; many people now use apps like Sleep Cycle or Headspace to track their sleep patterns and try to improve them. And many people have become more aware of how important meditation and mindfulness are for their mental health, which has led them to seek out yoga retreats or meditation centres overseas where they can practice these skills more regularly.
- People are working longer hours and getting poorer sleep. More people are working longer hours than ever before which means they’re getting less restful sleep at night. This has led many people to seek out sleep tourism as a way of getting their much-needed rest
- Air pollution can affect your sleep. Air pollution is becoming an increasingly serious problem across many cities in the world which can negatively affect our ability to get quality rest at night time. As a result, travellers are looking for alternative places to stay that are cleaner and more breathable than their home cities.
- More people are becoming more health conscious. People are becoming more health conscious, and this trend is especially prevalent among younger generations. Sleep tourism offers a chance for people to relax and sleep in a clean environment without worrying about bed bugs or other pests that can infest hotels and hostels when travelling abroad.
As sleep plays a crucial role in brain function and overall health, sleep tourism is expected to continue growing as an important aspect of health and wellness.