Turn Your Next Trip Into a Sleep Retreat: The Latest Trend in Health and Wellness

By Amy Capetta

If you’re craving a getaway that involves some serious snooze time, a sleep retreat may be the indulgence you’re searching for.

One of the latest trends in health and wellness, sleep retreats are sanctuaries that focus on guiding guests on improving their sleep quality. These package deals are hosted by upscale spas and hotels and come with doctor-designed sleep and lifestyle itineraries. They’re created to invigorate extra-fatigued patrons by teaching them the delicate art of sleep in order to repair poor slumber habits.

The Stats on Sleep

According to the American Sleep Association, approximately 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. have a sleep disorder. Insomnia tops the list affecting roughly 30% of adults on a short-term basis while 10% suffer from chronic insomnia.

As a whole, 35% of American adults report getting less than seven hours of shut-eye on a typical night. This is considered insufficient sleep. Too many consistent nights of reduced quality of sleep can lead to sleep deprivation. This results in numerous health complications, including hormonal imbalances, cardiovascular conditions and a weakened immune system. In fact, a paper published in the scientific, peer-reviewed journal Healthcare reports that insufficient sleep is a global public health epidemic.

The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults up to the age of 64 get anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep each night while those 65 and older are advised to keep their head on the pillow for seven to eight hours.

Why Sleep Retreats Are on the Rise

“Sleep is a big deal these days,” says Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., “The Sleep Doctor” who is a clinical psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Since COVID began, everyone wants to learn how to sleep better.”

While Dr. Breus thinks that a sleep retreat is “a perfect place for education, due to less distractions, less stress and more interest in health,” you should keep in mind that some destinations that claim to be sleep retreats are not quite “legitimate.”

“The experience will vary from place to place and really depends upon if the resort or property is involving a sleep doctor,” says Dr. Breus. “There are many people calling themselves ‘sleep specialists’ who have no advanced degrees and give ‘guidelines’ that have little to no value.”

Furthermore, some packages labeled as “sleep programs” are simply offering relaxation services, such as massage and reflexology. “To be clear, the objective is better sleep,” he states. “In fact, the data would suggest that doing a massage before bed is not particularly sleep-inducing, but more relaxing. Again, not really sleep-focused.”

Top Sleep Retreats

If following a Dr. Breus-approved sleep-enhancement program in a blissful environment sounds like paradise, then check out these four luxurious destinations:

Six Senses in Ibiza

Six Senses Ibiza Balcony view
(Image: Senses Ibiza)

The Sleep Wellness Program on this small Spanish island in the western Mediterranean combines advice from a sleep physician with yoga, meditation, cryotherapy and other treatments. Over the course of three, five or seven nights, guests can expect a personal consultation, wellness screening and gift bag of sleep amenities. Their sleep will also be tracked throughout the stay. Plus, this exotic resort accommodates only 137 guests and serves locally-grown, farm-fresh food and beverages.

“This is an excellent program created by a world-renowned sleep specialist,” says Dr. Breus. “It has multiple aspects, including room amenities, specific mattresses, education and a sleep ambassador who has been trained by a sleep doctor to help educate guests. This is the best of the bunch by far.”
Average Price Per Person: $510 for 3 nights, $730 for 5 nights, $1,070 for 7 nights

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka

Man and Woman in one of Anantara's beach view rooms
(Image: Anantara)

The Deep Sleep Ayurveda Program begins with a technology blackout. This is followed by an evaluation with an ayurvedic doctor and a personal dosha record. The lush resort promises deep sleep with the aid of an in-person “Slumber Guru” ritual and other soothing treatments. These include acupuncture and a shirodhara treatment (which involves warm oil drizzled on the forehead and massaged in specific patterns from the right to left temple, followed by a scalp manipulation). The schedule also includes calming activities such as visiting a pottery village, kayaking in a lagoon, spending time in a Buddhist temple and dining while overlooking a large coconut plantation by the Indian Ocean.

“This program offers a visit with an ayurvedic doctor and a night with a Slumber Guru experience,” says Dr. Breus. “While I have no idea what this means, this plan seems to fall within the basic ideas of ayurveda sleep practices. Therefore, it feels a bit more authentic for that cultural experience.”

Average Price Per Person: $820 for 5 nights

Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel in Portugal

Longevity Alvor Hotel room
(Image: Alvor)

The Longevity Sleep Optimization program is a seven-night experience that aims to help guests regain sleep quality. It does this by offering a sleep apnea check-up and multiple integrative health exams. These include things like a physical, plus nutritional, fitness, heavy metal and cardiovascular evaluations. Tranquil therapies include a personal training session, yoga, massage therapy, guided meditation, energetic healing therapy and craniosacral therapy. The icing on the cake is the panoramic views of the bay of Alvor from this secluded hotel in Portimão.

“This one actually has some sleep-related activities and there appears to be a sleep apnea screening,” says Dr. Breus. “It’s also very expensive!”

Average Price Per Person: $3,780 for the 7-night program only (price does not include resort accommodations)

Preidlhof Luxury DolceVita Resort in Italy

A woman sleeping inside one of Preidlhof's luxury rooms
(Image: Preidlhof)

A seven-day journey at the spa hotel in the South Tyrol province in northeast Italy starts with a sleep analysis and heart health session. It continues with a heated quartz and sound treatment and a body therapy treatment (which releases emotional blocks, anxiety, and imbalances). Finally, guests are treated to a sleep ritual that incorporates a face and front body massage. The five-star hotel—complete with 10 pools and a six-floor “sauna tower” all surrounded by rivers, lakes and mountains—also offers classes (such as laughter yoga, sound healing, forest bathing, mindful eating and self-massage) and personalized private sessions (such as personal training and acupuncture).

“This program looks quite good and thorough,” says Dr. Breus. “Guests meet with a doctor, undergo a sleep study and get evaluated by a sleep medicine expert. It looks to be excellent!”

Average Price Per Person: $1,775 for 7 nights (not including resort accommodations)

Sleep Retreats and You

The popularity of sleep retreats is gaining ground for good reason. After all, health-savvy consumers are realizing the importance of sleep wellness and how that translates to better health overall. Sleep retreats, another popular form of wellness travel, provide an opportunity to address sleep issues in a personalized and concentrated way. If the idea of an immersive sleep experience appeals to you, book your own sleep retreat trip today!

(Image: Shutterstock)

About Amy Capetta
Amy Capetta has been writing articles on healthy living for more than two decades. Over the years, her pieces on nutrition, sleep, stress, chronic conditions, weight loss, and mental health have appeared on AOL, Yahoo, TODAY.com, Everyday Health, Doctor Oz, Sharecare, SingleCare, LIVESTRONG, Reader’s Digest, SELF, The Vitamin Shoppe, Eat This, Not That!, and multiple outlets on Hearst Magazines Digital Media.

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