Bengaluru-based artist, Varun N Rao recollects how he would always look forward to summer holidays as a child as it was a much-needed break from studies and homework. “We would spend time playing, reading, or doing nothing. Yes, ‘doing nothing’ is also a thing, where you just sit at your favourite spot, stare into the horizon, and go with the flow of your thoughts or daydream. As adults, we face a considerable lack of time and energy to daydream even for a minute.”
City life is so hasty that catching a breath feels like a luxury. As a working professional in content marketing who doubles up as a professional artist, he has realised the importance of keeping his mind de-stressed. And this is what he did when he and his wife booked a farm stay in Coorg.
“The plan was not to explore as we had already seen places during our previous visits, but just stay indoors and prioritise ourselves rather than touristy places. After soaking in the luscious green beauty of our surroundings, we took out our paintbrushes and books and sat there till night. We spent our evening and night sitting on the veranda, only to go inside the cottage to sleep peacefully. The next day, we were woken up not by our alarms, but by the wonderful chirping of a variety of birds in the morning. A good night’s rest also meant that we could enjoy the natural vistas and do nothing, that feels like a good meditation session,” he explains.
Nap on It
Rao is not alone. A holiday where the primary idea is your sleep and everything from the place you stay to the activities you do is designed to get a good night’s sleep. Simply put, sleep tourism is travelling experiences designed to improve one's quality of sleep. Travellers are increasingly looking for relaxation and rejuvenation and an escape from the chaos of everyday life. They are turning to sanctuaries for solace.
“According to Booking.com’s ‘Travel Predictions 2024’ research, 68 per cent of Indian travellers surveyed mentioned that they are seeking sleep-focus retreats equipped with cutting-edge technology to meet their sleep preferences of undisturbed sleep. Accommodation providers are waking up to the new dawn of sleep tourism, to support travellers who are looking for some uninterrupted snoozing in 2024,” says Santosh Kumar, country manager, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia, Booking.com.
Sleep tourism is a trend where travellers prioritise destinations, accommodations, and activities that specifically promote mindfulness, relaxation, and good sleep. Citing it as one of the top activities for their next holiday, according to Skyscanner's Travel Trends 2024 report, Indian travellers have sleep as a priority in 2024.
“Sleep health generally is a hot topic and 85 per cent of Indian travellers are more mindful of their sleep health today compared to a few years ago. Moreover, 66 per cent of Indian travellers have reported experiencing improved sleep quality during their holidays. According to the reviews received on Skyscanner, Hội An, Santorini, and Rome top the list as the cities with hotels with the best sleep quality scores,” says Mohit Joshi, Skyscanner trends and destination expert.
Sleep in style
There are many urban city dwellers who are opting for breaks that have no agenda and give them ample time to rejuvenate. And sleep happens to be the best way of doing this. Sleep tourism has some benefits including improving the physical and mental health of people. It has been established that proper and uninterrupted sleep leads to enhanced memory, cognitive performance, regulated mood, and healthy immunity. Saumitra Singh, managing director, The Tigress Resort and Spa, Ranthambore agrees, “it has been observed that some people embark on sleepcations and sleep retreats; this is commonly referred to as sleep tourism. This is an emerging niche in tourism that targets customers who care about quality sleep and general health while on holiday. Sleep tourism is a term aimed at refreshing the traveller with an invigorating feeling.”
Quality sleep is the underestimated ingredient to our well-being as it influences our mood, energy levels, and overall resilience. “Catching up on sleep isn't just a luxury, it is a vital act of self-care. The ZzzQuil India National Sleep Survey by Kantar in association with P&G Health unveils that only 15 per cent of Indians on an average get good sleep, while nearly 60 per cent grapple with occasional sleeplessness. Over 40 per cent sleep less than 7 hours on workdays, oblivious to the profound impact of sleep deprivation on daily life," says Dr Jyotsna Arora, scientist, Medical & Technical Affairs at P&G Health.
Boost of health
According to the World Health Organization, being healthy involves experiencing a comprehensive sense of physical, mental, and social well-being, and is not merely the lack of illness. The concept of sleep tourism is deeply rooted in wellness. Sleep tourism is nothing but a form of holiday or get-away where all the programs are planned with a focus on achieving a good night’s sleep.
At Kshemavana Wellness Centre, affiliated with SDM Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences, the primary focus for guests has always been on the five foundation pillars of health and wellness, namely Nutrition and Gut health, Sleep Medicine, Exercise and movement, Stress management and lifestyle medicine. “One of the most effective, well-tolerated, and non-invasive means to achieve sleep would be aromatherapy - the science that focuses on deriving health benefits by inhalation (or application) of various essential oils. Oils like lavender oil, chamomile oil, lemongrass oil, and Bergamot oil have large-scale published studies that prove that they directly act on the brain to promote sleep,” says Dr Narendra Shetty, chief wellness officer, Kshemavana.
On the cards are also functional foods promoting sleep like barley grass powder, whole grains, maca, Panax, lettuce, cherry, kiwifruits, walnuts, and yoga therapy for sleep. Similarly, at Six Senses Vana, the in-house experts will help you track sleep patterns and help you reset through treatments and sleep therapies that will include yoga nidra, holistic massages, night-time soporific drinks, and more. “This programme is ideal for improving sleep patterns; restoring energy levels; de-stress; establishing a sustainable sleep routine; feeling better equipped to face daily challenges; or paving the way to a healthier and happier life,” says Dr Jitendra Varshney, wellness director, Six Senses Vana. Ready for a snooze?
Connect with your inner self by breathing. Muscles and the nervous system can be calmed by deep breathing exercises.
- For deeper relaxation, try yoga nidra.
- Before going to bed, avoid emotional or mentally taxing conversations.
- To promote peaceful sleep, avoid using any electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
- For a restful night's sleep, drink calming teas like chamomile, lemon balm, Brahmi, or banana tea.