March 28, 2014

From airlines to hotels, a quest to help you sleep


Perhaps you’ve been too bleary-eyed to notice, but sleep is a trendy topic. And no wonder. We’re hardly getting any. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the travel industry is dreaming up ways to woo weary consumers. Today cruise lines and airlines are also in the business of selling sleep.

At Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, new beds allow guests to play Goldilocks and choose one of three mattress toppers, from soft to firm, that feels just right.

In the air, Etihad Airways - after almost two years of research with the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology in Abu Dhabi - just introduced a sleep program that includes all-natural mattresses, mood lighting, noise-canceling headphones, pillow mist and calming pulse-point oil.

And at sea, Celebrity Cruises has outfitted some suites with mattresses that can be adjusted at the whim of a passenger.

“Everyone in our country is sleeping an hour and a half less than they did last generation,” said Russell A. Sanna, the executive director of Harvard Medical School’s division of sleep medicine. “Sleep is the enemy of capitalism,” he added, noting that you can’t produce or consume when you’re asleep.

Add to that dictum a growing dependency on technology, including laptops, tablets and smartphones - tools Dr. Sanna calls “sleep stealers” because we cozy up with them at night and blue wavelengths from their screens suppress the secretion of melatonin (a hormone that influences circadian rhythm) more powerfully than other types of light. Mobile devices that enable us to be anywhere and respond to anything at all hours, he said, erase “boundaries and cycles between work, home, sleep, wake.”

Get the full story at The New York Times

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