According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 70 million Americans suffer from sleep troubles, and unfortunately, these are often exacerbated when traveling. A new time zone or sleeping environment can throw off your sleep cycle even when on vacation in the most tranquil location. A lack of sleep can ruin your vacation and leave you feeling more tired than before you went on your holiday!
Those in the hospitality industry know this and are exploring new ways to help travelers make the most of their vacation. As a result, they are implementing new services and products to help guests sleep better. Luxury hotels know how to prioritize sleep. The soft luxurious sheets, pillow menus, turndown service, and soothing scents prime you for a wonderfully blissful sleep!
I fell in love with a sleeping eye mask during a 5-night stay at a gorgeous hotel in Arizona. After returning to the room after dinner, a sleeping kit was placed next to the pillow. The kit contained a sleeping eye mask, ear plugs, and a small chocolate. I had never used an eye mask before and had no intentions to, but the bright light from the alarm clock convinced me to give it a shot - and I’m so glad I did!
When we are in complete darkness, our melatonin production increases. Melatonin is a hormone that is made naturally in the body (or can be taken as as part of a natural sleep aid ) that is triggered by the pineal gland in our brain in response to darkness. This is why we sleep better in a dark room or with a sleep mask on.
In addition to increasing melatonin, a sleep mask reduces distractions that can wake us, like your partner getting up and turning on a light or a text message on your phone. Many people report sleeping much better with an eye mask and find it especially useful when trying to sleep on a plane or while it is still light out.
Not all sleeping eye masks are created equal. Some are made from scratchy material or have a tight elastic band that makes them uncomfortable to wear. The best sleeping eye masks are those made from soft material, like 100% cotton and silk fibers. These materials are also breathable, so you won’t feel extra hot when wearing them.
Another standard sleep accessory you will find at hotels is earplugs. The cheap, disposable ear plugs are there to help keep out loud noise that is commonly experienced when traveling. Noisy hotel guests walking through the halls late at night or busy streets down below can keep you up at night or wake you up. Again, a strange sleeping environment can put you on edge, and you are more likely to be disturbed. In theory, these earplugs are great, but in practice, they often don’t do the trick. I find they don’t work well enough or fall out as I move in my sleep.
The sleeping eye mask I use wraps around my head, covering my ears. This not only reduces sound that can wake you up but is also much more comfortable than the cheap elastic found on many other sleep masks. For this reason, I bring my own sleeping eye mask when I travel.
Although I bring my own sleeping eye mask when I stay at a hotel, I do like to use their other sleep accessories. The latest sleep accessory to hit the luxury hotel market is sleep patches. Bloomberg dubbed them the “hotel amenity we’ve all been waiting for” as they are rolled out at Peninsula Hotel locations around the globe.
According to Gareth Roberts, the group director of Peninsula Hotels, the fundamentals of hospitality are providing “a good night’s sleep and some good for to go with it.” Therefore, sleep is a critical element of Peninsula Hotels' wellness priorities. They offer a range of services, including in-room fitness equipment, wellness concierge, and a turndown service with a little something extra.
When you request turndown service at a Peninsula Hotel, you will find a little envelope placed upon your pillow. In this envelope, you will find an inhalation sleep patch. The patch is sealed in a packet roughly the size of a wet nap, with a small patch inside that is the size of a dime with an adhesive layer.
The patch is to be applied to your wrist or collar and will release calming aromas that will help you drift off to sleep. By applying it to your wrist or collar, you will be able to smell the subtle notes all night long. For example, in the brand of sleep patches used at Peninsula Hotel, you will smell notes of lavender, citrus, and jasmine.
So, do these really work?
Based on aromatherapy research, they just might! Studies have found that lavender has therapeutic effects. It provides a deep sense of peace and relaxation because of the coumarins found in lavender oil. This is why a lavender linen spray is so great for creating a relaxing sleeping environment at home. The sleep patches at Peninsula Hotel are inhalation patches meaning the benefits are received by breathing in the aromatherapy oils as you sleep, not through the skin.
Sleep patches are just the beginning for Peninsula Hotel. They are currently type-trialing a sleep gummy that contains melatonin at their New York location. While the sleep patches at Peninsula Hotel do not have melatonin and give off relaxing aromatherapy oils, melatonin patches do exist.
A transdermal melatonin patch is a melatonin supplement delivered via the skin. This patch is similar to a nicotine patch. You apply them to your body at night before you go to bed, and melatonin is then released through your skin. There are many anecdotal reports of people who use these melatonin patches, saying they help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. That said, there isn’t a great deal of scientific research on their effectiveness.
The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the safety of melatonin patches because they are a supplement; however, one small study found they could be effective. The study found that these melatonin patches could be beneficial for those with irregular sleep patterns, such as shift workers who need help regulating their circadian rhythm.
CBD patches also exist and are said to aid in sleep. Often combined with melatonin, these patches are believed to have a relaxing effect. These are transdermal patches, and although they may work, it is very unlikely we will see these in hotels any time soon.
In addition to aromatherapy sleep patches, Peninsula Hotel has rolled out a sleep ceremony. Their sleep ceremony has been specially designed for the needs and well-being of travelers. It is 120 minutes long and excellent for those with a disrupted sleep pattern, jetlag or stress. The ceremony beings in a private spa suite. The room is lit by candles creating a relaxing and tranquil environment. Next, guests will enjoy an aromatic bath with soothing bath oils while following a guided meditation to release anxiety. Following the bath, it is time for a hot stone body massage, facial and scalp massage. After this, you are ready to return to your suite, where you will find a tiny envelope containing an aromatic sleep patch on your pillow. Apply and crawl into your luxurious king bed for a fantastic night’s sleep!
If you want to try aromatherapy sleep patches at home, you can find them online, or you can create your own. For example, you can spray a bit of lavender linen spray on a cotton ball and place it next to your bed, spritz your pillow and bedding, or apply lavender essential to a small circular bandage and stick it to the inside of your risk. If you aren’t a fan of lavender, there are other essential oils you can try. Sandalwood, bergamot, peppermint, chamomile, ylang-ylang, or marjoram oil are all known to aid in sleep. Many essential oils are often safe to be applied to the skin or can be inhaled; however, it is important to reach the instructions from the manufacturer. In some cases, they may need to be diluted with lotion or another oil first.
Unfortunately, for many of the 70 million who have trouble sleeping, an aromatherapy patch isn’t enough to help them sleep soundly on vacation. Those with sleep troubles need to ensure they are practicing proper sleep hygiene, even when on vacation. This means avoiding caffeine later in the day, limiting screen use, eating a small snack in the evening, and going to get at the same time. If you know you have trouble sleeping when you are traveling, consider bringing your favorite bedtime items from home, like your pillow, sleeping eye mask, and favorite set of pajamas. And, if the opportunity arises and you find a tiny envelope with a sleep patch on your pillow, apply it to your wrist, take a deep inhale, and let the blissful aromas soothe you to sleep.