Special Report: What exactly is this new trend known as 'Sleep Tourism'?

Whether you’re planning a trip for spring break or any other vacation, you may consider things like what sights you’ll see and fun events to do with your friends and family.

But the last thing on most traveler’s minds is hanging out at the hotel, or at least that’s what you might think.

In a Fox 32 special report, Sylvia Perez discovers more and more people are diving into sleep tourism.

When you take a trip these days, it’s not only time to work and play, but also sleep.


Sleep tourism is a new trend where travelers are working to improve their quality of sleep, and even more simply, get some rest, both physically and mentally.

"We’ve published some data that looked at sleep in more than 800 regular travelers," said Dr. Rebecca Robbins of Harvard Medical School. "We found that only 30% reported being satisfied, remotely satisfied with their sleep."

In Chicago, some hotels are creating special experiences for sleep tourists like Laurence Faguer, who stayed downtown at the CitizenM hotel.

"Since I discover CitizenM, it’s wonderful for me," Faguer said.

Faguer travels internationally for work and really values her sleep.

"I think in an industry where we are literally putting a price on somebody’s sleep, we started to really invest in things that are going to make a stay more memorable," she said.

CitizenM’s manager Taylor Smith says their focus is to incorporate experiences that are considered a luxury into what they offer every day.

That includes a program called Brainwaves, a music program they developed with music scientists at Goldsmiths College at the University of London. Brainwaves helps your mind focus using music along with their in-room mood lighting.

"It's a way to set different moods throughout your room to help with brain function, combat common frustrations people have while traveling - anxiety. jet lag, sleep deprivation," Smith said. "With our rooms, everything is 100% customizable."

How did sleep tourism become such a sought after vacation experience?

"We believe the Covid-19 pandemic really did play a big role in this trend," Robbins said. "There had been a huge focus on wellness tourism broadly, but this increased interest in sleep, we’ve really seen across the board and I think in part because people were really struggling during Covid-19 with their sleep."

Another unique sleep experience is being offered at Staypineapple Chicago.

"The Naked Experience starts with our luxury pillow-top bed," said Beth Anne King, Staypineapple Chicago’s general manager. "It’s used in luxury hotels around the world. Then it’s very high quality linens that we’ve sourced, and then two twin size duvets with super luxurious comfortable duvet covers so that everyone had their own blanket to sleep with."

With cloud-like linens and robes, the hotel calls it the Naked Experience, saying it easily will be the most comfortable you will ever be in a hotel that’s crazy clean. So go ahead, get naked.

At the Langham Chicago hotel, they are offering several different tools and techniques to help travelers relax.

The Langham partnered with the World Sleep Society to develop a Sleep Matters kit and a Sweet Dreams Menu that includes everything from a yoga matt for bedtime stretching, to a weighted blanket and a sleep mask, to a bedtime bath soak and sleep tip cards.

Their spa even offers a special ear massage to help you sleep faster.

"Everyone has 200 pressure points in their ear that correlate with different parts of the body," said Emily McConnell, director of Chuan Spa at the Langham. "It helps induce sleep hormone so fall asleep quicker if wake up in mid of night - press on seeds to help fall back to sleep quicker."

Proof that a getaway can be the perfect reason to get some sleep.

When you make your hotel reservation, it’s important to ask if their sleep amenities are included in the regular room price.

Some places may charge for them separately.