The ‘luxury’ of restful sleep tops UK hotel and travel trade agenda

UK travel industry professionals to speak at SOMNEX



The benefits of a good nights’ sleep have never been so well documented and yet the average Brit only gets six hours and nineteen minutes of shut-eye a night. Now, the travel & hospitality industry is taking sleep more seriously than ever before as it goes back to basics and promotes slumber as the ultimate luxury.

Key authors, professors, economists and sleep device developers from across the industry will explore the trend during SOMNEX | The Sleep Show, the first show dedicated to sleep health, taking place at the Old Truman Brewery, in London’s East End, on 12-14 October.

“In hotels across the world, pillow menus, ambient lighting and herbal teas have long come as standard, but today they have upped their game to offer exercise classes, in room massages and even bespoke supper menus,” said Bansri Shah, co-founder and organiser of SOMNEX | The Sleep Show.

Over three days, SOMNEX will showcase and explore the latest developments in sleep, covering hospitality, travel and retail, as well as other areas. More than 120 companies will feature in the SOMNEX exhibition, each displaying their innovative products and technology.

At Tokyo’s Park Hyatt, for example, guests can unwind at a “good night sleep stretch” class and at Arizona’s Hyatt Regency, they can indulge and turn off with eucalyptus and lavender pillow mist, silk eye masks, aromatherapy and even sound machines.

Another pioneer of the five-star slumber, Four Seasons launched its Signature Sleep programme around the world in 2014 but theFour Seasons Hotel Shanghai took things a step further, with a customised Signature Sleep Menu.

The experience begins with an appetiser: a seafood dinner prepared by the executive chef and followed by a 90-minute spa experience, with herbal steam, acupuncture and a hot bath of Tibetan roseroot bath salts.

For the main course, guests select their pillow from a menu of six – including buckwheat and music – and receive a lavender eye pillow and diffuser. For dessert, a magnesium rich smoothie of Valrhona chocolate, banana and walnut is prepared and, the next morning, guests awake to a champagne breakfast in bed.

Airlines are getting in on the action, too. British Airways was the first to pioneer the lie-flat seat in its Club World cabin in 2000 and today also offers passengers luxury bedding and amenities.

However, many have built on its innovation. Qatar Airlines features adjoining cabins in business class, which combine to create a double bed and Air France offers an extra-long bed for those who are six feet or taller. Meanwhile Etihad has The Residence, a three-room suite with a full-sized bed, while first class guests enjoy a feather duvet and pillows, pillow mist and pulse point oil.

Last year, a US mattress company teamed-up with American Airlines to develop eight new inflight sleeping products for passengers in first class, business class and premium economy. The suite of products includes a mattress pad to fit over the seat, a regular pillow and a lumbar pillow, a pillowcase, duvet blanket pyjamas and slippers.

Speaking at the show, Christopher Babayode, a partner at Improve your Sleep Now and author of NoJetStress’ said: “It’s tempting to try and squeeze and additional hour into the day – an early start for a workout or a late finish to box off emails. But each time we do, we take time out from our body’s chance to regenerate and rest. Sleep truly is a luxury these days, but it needn’t be that way. As the hospitality industry shows us, there are many ways to promote better sleep and, ultimately, overall wellbeing,”

Addressing delegates on the opening morning of the show, about how hotels can improve their guests’ sleep, Dr. Rebecca Robbins asleep researcher and co-author of Sleep for Success!commented: “When we travel sleep becomes even more important and being unable to get a good rest can really take its toll, whether the trip is for business or pleasure.Over recent years hotels have focused on technology, brand experiences and restaurants, but now the focus is coming back to basics and it’s all about ensuring each guest has the best nights’ sleep possible,” she said.

Awareness of sleep’s overall impact on health and wellbeing has transformed the global market for sleeping products, which has graduated from beds and bedding to incorporate respiratory devices, supplements, full body supports and wearables.

Innovation is also a key driver for the industry and will be represented at SOMNEX with exhibitors such as luxury bed manufacturer FreshBed, who have recently partnered with UK-based Zeez Sleep. Barry van Doornewaard, founder of FreshBed, commented: “According to the European Bedding Industries Association (EBIA), stress and uncomfortable temperature are the most common reasons why many people don’t get a good night’s sleep.

“Freshbed solves the temperature issue by creating a conducive microclimate, and by teaming up with Zeez Sleep Pebble, the quality of sleep is now also improved by reducing the impact of stress – it can also help long haul passengers overcome jet lag,” he added.

Other activities during SOMNEX include, the ‘demo zone’ will showcase the full spectrum of sleep products including eyewear, wearables, apps and skincare during individual twenty-minute sessions.


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