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The place to zzz

December 13, 2022 - How carefully do you consider where you sleep, how you sleep, or even how you prepare for sleep? At Six Senses Douro Valley, you may not realize it, but even as you start the day, everything is already in motion for you to sleep well that night.

How well you sleep at night is heavily influenced by what you do during the day. This includes simple things like when you take in caffeine, when you stop for a moment’s rest, how soon you expose yourself to daylight after waking, and how much you move during the day. The demands of modern-day life make it increasingly hard to balance mental and physical tiredness. We are often more mentally exhausted than we are physically and then overexert ourselves in short windows to try and balance physical exhaustion. There are many tips for enhancing your sleep at home. Having the opportunity to reset while you are relaxed is the ideal time to take on new habits.

However, what if you could take a break somewhere amazing and, without realizing it, be set up to sleep well at night? This is exactly what happened to me on a recent visit to Six Senses Douro Valley, which I wasn’t entirely expecting, considering it is a wine estate and the port is tempting. However, the resort team has it all covered and is one step ahead in knowing what you might need before you realize it yourself.

From the locally sourced port you are presented with on arrival to the beautifully curated activity schedule you can immerse in during the day, your stay balances relaxation with mental and physical stimulation, leaving you ready to be cocooned in comfort in a forest room come bedtime.

Although alcohol works a bit like a sedative, it adversely affects REM sleep, which is a vital sleep stage where we truly rest and when having done so, wake up feeling good. Therefore, not only should any alcohol be of the best quality, but it is also best served in small doses throughout the day, leaving a window of two hours between drink and sleep, with plenty of water in between. Mix this with some soporific foods at dinner and you will float into bed. 

I hadn’t really thought about REM sleep or whether I was getting enough of it, so I took the opportunity to learn more and wore a sleep-tracking ring one night. This ring recorded handy intel, which could be decoded by a sleep expert the next day. Besides the usual markers (REM, light, and deep sleep), it also tracks sleep apnea, tosses and turns, and the correlation between arterial oxygen saturation (Spo2) and heart rate variability (HRV). I realized a new habit I needed to adopt was to avoid screen time an hour before bed and an hour after I woke up.

The following night, instead of staring at a screen, I took full advantage of the Sleep Mini Bar in my room, packed full of sleep-inducing products made by the resort Alchemist, Cris. I started with a soothing body scrub, which I showered off, then applied a floral body oil and layered it with a soothing sleep balm on pulse points and across the neck and shoulders. This sleep ritual was finished with a pillow spray. I certainly smelt amazing, and I slept very well too. The next morning, I woke up and headed out for a walk in the forest. Forest Bathing, before looking at my phone or having a coffee, was recommended by the sleep expert. I felt amazing for it and hope to continue this at home, despite not being in the beautiful surroundings of Douro Valley.

If there is one thing that I learned from my stay here, it is that wellness is about balance.

Anna Ramsay spent three nights at Six Senses Douro Valley in November 2022.

If you are interested in understanding your sleep and improving your sleep patterns, you can try our Sleep Program. For information and inquiries, please contact reservations-dourovalley@sixsenses.com or +351 254 660 600

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