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Back to Stories

Sleep more

Last year, to mark World Sleep Day on March 13, we asked you to take our sleep survey.

The good news is that on average, 70 percent of you reported to have six to eight hours of sleep per night, with 16 percent achieving 8+ hours. On the other end of the scale, 15 percent reported to have trouble falling asleep with 14 percent reporting restless sleep with lots of dreams.

We were interested to find out whether you find it harder to sleep when away from home. With 41 percent saying their sleep quality was about the same, 35 percent reported they usually slept better in a hotel bed and 24 percent reported they usually slept worse. The main factors disrupting sleep were uncomfortable bedding (20 percent), different environment (17 percent), unfamiliar noise (16 percent), temperature (16 percent), uncomfortable mattress (13 percent) and lighting (11 percent).

Happily, that is not the usual experience at our Six Senses properties. We were delighted to read that 82 percent of you rated our beds high quality or very high quality with only 1 percent reporting them to be poor quality.

But we don’t want to let the issue rest!

That’s why, to celebrate World Sleep Day on March 19, it’s the turn of our spa teams to talk about what we do to ensure our guests enjoy a restful stay.

Why are vacations a good time to focus on sleep?

According to Dr. Aneesh, our Ayurvedic Doctor at Six Senses Yao Noi, “When you decide to go on vacation, your mindset and thinking process already start to change to a position where you want to relax and sleep well. This positive vibrational energy makes you calm, happy and peaceful, and promotes your sleep hormones. Simply put, you are what you think.”

Vijay Kumar, Assistant Spa Manager at Six Senses Laamu, agrees: “Vacations are an escape from our busy world, with scheduled activities from the time we wake up, to when we hit the pillow at night. When we’re working, time is limited and there’s no time to focus on oneself and listen to the signs and signals that our bodies are giving us. A vacation gives us this time to recharge. Enhancing sleep brings immense healing.”

“When you’re feeling good and looking good on vacation, the motivation to change is high,” adds Andy Barge, Wellness Director at Six Senses Ibiza. “It’s a great time to start!”

How do we promote sleep at Six Senses?

“Your sleep consultation helps you to understand your sleep pattern and quality individually or as a couple,” explains Dr. Aneesh. “This is an opportunity to find out any issues that guests are experiencing and what they would like to change.”

Vijay adds: “We can also use a sleep tracker to see what’s going on during the night. Based on these two elements, we can then build an individual plan, which may include setting up the right environment, lifestyle changes, nutrition, treatments and also wellness activities that promote sleep such as learning some simple meditation and breathing techniques.”

“Our mattresses are pretty amazing,” says Andy. “They are handmade and, along with our organic bedding, are unbeatable at controlling temperature. The whole guestroom can be optimized for sleep and our experts are all trained by the one and only Sleep Doctor Dr. Breus!”

A massive 89 percent of our survey respondents expressed interest in a sleep program. What choices are there in terms of our sleep programs?

Dr Aneesh says, “We offer a variety of sleep programs, and there are multiple choices from three days right up to seven days or more. Don’t worry, this doesn’t stop you from enjoying your vacation; it actually enhances the experience, so you go home feeling so much better than when you arrived.”

“Typically, our sleep programs include a range of spa treatments, yoga nidra and personal training or wellness activities,” adds Vijay. “Combined, they help calm the nervous system and to focus on the present moment to go with the flow. Our menus are also adapted for our various programs, so you just need to look for the sleep symbol. Because the experience is so holistically integrated into the resort, you may not realize it, but everything you do will just naturally enhance your sleep.”

Are there some things we can do even if a guest is pushed for time?

Yes, there are, according to Dr. Aneesh. “We can use a sleep tracker to quickly measure and analyze a guest’s different sleep patterns. None are bad, but once we understand what is going on, we can guide them on which measures will improve their sleep quality.”

“Our Wellness Check-in is a fast and easy way to understand how stress might be affecting your sleep quality,” adds Javier Suarez Sanchez at Six Senses Douro Valley. “This intel, along with a general discussion about your lifestyle factors or concerns, enables us to recommend a bespoke action plan.”

“At a minimum, we can discuss how to address the ‘low hanging fruit’ of your sleep issues,” says Andy. “If you cannot do the full program, start with our sleep trackers, which are the best in the business and use sonar waves to measure your sleep accuracy. Even if you have your own tracker, these are the gold standard. This information, along with our sleep advice, can really help.”

Are we able to help with jet lag?

“Absolutely!” says Andy. “One thing that can really delay the enjoyment of a holiday is jet lag, which is why we offer the Timeshifter app to start using in advance ahead of your stay. It was designed by NASA for astronauts and is an incredible tool for arriving at a resort refreshed ready to go.”

“All of our resorts offer body rituals that can aid jet lag recovery,” explains Vijay. “For example, at Six Senses Laamu we offer two locally inspired treatments, one using The Organic Pharmacy range of products and three from Subtle Energies. The spa menu can give you more detailed information.”

What are examples of food and drink to favor or avoid?

Over to Javier for a run down!

AVOID

Caffeinated foods

Caffeine blocks adenosine, the chemical in your brain that promotes sleepiness. This includes coffee, caffeinated sodas and coffee-flavored food and drink.

Alcohol 

Alcoholic beverages keep you from entering the deep restorative phases of your sleep cycles so steer clear of beer, wine and spirits at least three hours before you plan to sleep.

Spicy foods 

Chili is well-known for causing heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux and lying down can exacerbate it.  

Refined carbs

Sugar and other refined grains can spike your blood sugar, causing energy levels to be out of sync, so avoid sugar, white bread, white rice, pasta, and other refined carbs.

FAVOR

Melatonin-rich foods

This hormone tells your body that it’s time to sleep, increasing when it’s dark and decreasing when it’s light. Favor almonds or almond milk, cherries, pomegranate, oats, nuts and seeds.

Tryptophan-rich foods 

This amino acid, found in protein, is used by the body to make the neurotransmitter serotonin which then makes melatonin to regulate your sleep-wake cycle and help overcome insomnia. Tart cherry juice, asparagus and pomegranate are naturally high in melatonin, as are grains such as rice, barley and rolled oats.

Magnesium-rich foods

Magnesium is another mineral that’s important for sleep and acts as a natural relaxant to help turn off the adrenaline. Favor avocados, bananas, mixed nuts and seeds. Give dried banana leaf tea a try.

Do we offer specific spa treatments to promote sleep?

“In reality, any spa treatment will help you sleep better if the issue is stress related,” says Javier. “Our sauna, steam and water hydrotherapy in a heated pool can also help you enter into a relaxed state of parasympathetic nervous system activity. It’s worth thinking about mindfulness, which helps train us to pay attention in the moment and quiet the overthinking mind, which is so often the cause of insomnia. Some gentle yoga nidra moves can help too.”

Tammy Dent, our Director of Training – Spas, outlines her favorite sleep-inducing therapies. “We have a treatment on the menu called Dreamcatcher, which is a personalized body treatment focusing on relieving tension in the back, neck and shoulders. It also includes a deeply relaxing scalp massage and is completed with key acupressure points on the feet. This treatment is complemented with our sleep balm, applied to pulse points to help induce a deep slumber.”

She continues: “Sleep Support Therapy with Subtle Energies is a tailored signature program based on clinical research and ancient practices, which can help overcome sleep concerns and insomnia. The treatment begins with guided meditation and yogic pranayamas that will positively impact the vital energy within. Another treatment, our full body Blissful Marma Massage, also with Subtle Energies, is designed to release tension and bring the body’s rhythm back into balance. The 90-minute option includes a Facial Marma Massage to release tension, balance emotions and reduce anxiety, leaving the skin visibly smoother and luminous. The Nasya (nasal oil application) which has been used for centuries for many concerns including sleep, follows this process. It is an ideal holistic sleep support, resulting in emotional and hormonal balance, connecting you to your body of bliss.”

And also: “Another of our partners, The Organic Pharmacy, offers a Magnesium Stress Complex, better known as the anti-stress minerals. Magnesium and calcium work synergistically on bones, nervous system, muscles and immune system. Magnesium has also been shown to aid the system for overall calming and relaxation. It’s also worth mentioning mogra or Arabian jasmine, which is an active ingredient that works through the olfactory system. We use mogra in our Bless Blend, which we provide in our sleep kits. This is coupled with Kashmir lavender, kewda (known as the dream oil) and jatamansi, known to ground and balance Vata (Air & Ether energy), which is often the source of restless sleep.”

A big thank you to our wonderful spa team: Tammy Dent, Andy Barge, Javier Suarez Sanchez, Vijay Kumar and Dr. Aneesh. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]


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