Friday, September 17, 2021

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Sleep like a Baby they said, it is World Sleep Day!

When was the last time you ever felt like you had a good night’s sleep? Or in 2021, is that an oxymoron? Why would we even bother about the quality of sleep unless you are able to clock in at least a few hours of sleep right? So much to do, so less sleep. It probably is the only grouse of our generation.

Our elders always emphasized on getting a solid 8 hour sleep to be able to survive the next day with all your engines running. Over the years, however, the culture of looking down up people who “wasted” time by sleeping so much when your adult body could just do with 6 hours of sleep. Steve Jobs made it cool to sleep for as much and wake up early to start off the day early. A lot of our idols, including film stars made it normal to claim that they slept for about 2-3 hours and then went about acting with some crazy bundle of energy through 20-21 hours.

Why is it cool though to sleep so less? Numerous studies have pointed out that it is not okay to sleep so less and not every body can take in the same amount of sleep that thought leaders profess to be successful. Some people are born sleepers and can sleep for over 10 hours yet feel droopy after that and some are fresh as a flower after 6-7 hours. It is all to do with the science of sleeping and the quality of sleep one gets.

To highlight this importance of sleep, we now celebrate something called- World Sleep Day! World Sleep Day is an annual, global call to action about the importance of healthy sleep. The focus of WSD is to bring cognizance to the many burdens of sleep problems, as well as the importance of healthy sleep. WSD publicly displays efforts being taken toward prevention and management of sleep disorders. Created and hosted by World Sleep Society, World Sleep Day is an internationally recognized awareness event bringing researchers, health professionals and patients together to recognize sleep and its important impact on our health.

World Sleep Day 2021 will incorporate the slogan, ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future,’ highlighting sleep’s important place as a pillar of health, connecting regular sleep to healthier physical and mental state in the future. This focus is purposefully broad in meaning, surrounding the message that quality of life can be improved with healthy sleep. Conversely, when sleep fails, health declines, decreasing quality of life. Sound sleep is a treasured function.

Sleep disorders are real and if not treated at the right moment can lead to various issues and ailments in the long run. Sleep disorders cause significant individual and societal burden and form a serious public health problem. Obstructive sleep apnea significantly impacts health and well-being. The drop in oxygen that occurs when breathing stops due to OSA puts a strain on the heart and can lead to a number of serious health conditions. Directly or indirectly, disrupted sleep can have a negative effect on family life and relationships by affecting a person’s mood and the way in which they are able to perform daily activities and interact socially.

Those in the business of sleep, like the startup Wakefit.co, made it cool for people to get paid to sleep before anyone else could. Two years ago, the startup called from a billion Indians, top 10 sleep masters to test their mattresses over a period of time and also paid them Rs.1 lakh to do so. Various parameters were to be tracked by these sleep interns to ensure the study was fool proof. This year, they are back with the second season of it. As if the lockdown hadn’t made us sleep masters, the competition has definitely raised the stakes.

On quizzing them about the process of designing their products, Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Director & Co-founder, Wakefit.co says, “An unsupportive mattress is a big barrier to uninterrupted sleep and can be one of the causes of sleep-related ailments. It is important to choose a mattress that helps distribute your body weight evenly. At Wakefit.co, we conduct extensive R&D on our products and incorporate customer feedback to create mattresses that suit the requirements of consumers across India. For instance, our memory foam mattresses are designed to adapt to your body shape and distribute your bodyweight uniformly, thus ensuring no pressure points are created in your body during sleep.

As travelers, we spoke to some of our friends at Bengaluru’s top 5-star chains and tried to understand their efforts for World Sleep Day.

ITC Hotels, one of India’s top chain of hotels takes their guest’s sleep very seriously. An in-depth analysis into the Science of Sleeep® over the last 2 decades has enabled them towards their endeavor to enable guests to have a sound sleep in the room, while they stay with them. Amaan Kidwai – General Manager at ITC Gardenia says – “We believe that one of the primary reasons for a guest to choose any hotel is to ensure a good night’s sleep and there isn’t a substitute for that. It is this belief that has led us to initiate this research nearly a decade ago and   implement practices that enhance the quality of sleep experienced by the guests at our hotels. This evident in the several initiatives including optimized decibel level in the room, innovative lighting such as the anti-stumble lights, the right shower pressure, Sleeep Music channel, etc.”

The Sleep Ensemble at ITC Hotels

The group boasts of various initiatives that boost one’s sleep while staying at their property. From customized food menus, to specialized spa treatments to rejuvenate oneself and a detailed in-room sleep enhancement routine, they’ve got you covered. Their special in-room sleep enhancement package has been developed in association with the Scientists of ITC Life Sciences and Technology Centre to include:

  • Foot Ritual
  • Relaxing Fragrance
  • Soothing Ayurvedic oil
  • Choice of Good Night beverage from our Sleeep® Menu (Camomile Tea / Gulkand Milk / Lotus Seeds & Milk)
  • Sleeep® Ensemble (includes an eye mask, ear plugs, a pillow mist and a stress reliever spray)

At The Oberoi, Bengaluru, Ms.Preetaya Guha, Executive Housekeeper shares how the property ensures a guest gets a comfortable sleep after a hectic day. “Apart from the natural tranquillity that our hotel’s design and aesthetics provide with its lush gardens, serene water bodies and soothing bird song, all our mattresses come with posturepedic pillow topping adding extra cushioning and perfect comfort for a great night’s sleep.”

The Presidential Suite Bedroom at The Oberoi, Bengaluru

“Our bed making process is like a rich moist cake, 5 layers of pure comfort. A hard board base, an ergonomic mattress, a posturpedic pillow topping, pure cotton protective sheet and our luxurious comforters and duvet. The turndown bed has an envelope fold which is quite inviting and make it easy for a guest to get inside the bed and rest”, she adds.

At JW Marriott, Bengaluru, Ms. Sonia Banerjee, Rooms Division Manager shares insights on how housekeepers, every evening, through turndown services ensure that we are able to refresh the room and prepare bedding & room ambience for a good nights’ sleep. A special turndown note, with bedding customization option is shared with the guests and evening amenities are often part of the evening turndown service. 

Bengaluru’s millennial luxury hotel, The Den takes a guest’s sleep very seriously. Ms.Ajita Nair, Executive Housekeeper shares, “We use highest quality feather which are ultimate in luxury for our pillows. It’s made out of finest white goose down surrounded by long-staple Indian finest cotton which help our guests sleep not ‘on it’ but ‘in it’. Our feather light, comfortable and breathable duvet usually help our exhausted guests sleep like a baby.

Beds at The Den

The property tracks their guest’s best sleep in a digital way. “We always ensure that the guest gets minimum 5 hours of sound sleep”, she signs off.

For hotels, it is one to ensure through various means to see to it that a guest gets a good sleep. However it is another to actually testing it out. A few years back, properties around the world hired sleep interns to test different beds at various properties and rate them according to the sleep they got. How do the hotels in the city ensure the same? Mr. Anurag Mathur, Rooms Division Manager at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore says, “As a brand, there are certain laid down standards that we follow. At DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore, we use the luxurious Mattress Brand SERTA which has a rich latex layer with a 7 zone pocket spring support base, ideal for a peaceful slumber. The mattress has a combination of luxurious velour, latex layer, pocket spring and a foam encasement.

Further, he adds, “We may not have bed testers internally but our processes of checking the mattress (Mattress turnover) happens at least twice a year to ensure that the condition remains unchanged even after regular usage. Also as a time bound process, there is a replacement cycle which ensures that the normal wear & tear is taken care of.”

Properties across groups ensure they have a pillow menu for guests to choose from. Pillow menus are critical for they take care of the guest’s conditions, ailments and requests perfectly. Every hotel, to accommodate a wide range of preferences, needs and sleep positions has versatile range of pillows at the hotel besides offering the usual feather pillow.

Ms.Banerjee at JW Marriott says, “After all, we are in the business of sleep. It is imperative to ensure that we able to provide the highest level of comfort and the most sound sleep experience to our clientele. We offer feather, foam, bolsters, and Euro Pillows. Cervical and Full bodied pillow are also available for guests who are expecting.”

ITC Hotels offers guests from over 7 pillows to choose from:

  • Relaxed Support: Absorbs the weight of the head evenly in all directions, providing consistent comfort and complete relaxation; especially useful when suffering from headaches.
  • Supersoft: Specially designed with three-way support for those who love to sink in deep.
  • Silk Cotton: 100% natural hypoallergenic comfort with the added softness of silk cotton.
  • Slim Rest: Soft, but thin. Provides good support without raising the head too high.
  • Ortho Care: Helps relax the neck and the shoulders, treating muscle rigidity, insomnia and snoring.
  • Cotton Comfort: 100% natural filling of the finest cotton for hypoallergenic protection.
  • Air Care: Recommended for those suffering from spondylitis, L’oreiler d’air can be customised to your particular comfort requirement.

The Den Bengaluru and The Oberoi, Bengaluru offer identical choices of pillows to choose from.

The Pillow Menu at The Oberoi
  • Buckwheat Pillow: Buckwheat is prized for an ability to conform to the body and provide cool, breathable, and comfortable support. One of the great things about buckwheat pillows is that they suit every person’s sleeping style.
  • Contour Massage Pillow: These pillows are ideal for side sleepers, as the memory foam conforms to the shape of the head and neck. This reduces neck pain and helps side sleepers sleep comfortably. It stays cool during the night. This can help people sleep more comfortably.
  • Memory Foam Pillow: It protects your head and neck, reducing the amount of pressure placed on arguably the most important parts of the body.  It supports the neck, ensuring that its natural curve is maintained.
  • Ultra-soft Micro Fibre Pillow: This pillow was designed for irresistible comfort and tranquillity. This microfibre fill emulates the light, fluffy air trapping properties which ensures the satisfaction of a good night’s sleep.
  • Cervical Pillow: It is specially designed with ergonomic supports for your neck. They hold it in the proper position during sleep, of the great things about buckwheat pillows while also cradling the head and shoulders. It is excellent at compressing and decompressing around your neck and head.
  • Body Pillow: Depending on how you sleep, micro-fiber body pillows provide body support for side sleepers. It works as a pressure relief on the lower back, spine and hips and helps in the shoulder, hip and spinal alignment.

Mr.Mathur further elaborates, “Cotton Pillow is an ideal choice to rest a weary head. They hold the shape and height reasonably well and hence, are for people who are back and side sleepers. Feather Pillows are much softer and are perfect for stomach, back and side sleepers. This is a best choice with mix of softness and firmness to hold. Anti-snore pillows maintain the natural curvature of the neck and allow head to turn to the side easily that reduces the likelihood of snoring. Synthetic Pillows are hypo- allergic pillows that gives supreme support when you sleep on side.”

With so many choices to be spoilt with, why do Indians continue to be bad sleepers?

Wakefit.co has a great insight to share. According to their Great Indian Sleep Scorecard 2021, Wakefit.co’s annual survey with over 16,000+ responses this year, shows that 92% of Indians use their phones just before sleeping. It also showed that 77% of people felt sleepy at work 1-3 days of the week. These trends indicate a lifestyle shift that required late-night work, addiction to blue screens, etc., which impacts sleep health. However, there are simple solutions to navigate the modern-day lifestyle. 42% of people noted that a better mattress would significantly improve their quality of sleep. Choosing a mattress and bed that allows you to get the rest you need during your sleep hours is extremely important. We recommend doing thorough research and looking at reviews before buying sleep solutions online, to ensure an optimal experience. It is also important to recognize your body’s requirements and opt for a mattress accordingly. People with back-pain should ideally choose an orthopedic mattress, while people who prefer better air circulation in their mattress can go for a latex mattress. Research on what kind of mattress would suit your requirements will help make the right and healthiest decision.

Sleep is a basic human need—a crucial component of survival, much like breathing, eating a healthy diet or getting enough exercise. We wish you do really get a great night’s sleep and continue to setup a fixed schedule that is the first step towards correcting our sleep disorders and also fixing many other issues. Sometimes, I feel our mothers are right. The primary reason to all our issues are not waking up early and staying awake until late night. 😉

As I write this story, staring at a laptop screen with a dying battery begging to be charged, losing sleep at 1.53 AM, oh the irony!! Let’s not lose sleep over these trivial things though. The dark circles under our eyes may magically disappear with magical potions of Ayurveda.

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