Medical and wellness experts agree: sleep is not just part of a healthy lifestyle; it is the foundation. Moreover, sleeping well is considered the ultimate preventative medicine and contributor to good health, as it is linked to lower body weight, improved mental and physical health, stronger immune systems, and a lower risk of chronic diseases. GWI’s Sleep Initiative forecasts what lies ahead in this ever-changing and highly important wellness sector.
TREND 1: Sleep Tourism: A Trend That’s Here to Stay?
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on our health and wellbeing, and suppressed our ability to travel. A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the growing interest of consumers in wellbeing, and also pent-up demand for domestic leisure travel. As a response, hotels are increasingly leaning towards wellness in their programming, and it is no surprise that improving the sleep experience captures a big share of that trend. Sleep is a fundamental pillar of health and wellness, and also, at the end of the day, a core element of the hotel experience.
The hospitality industry is responding to this new focus in nuanced ways. Many hotels are optimizing standard rooms for sleep, adding design principles and elements that will allow for a more restorative night. This may include improved lighting, blackout shades, white noise devices, improved pillows and better mattresses. In the luxury space, some properties are creating wellness suites or sleep-enhanced rooms, a category that makes a strong commitment to wellness and better sleep. Some hotels add special bedding, in the form of innovative linens and mattresses or smart mattresses, aromatherapy, sleep supplements, sleep literature, tools, props to promote exercise and meditation, and air purifiers, among other great ideas. In the third category, there are the hotels with a stronger wellness commitment, which include resorts offering sleep retreats and integrating sleep-related offerings into the spa. Sleep retreats also typically include education and training, with the support of scientists and proven techniques to generate behavioral change that can improve sleep.
Sleep tourism is a trend that started popping up in late 2022 and continues to be embraced by travelers and the most notable travel press. Welcome to a new era of sleeping while traveling.
TREND 2: Managing Menopause and Sleep
While menopause (and other hormonal changes) has been affecting women’s sleep since the beginning of time. What’s new is the attention being devoted to women’s health broadly and this season in a woman’s life in particular. Women themselves are becoming much more vocal and actively seeking treatment, both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical, to improve their quality of life during menopause. And around the world, there’s an increase in investment and resources being dedicated to supporting women through the menopause transition.
Menopause is a time of major hormonal, physical, and psychological change for women — and all that change can wreak havoc on sleep. On average, 12 percent of women experience sleep complaints, however as women age into their late 40s to early 50s, that number increases dramatically to 40 percent. Sleep issues become more common and worsen during perimenopause to post menopause, when women report the most sleep problems.
Fortunately, attention and funding in support of women’s health is dramatically increasing around the world. The UK created a menopause task force to coordinate and work together on support for women across all nations. Specific menopause-focused clinics have been formed in Ireland and Abu Dhabi. Investment in women’s health startups is trending up, and there was even a menopause-related commercial that aired during the 2023 Super Bowl—the most watched television event in the US.
This heightened activity, along with research like this study into factors disturbing sleep throughout the menopause transition and effective management strategies, provide hope for midlife women around the world.
TREND 3: Sleep Environment-Related Products – What’s New for 2023?
In 2023, the trend of new products that improve and control the sleep environment has expanded to include sensorial-based technology and sleep products. Companies are developing products that cater to the sensory experiences of users to provide a more immersive and personalized sleep environment.
Sensorial-based technology products include smart mattresses that use sensors to monitor sleep patterns and adjust the mattress firmness and temperature accordingly. Additionally, there are smart pillows that track sleep data and provide soothing vibrations to alleviate snoring or provide a more comfortable sleep. These products also offer guided meditation and relaxing music to help people fall asleep faster, creating a more sensorial sleeping experience.
Non-tech sleep products have also evolved to cater to sensory experiences. Breathable linen, bamboo pillows, and weighted blankets are designed to regulate body temperature and provide a soothing and comfortable sleeping experience. The use of natural and organic materials such as cotton, wool, and silk in sleepwear and bedding products adds to the sensorial experience, providing a soft and comfortable feel that promotes better sleep quality.
The demand for sleep-related products that promote a more encouraging environment for sleep has increased as individuals prioritize their sleep health. With more people seeking products that can offer personalized and customizable sleep solutions, companies are investing more resources in the research and development of next-generation sleep products. With a variety of options available, people can choose products that cater to their individual sleep needs and sensory preferences.
TREND 4: The Evolution of Sleep Hygiene: Time for a Comprehensive Approach
Sleep hygiene has become an increasingly popular topic in recent years, with more and more people recognizing the importance of quality sleep for overall health and wellness. However, despite the growing awareness, there is still a significant gap between the available knowledge and the general population’s understanding of how to improve their sleep. Many people lack access to reputable resources and tools to guide them in developing healthy sleep behaviors, leading to misinformation and confusion.
There is a need for simple and practical guidance on improving sleep, from circadian rhythms and stress mitigation to techniques for falling back asleep in the middle of the night. Furthermore, while there is greater recognition of the prevalence of sleep disorders and the impact of daily decisions on sleep quality, many people struggle with implementing the necessary changes to improve their sleep hygiene.
To complicate matters, digital misinformation can hinder people’s ability to make informed decisions about sleep hygiene. Studies have found that popular online resources can contain misleading information, which may contribute to ineffective or even harmful sleep practices.
Overall, while awareness and self-care are essential aspects of improving sleep hygiene, there is a need for more accessible and reliable resources to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice. It is time to move beyond the outdated concept of “sleep hygiene” and embrace a more comprehensive approach to sleep health, one that acknowledges the complexity of sleep and the unique needs of each individual.