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The Best New Trend in Wellness: Sleep Retreats

These hotels and spas are prepared to demonstrate that improving your physical and mental health is so easy, you could do it in your sleep.
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Getting enough sleep can be hard work. According to the American Sleep Association, sleep disorders — including insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy — "affect 1 in 3 people at some stage in their lives." However, even for those who don't suffer from a diagnosable disorder, it's still pretty hard to carve out the time for the recommended 7-9 hours of snooze time a night. Everything from lumpy mattresses to noisy neighbors can disrupt slumber. Plus, there's often a weird sense of pride that comes along with forgoing sleep for productivity: Undereye bags are worn as badges of honor — they serve as proof that we are far too busy to do something as unproductive as sleep.

But all those late or restless nights may start to take a toll on the body. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep deficiency is associated with "a growing number of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers." Yikes.

Now, a new trend in wellness is focused on helping people journey to dreamland. Many hotels and spas have begun to offer retreats and packages designed to support guests in the quest to get a little more shuteye. Forget about simply counting sheep, these retreats and packages go the extra mile to help the body rest and repair. Keep reading for more details on some of the — please excuse the pun — dreamiest sleep retreats from around the world.

Image via kokouu/Getty

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The Benjamin, Manhattan, NY
This New York City landmark is taking on the challenge of bringing rest to the city that never sleeps. Led by sleep medicine expert Dr. Rebecca Robbins, professor of sleep medicine at Cornell and co-author of "Sleep for Success," The Benjamin's Rest & Renew program seeks to provide guests with solutions and tools to help them get the perfect night's sleep. Some of the amenities of the program include:

· A pillow menu, with options including everything from anti-snore pillows to water-filled pillows, as well as body cushions and Swedish memory foam.
· On-demand meditation: Created in partnership with The Path, this program is designed to help guests slow down mentally and physically.
· Sleep masks, earplugs, blackout curtains, noise machines, and a lullaby music library, all provided to help guests fall — and stay — asleep.
· 24/7 sleep team: a specialized concierge team trained by Robbins to provide advice and answer all sleep-related questions.

Image via @thebenjaminhotel

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Mountain Trek Retreat & Health Spa, British Columbia, Canada
Mountain Trek offers an all-inclusive luxury retreat that utilizes its mountainous location to encourage guests to restore themselves by reconnecting with nature. Their recipe for deep sleep is comprised of long hikes in the woods, nutritious meals, and therapeutic massages in the retreat's spa. The retreat is designed to improve your sleep quality by essentially replacing screen time with outdoors time (which we could all use sometimes).

Each retreat is a week long, with a limited maximum of 16 guests per week. Guests are invited to enjoy everything from daily guided fitness hikes to relaxing amenities such as massages and yoga classes. There's even an organic menu (designed to fit your food preferences, of course), as well as various health and lifestyle workshops.

Image via @mountaintrek

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Six Senses Douro Valley, Quinta de Vale Abraão, Portugal
The Six Senses Douro Valley offers a Yogic Sleep program which combines yoga, stretching and pranayama (aka breath regulation). The program also incorporates spa treatments to fully soothe the mind and body. To start off, the spa provides each guest with a sleep journal to record their thoughts and clear their minds.

Stays can be booked in 3, 5, 7, or 10 night increments, and includes lots of additional amenities, such as personalized training and yoga, various types of massage and even consultations and spa treatments.

Image via @sixsensesdourovalley

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Swissôtel Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Ahead of the curve, the Swissôtel Berlin began offering its DeepSleep Package in 2012. For an extra fee, guests of the Swissôtel Berlin can go on a sensorial journey to enhance energy and sleep effectiveness. Travel Pulse reports that the hotel partnered with sleep consultant Dr. Michael Feld to create this program as a part of the Chrono-Health Concept. Some steps of the program include:

· Bright light session: guests sit for 30 minutes in front of a 10,000 lux lamp, meant to reset the body's internal clock. Another option is to use a portable light headset designed by Valkee, which shoots beams of light into the head through the ears (yes, really).
· Aromatherapy: reenergize with lemongrass essences and citrus oils.
· Thin air breathing session: spend 30 minutes breathing in specially-generated air meant to mimic the thinness of mountain air. According once again to Travel Pulse, the inhalation of thin air releases nitrogen monoxide into the bloodstream, which widens the blood vessels. The benefit of this is to lower blood pressure, which can in lead to relaxation and deeper sleep.

Image via @swissotelsresorts

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