Can you imagine three nights of restorative, nourishing sleep with nowhere to go in the morning?
A weekend devoted to your ultimate self-care, no people, no problems. According to the Better Sleep Council, adults between the ages of 19-55 need at least eight hours of sleep to give the body enough time to restore and repair. I had never heard of a “sleep vacation” until a CEO on a business trip told me about theirs. I asked him for the details—who do I call, how do I set one up, what do I do? I was met with a smile. “You do nothing.”
When I told a few people why I’d be gone for the weekend, I thought I’d get lots of “brilliant idea!” responses. They thought I was lying. They prodded me for the real truth of why I’d be holed up alone in a sexy NYC hotel for three nights and four days. One friend tried to convince me to do deplorable things like meet them for brunch. I. Did. Nothing.
Logged 7 hours, plus 2-hour nap
I was looking for an executive experience with all the bells and whistles. If not, I could have stayed home. Tucked in the middle of crowds and chaos, the Westin Times Square is like an island of its own, a calm one. Upon check in, and with the help of the front desk manager, Kenny Imafidon, I was upgraded from a deluxe room to a junior suite that includes a separate living room area. I settled into my room around 7 pm with a box of sushi and a bottle of wine. Things only got better from there. Shawn Clark, another front desk manager, knew my name before I could even introduce myself. He made sure I got my in-flight Heavenly blanket (only available in November during National Sleep Comfort Month), which is part of the Westin’s new Sleep Well package and answered my last minute questions.
Westin’s Sleep Well package includes the following sent to me via email:
A nightly credit for the Westin Sleep Well Menu, which provides a curated selection of sleep-enhancing, nutritious superfoods developed in partnership with SuperFoodsRx and available through in-room dining.
A $100 credit to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment, tailored to soothe you into a good night’s sleep, via Westin’s In-Room Spa offering or at the hotel’s spa where available.
The brand’s new bedside amenity, Sleep Well Lavender Balm, infused with the essential oils of lavender and chamomile and designed to ease tension and foster sound sleep.
When I walked in my room, I was greeted by a decadent display of colorful macaroons, deliciously plump currants, and chocolate covered fruit, with a crispy, green apple, and a personal note from General Manager Sean Verney. It was exactly what I needed after a stressful day, and pushing around heavy bags. Those macaroons didn’t stand a chance.
I barely made it past 10pm. The warmth and soothing feel of the room, and wine lulled me to sleep a lot faster than I wanted. My Kindle didn’t even get any action that night. My body was officially sleep-deprived and it wanted the sleep vacation to start now.
Logged 8 hours, plus 2-hour nap
I picked up some burgers from Shake Shack and headed to sleep. Nothing feels more luxurious than a good night rest. Finally, I could nestle in with my Kindle. However, I didn’t last past 12:30 am.
Logged 8.5 hours, no nap
Sleep vacation, accomplished. A sort of mental transition takes place on the last day, as I munch on a delicious pancake and bacon breakfast, and start getting some work done to help ground me. But there was no rush; the Sleep Well package comes with a late checkout, at 3 pm. I extended mine to 4 pm.
When I arrived home, I fell asleep around 9:30 pm. A little earlier than normal, but I felt well rested. Almost like I reset my body again to look forward to sleep as a luxury, not a necessity.
Things To Do When You Take A Sleep Vacation
Bring items from home
If you want to save on room service or avoid people interaction, bring your favorite items. Bring snacks, favorite scents, and plenty of water. Your body is spending hours without fluids that can lead to dehydration. But don’t bring your blanket. The Westin Heavenly in-flight blanket fits all your couch-potato needs.
Don’t do anything
If you have the extra bucks, splurge on room service, and nighttime indulgences. The $10 credit from the Sleep Well menu is real.
Bring a blank notebook
They say the best ideas emerge when you are most relaxed. I went through myriad feelings that weekend of glee, joy, freedom, and worry that I wrote down. Do this, and your sleep vacation can turn into a personal retreat. But don’t get too heavy with this. Remember, you want to relax, not plot and problem solve.
What I would change:
The blackout curtains are a little thin. I could still tell if it was night or day. However, the Westin Sleep Well mask (only available in November) is the cure to this. It is silky and has a cooling effect on the eyes that kept me knocked out way past sunrise.
For more on the Westin Sleep Well Package, check it out here. The room I stayed in was 4105. Great views, high floor.
Maryann Reid is the Digital Managing Editor of Black Enterprise magazine and author published by St. Martins Press. Her work has been featured in Glamour, USA Today, Newsweek, CNN.com, and more. Follow her on Twitter @realalphanista.