Hotels sell elusive dream of a good night's sleep

Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:01am EST
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Feeling like all you want for Christmas is a decent night's sleep?

If that gift does not come at home, hotels across the United States are looking to profit from the sleep deficit this holiday season by offering sleep packages to a growing population of "wired and tired" guests.

"We've become a nation of walking zombies. We don't value sleep. We treat it as a luxury," said Dr. James Maas, a psychologist and sleep expert who coined the phrase "power nap."

About two-thirds of Americans say they do not get enough sleep during the week, with most saying they need 7.5 hours to feel their best, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll, which found blinking lights from pervasive use of electronics are exacerbating this problem.

Hotels in big cities and quiet deserts alike have woken up to the trend and are dimming lights, removing digital clocks in rooms, hiring sleep concierges, offering meditation, pillow menus and relaxation massages. Guests might even find themselves hooked up to an intravenous infusion.

In a crowded hotel market such as Manhattan, The Benjamin wants to be known for guaranteeing a good night's sleep. It recently hired sleep consultant Rebecca Robbins, who co-authored "Sleep for Success!," with Maas to oversee the sleep program, train staff in sleep care and consult guests.

The hotel has removed digital clocks from rooms, offers guests pillows with names like "Swedish Memory" and helps jet-lagged guests power nap.

That level of dedication keeps California fundraiser Armando Zumaya coming back to The Benjamin even if there is a bit of noise in the Midtown location.   Continued...