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Sleep tourism is really a thing, and these are the best places for it

These are the sleep tourism hot spots

DeltaPark Vitalresort in Switzerland
DeltaPark Vitalresort, Switzerland DeltaPark Vitalresort

Getting a full night’s sleep leaves you feeling renewed and ready. With your batteries charged, you can focus, thrive, and make the most of your day. But the opposite’s true when you don’t get adequate rest.

When you’re groggy and worn out, everyday tasks are a test of endurance instead of routine work. It’s a challenge to survive the day, and your performance suffers, too. Being tired is a drag. 

Because of that, there’s a new travel trend known as sleep tourism. In this unique category, travelers visit destinations designed for maximum rest, a serene stay, and a feeling of renewal. Recently, sleep and bedding care experts Purecare rated the top sleep-friendly cities in the world — here’s what they found. 

Sleep tourism: traveling to restore your energy

Hotel Figueroa Rest and Recovery Suite
Hotel Figueroa, Los Angeles, California Hotel Figueroa

Typically, a vacation conjures images of exploration and adventure. Maybe you’re visiting the French Alps to ski in the high alpine. You could be on a tour of Italy to experience world-class cuisine and historical sites. But on the contrary, sleep tourism encourages rest and relaxation, letting you be fully human, and allow yourself time to recover. That’s more important than ever in the fast-paced modern world.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults need seven-plus hours of sleep per night, but one in three people don’t get enough. Besides causing a weary feeling, lack of rest can cause chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and obesity. Not good.

But more and more Americans realize the importance of a full night’s rest, resulting in the emergence of sleep tourism. Post-pandemic, there’s been a steady rise in this health-focused travel category. It’s expected to grow by 8%, or $400 billion, from 2023 to 2028. 

Across the globe, hotels offer curated settings with a focus on serenity and comfort. One example is the Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles. Its R&R suite includes a custom Pluto Pillow, Molekule air purifiers, a temperature-regulated Eight Sleep mattress, and a Loftie Lamp that simulates the sunrise. Nice.

The top sleep tourism destinations in the world

Bad Ragaz Resort Spa Suite
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

If you’re intrigued by sleep tourism but don’t know where to start, Purecare did the work for you, compiling a list of the finest rest-encouraging venues. The study considered cities on lists for “relaxing”,  “tranquil”, or “for a good night’s sleep”, then analyzed sleep amenities, pollution scores, and pressure to sight see. Here’s what they found.

The top 10 cities for a sleep-focused vacation in 2024 (final score in parentheses):

  1. Bern, Switzerland (10.0)
  2. Luxembourg, Luxembourg (9.20)
  3. Tallinn, Estonia (8.79)
  4. Madison, Wisconsin (8.78)
  5. Vienna, Austria (8.58)
  6. Clearwater, Florida (8.53)
  7. Portofino, Italy (8.21)
  8. Zurich, Switzerland (8.12)
  9. Reykjavik, Iceland (8.05)
  10. Lausanne, Switzerland (8.04)

Bern, Switzerland, impressed with its array of wellness hotels and spa resorts, set amongst mountain vistas and modern architecture. The top American entry, Madison, Wisconsin, had a lofty “total sleep hygiene” score, with hotels likely to include air purifiers, blackout shares, and fitness centers. Portofino, Italy, lets visitors catch up on rest while taking in the aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean and enjoying flavorful, classic cuisine.

So, where would we go? First, we’d explore Verbier, Switzerland’s world-class freeride terrain, with ragged peaks and harrowing lines that challenge even the finest skiers and snowboarders. After a week of testing our limits, we’d visit Zurich and recuperate at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, with thermal spring-fed bathing pools, a NEWYOU Method wellness routine, and stunning alpine surroundings.

Sleep tourism helps you recharge and renew. This growing niche flips the script on traditional travel, encouraging peace and solace instead of activity and adventure. Now, it’s a matter of perusing destinations and picking where you want to go. Ready, set, relax. 

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Mark Reif
Mark Reif is a writer from Stowe, Vermont. During the winter, he works as a snowboard coach and rides more than 100 days. The…
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