Night Moves

Sleep is a magic bullet for many things and can impact countless aspects of our health. Still, recent stats claim that as many as 40 million people in the U.S. have chronic sleep disorders, which presents spas with a unique opportunity to help and is resulting in a variety of therapies targeted to do so. “Rest allows the body to relax, detoxify, and regain its strength and helps the mind to rest and assimilate the many experiences accumulated during the day,” says Barbara Gavazzoli, international director of communication and education for Comfort Zone. “Modern society, with its frenetic pace, irregular routines, commuting, frequent traveling, eating on the run, and tight deadlines, gives rise to sleep disorders and even insomnia.”

It should come as no surprise that a lack of sleep can have significant negative effects, among them increased signs of aging along with more serious chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes, and spas are stepping in. This can be as simple as incorporating ingredients that induce sleep and relaxation, like chamomile, lavender, or valerian, into services. Other options are more all encompassing. The skincare company Longeva, for example, recently launched a sleep wellness initiative called Project Z. This is a curated, comprehensive, and customizable program that includes AromaSleep Therapy skincare products, sleep music therapy, workshops and seminars, and treatments, all designed to help break the cycle of sleeplessness. Comfort Zone, meanwhile, recently launched the Tranquillity Pro-Sleep Massage. Based on research from the company’s scientific committee, it involves Kerala Ayurveda-inspired slow, gentle massage movements; soft brushes; a blend of sweet orange, damascene rose, and cedarwood essential oils; and a bespoke Tranquillity Sound, which involves both the guest and the therapist in a mind-body stress-release journey, a key condition for a physiological rebalance and deep sound sleep. Susan Harmsworth, founder and chairman of ESPA, says she is also noting more spas offering guided meditation, yoga, breathing, and mindfulness services; sleep pods; and specialized relaxation rooms with soft music and dim lighting to encourage clients to “switch off.”

Spas are also taking advantage of the skincare benefits of sleep by offering products designed to work at night. “I think this is a hot topic, as research shows evidence that a lack of sleep leads to signs of aging and that the biology of the skin is affected by the time of day or night,” says Harmsworth. “It has also shown that the biology of the skin can change at night and during sleep.” She says that studies have shown that during the day, the skin’s processes are switched to optimize protection, and during the night they switch to repair. “This shows why nighttime products are so beneficial, working with the skin’s repair systems,” says Harmsworth.

Spas that help clients sleep and provide them with products that work well at night are poised to take best advantage of this trend. “Bottom line, there are tens of millions of people in America who are sleep deprived, and for them, no amount or kind of skincare alone will cure the damage of poor sleep to the skin,” says Robert Michael deStefano, cofounder and director of wellness for Longeva. “Exhausted is never anyone’s best look.”