THE HOLISTIC HIDEAWAY
Yogic Sleep Retreat, The Alpina, Gstaad
What to expect: A laid-back, three-day schedule combing traditional hatha yoga techniques, Ayurvedic wisdom, massages including the muscle/mind-melting Holistic and the Oriental, and Yin yoga (where lunges and gentle backbends are held for 2-5 minutes) to help rid the body of deeply held tension. Yoga nidra, a guided meditation as you lie down, takes you into a deep state of consciousness, or ‘yogic sleep’, leaving you feeling incredibly rested. There’s no strict diet, but the mini bar is discreetly cleared of all alcohol, sugar and caffeine to set you on the right path, and the Alpine Life Menu is Michelin-star delicious but healthy.
Need to know: Take your best sport-luxe workout gear and swimsuit (for serious lengths and the Aqua Gym class), plus supportive sneakers for long mountain walks. A three-night stay offers plenty of time to ease into the program and get results. The retreat runs in both The Alpina’s summer and winter seasons. Summer is more peaceful; in winter, you’ll be with the ski crowd.
The must-try: The three-hour Forest Bathing session, a guided walking meditation through beautiful Alpine mountain meadows, forests and rivers, based on the Japanese concept of shinrin yoku (forest bathing), has been shown to reduce stress levels. Also, resident therapist Antonis Sarris’s blissful flotation treatment uses sound vibrations to stimulate cells, bones and organs, causing an influx of energy to soothe the body.
The results: While it might not be a cure for insomnia, this program helps sleep patterns to return to normal, and by the second night you’re sleeping like a baby, no doubt helped by the Alpine air. thealpinagstaad.ch
THE QUICK FIX
Om Supti Ritual, Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives
What to expect: Set in a private clearing in the middle of the jungle and lit by flickering candles, the Om Supti Ritual (which translates as ‘sleep’) is a deeply relaxing, two-and-a-half-hour treatment in the open air. After a light supper, you’re picked up by buggy at 10pm from your private villa and chauffeured to the Night Spa. Seven essential oil blends tailored to the body’s seven chakras (including the throat chakra, the body’s sleep center) do their best to dispel stress as a therapist soothes your body through massage, encouraging you to sink into a state of Zen. The ritual finishes with a bath in a carved-stone tub at midnight, which prepares you for a deeper sleep.
Need to know: The resort specializes in various forms of yoga, from aqua yoga to sunrise beach yoga, so be ready to experiment – the meditation, pranayama (cleansing) and yoga nidra sessions taken by Yogi Rajanish are especially conducive to restful sleep.
The must-try: AntiGravity Yoga – the practice’s founder, Christopher Harrison, personally trained the yogis here. A 75-minute class is spent suspended upside down, limbs supported by a hammock, as you glide through the routines. The swinging and rocking instils a surprising sense of wellbeing.
The results: The quiet beauty of the island, the sense of space and exclusivity, the healthy fresh meals tailored to your Ayuvedic ‘dosha type’… All of these help to quieten the mind. The sun sets on the island at 7pm all year round, so reconfiguring your sleep patterns without distractions is effortless. fourseasons.com
THE BAD-HABIT BREAKER
The Sleep Enhancement Program, Canyon Ranch Tucson, Arizona
What to expect: A breathtaking setting on 150 acres in the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona that attracts everyone from the overtired to privacy-seeking celebrities. But don’t let its good looks fool you – this may be the most alluring of wellness retreats but it offers a results-driven, 360º approach.
Need to know: A pre-arrival phone consultation covers health and lifestyle concerns, while subsequent meetings with a team of sleep specialists (from yoga and meditation instructors to exercise physiologists and nutritionists) will determine your daily activities during the seven-day stay. Customized daily beauty treatments such as near coma-inducing deep stone massages are combined with sleep-enhancement lectures, breathing exercises and meditation sessions taken by renowned US mental health expert and author of The Mind-Body Mood Solution, Dr. Jeffrey Rossman.
The must-try: The Muscle Melt for Road Warriors massage is inspired by treatments given to battle-weary Thai soldiers, making it the perfect antidote to the guided desert hikes you will be encouraged to do daily.
The results: One-on-one time with Dr. Rossman offers a real insight into personal sleep patterns, and the techniques taught for relaxation and breathing prove invaluable long term. After an immersive week at Canyon Ranch, your sleep cycle should be transformed from erratic to a peaceful eight hours. canyonranch.com