As we are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of staying home due to the pandemic, I am Googling ways to improve my stress levels, and Google tells me the key to quality sleep is good sleep habits. The National Institutes of Health confirms that sleep problems are real and a direct result of COVID-19 stress. That’s exactly why grants are an important way to fund Covid-related issues like achieving some quality sleep.
I have discussed with my wife ways to counter the negative effects of the lockdown, specifically to avoid sleep problems. We all know that insomnia was a problem for many people before the pandemic, and now individuals have pan-somnia in addition to insomnia. So, as a couple, we have never been plagued with insomnia. Still, we agreed to maintain a daily schedule, including outdoor time, exercise, limiting naps, and missing appointments by oversleeping. The bedroom mustn’t become an office. No laptops are permitted, no food or coffee is allowed. Even watching television or talking on the telephone are verboten without a special dispensation.
Researchers have explained that the lockdown has impacted our mental health because of health worries and stress. The uncertainties and schedule disruptions can negatively impact our usual sleep patterns and our mental health. The United Nations has warned that “decades of neglect and underinvestment in addressing people’s mental health needs have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The United Nations (UN) is warning that the coronavirus presents still another menace that health officials must not overlook. The coronavirus pandemic “has the seeds of a major mental health crisis,” the UN warned in a policy briefing last week, calling for substantial investment in support services., writes Chara Malapani, MD, PhD, for Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry.
What has affected me personally was the lack of travel. I have always wandered the globe, visiting dozens and dozens of countries, and this year put the brakes on everything resulting in canceled trips and spending too much time at home.
Don’t worry, quality sleep is within reach
Looking back, ironically I had my fair share of sleep deprivation not while stuck at home but rather while on the road. When I visited Reykjavik, Iceland on the first of summer, on June 21, 2017, I experienced the midnight sun firsthand. During the summer solstice, the sun was visible in the sky for 21 hours and it never got really got dark. Luckily the hotel was equipped with metal blackout curtains, and sleep in the bright light as possible.
Years ago in a hotel overlooking the river in Ghent, Belgium, a Street Party with live music was right outside my window and the best the front desk could do was offer me earplugs.
It wasn’t only the noise — the lumpy mattress was even worse.
I fondly remember when the Westin Hotel chain introduced the Heavenly Bed; an all-white fluffy, pillow-top mattress that really raised the bar on the hotel slumber matrix. Other hotels introduced sleep-inducing amenities such as a pillow menu and Icelandic inspired blackout curtains.
During the pandemic, hotel guests are so stressed out, worrying about masks and cleaning protocols that getting a good night of quality sleep can be affected. I was pleased to find that New York hotels are tackling this sleep issue head-on.
The Benjamin Hotel in midtown has created sleep-friendly, Sleep Suites. Once I can travel again I would love to book one of these rooms. The suite is designed with aromatherapy oils, a pillow menu, natural fiber linen sheets, and white noise machines.
The Lotto New York Place, also located in Manhattan, has gone even further in sleep friendly rooms. The two- bedroom suite, Hastens Ultimate Sleep Suite includes a $200,000 Vividus king bed made by the Swedish company Hastens. According to Sanaja Tegeltija, the global public relations professional for the Hastens company, “all Hastens products are made with natural materials, because they promote airflow.” This top of line mattress is made of cotton, wool, flax and horsehair and the wood is pine. It includes sleep masks, pajamas and slippers.
Guests of the Lotto New York Palace Ultimate Sleep Suite also have access to tea service at bedtime instead of a chocolate on the pillow, that will only give you an unwanted sugar high. The Equinox Hotel, also located in The Big Apple has taken sleep seriously. This hotel has soundproofing in their guest rooms, blackout blinds, and natural fiber mattresses made of layers of coconut fiber, cactus, and horsehair. Hotels have come along way from simply leaving the light on, for you.
Grants for hotels are also available during the pandemic
Hotels in Maryland are eligible for two Covid-related grants:
Jake Tewel is a graduate of YU and and holds a university Master’s degree. Jake is a retired wine seller and caterer, a best friend, great neighbor, your go-to travel person, father, grandfather, and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart-healthy nutrition, exercise, and travel.