Hospitality company Sofitel has unveiled a new programme designed to improve guests’ sleep quality, drawing on the results of a recent scientific study.

The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy, analysed the sleep patterns of travellers and the factors affecting their slumber, particularly what is known as the “first-night effect” experienced in unfamiliar environments.

“This study was invaluable for Sofitel because it gave us key data on our guests’ sleep. In late 2023, we started brainstorming on how we could apply the findings to our hotels across the world,” said Nicolas Gronier, vice-president of global marketing, in a statement.

“We sought to give all our hotels clear guidelines and the opportunity to revamp their rooms and suites, to elevate the experience of all our travellers in the most personalised way possible.” 

Combating the First Night Effect

The study found that unfamiliar surroundings disrupt sleep, with the brain’s left hemisphere remaining more active. This is a particular challenge for Sofitel, as nearly half of its guests stay for only one night.

To address this, researchers created a specially designed room at the Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe. The room incorporated elements known to promote sleep, such as complete darkness, a temperature of 19°C (66°F), and sound and odour neutralisation.

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Participants’ sleep was monitored using sensors to measure sleep duration, depth, regularity, interruptions, time to fall asleep and wake-up patterns.

Improved sleep quality

The results were positive. Guests in the Sofitel room experienced an average 13.7% improvement in sleep quality compared to sleeping at home. They slept 65 minutes longer on average and exhibited slower respiratory rates, indicating deeper sleep.

Additionally, 32% of participants woke up after 8am, and 64% fell asleep within 30 minutes.

A new sleep experience

Building on this research, Sofitel is launching The Art of Sleep, a comprehensive sleep ritual programme rolling out across all its hotels from July 2024. The programme incorporates elements proven to promote sleep, including:

  • Light meals: Menus designed to aid sleep onset.
  • Bespoke treatments: Relaxation treatments specifically chosen to enhance sleep.
  • Curated playlists: Playlists featuring calming music to promote a peaceful environment.
  • Precise adjustments: Fine-tuned lighting and temperature controls to optimise the sleep experience.

These new rituals complement Sofitel’s existing sleep offerings, such as the renowned Sofitel MyBed programme with its personalised pillow menu and pre-bedtime herbal tea service.

By combining scientific insights with its signature hospitality, Sofitel aims to redefine the in-hotel sleep experience for travellers seeking a truly restorative night’s rest.