I was recently invited by Ibis to visit their brand new Ibis Hotel in Shepherds Bush to discover how to get a better night’s sleep. Tweeting with the hash tag #sleepwellatibis, myself and a group of bloggers would get try out the new “Sweet bed by Ibis”, which is designed to provide an optimum night’s sleep. Not only would we get to test out their brand new beds; we’d also have the opportunity to learn lots of sleeping tips from sleep expert Sammy Margo, who is author of The Good Sleep Guide.
I absolutely love sleep and on the whole I think I sleep pretty well. I can sleep on planes, trains and buses fairly easily as long as I have a window to lean against. I don’t have much trouble getting to sleep, and when I do fall into a deep slumber, I can sleep for hours and hours. Where my problem lies is that I’m self-employed, so I spend a lot of time looking at my computer screen. Sometimes it gets to 3,4,5 even 6am in the morning and I haven’t gone to sleep. It’s a bad habit which means I end up sleeping in till late, which puts me in a different time zone altogether. I’m very nocturnal, which means when I’m travelling I often barely get any sleep because I have to be awake to check out of my accommodation or meet for a tour.
As a traveller I was intrigued- how could I combat jetlag and sleep better away from home? I’m off on a trip to Asia at the end of November- how can I adjust to my body to different time zones?
Hopefully at Ibis, I would find some answers to my questions. When I checked into my hotel room I was greeted by this fantastic new “Sweet Bed by Ibis”. For ten months, Accor’s in-house team has worked with external specialists (researchers, doctors and sociologists) to come up with the ideal bed for its guests. It’s the first time a hotel group has designed an entire bed, including a customized wood bed frame pallet, and as you can see, it looks pretty comfy. By the end of October, 66,000 beds will be switched to this new bed concept worldwide.
The open-plan ground floor of the Shepherds Bush Ibis is very modern, with bold colours and monotone ‘book shelf’ wallpaper. Despite being an economy hotel option, this new Ibis hotel looks rather chic. There’s a touch-screen concierge system in the reception that allows you to view London maps and other local information, as well as a wide selection of newspapers and magazines. I particularly liked the “Tweet Art” in the dining area, where the latest Twitter news is displayed on a huge black wall.
The day started with tea and coffee downstairs in the dining area, followed by a brief tour of the hotel. Then came everyone’s favourite time…food time! We were served a selection of the food on offer in the hotel restaurant, including olives, antipasto, battered prawns, sandwiches, salads and pitta breads with dips and crudités. I couldn’t help going back for seconds…
After lunch our fabulous sleep guru Sammy Margo gave us lots of tips on how to sleep well. For instance, did you know that the optimum color for a bedroom is pale green? Your ideal room should also be kept cool, uncluttered and gadget-free. I know I make the mistake of using my bed as my work office, so I associate my bed with both work and sleep, but really it’s very important to separate the two. Sammy advises having a cut-off time when it comes to gadgets and laptops, and to put your smart phone on the other side of the room so you’re not tempted to reach over and send a quick Tweet!
Sammy also gave us tips on how to buy a mattress, what to wear to bed, and how to deal with sleeping differences when sharing your bed with your partner. Winding down in the evening is very important, and the ideal ‘snooze foods’ are things like bananas, chamomile, warm milk, lettuce, marmite (love it!), honey, almonds, oatmeal and Turkey. No wonder we’re all sleepy after Christmas dinner!
Here’s a picture of Sammy demonstrating how to sleep in the foetal position according to your body shape:
From reading Sammy’s book, The Good Sleep Guide, I learnt some useful information for combating jetlag, which will be useful for my next trip to Southeast Asia at the beginning of November:
- Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier 3-5 days before you leave.
- Expose yourself to sunlight.
- A day or two before leaving, set your watch to the destination’s time zone.
- Try to eat your meals at the destination times.
- When you arrive at your destination, don’t be tempted to take a nap. Push yourself until the end of the day so you’ll feel exhausted.
When you arrive at a hotel abroad, you should also follow these tips:
- Try to ask for a room that is Eastern or Southern facing.
- Set the temperature of the room to 18 degrees Celsius.
- Travel with bespoke ear plugs to block out noise.
- Carry a night light so you don’t have to turn on bright lights when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night
- Shut the door to the en-suite bathroom so noise/light doesn’t filter into the room.
- Use your laptop at a desk, not in bed with you.
After the group session, Sammy met with us one-on-one to give us tips on how to position ourselves better for a good night’s sleep. I like to sleep in the foetal position, so Sammy suggested I put a pillow between my legs so that my body is nice and aligned. There’s a quick video of it below.
To help induce a good night’s sleep at Ibis, we were given these fabulous goodies, including cute pink stripy bed socks, a furry hot water bottle, a mud mask and a pamphlet called “The Good Sleep Guide: Escape from a Waking Nightmare”.
So next came the big test. After an afternoon spent shopping at the nearby Westfield shopping centre, and a fantastic meal at Jamie’s Italian, we all ventured back to the hotel. Would we really sleep well at Ibis? Armed with the new tips Sammy had taught me, I proceeded to get ready for bed. Apparently bed socks are IN- they stop your feet getting cold during the night- so I popped them on. I closed the blinds, put my smart phone on the other side of the room, and got under the covers of my lovely new bed.
The result? The bed was indeed very comfortable, and I slept right the way through until breakfast time. I loved my bed so much I even went back to bed for a nap after I’d filled my stomach with sausages, baked beans and eggs! This is my face when I woke up in the morning, can you tell I got a good night’s sleep?