Get a sweet slumber

Will a bedroom with womb-like conditions enhance the quality of one’s sleep? Experts comment

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Zed Rooms in London includes a ‘Woom’, a bedroom that aims to match the womb’s sense of safety with a cocoon-like bed to enable one to sleep like a baby

Who doesn’t want to sleep like a baby? Many of us, even after a long day can’t wait to hit the sack due to exhaustion. But when we do so, often we end up tossing and turning in bed thus, experiencing poor quality of sleep. People who travel often for work, usually face the problem of falling asleep in a new surrounding. To tackle this problem, a boutique hotel in London, UK, has come up with rooms modelled on the womb to help its patrons get good quality sleep. Read on to know more...

Zed Rooms

Each serviced apartment at the Zed Rooms, located in the Shoreditch area of the capital city, includes the ‘Woom’, a bedroom that aims to match the womb’s sense of safety with a cocoon-like bed to enable one to sleep like a baby. The goal here is to deal with the “first-night effect”, when half of the brain stays alert in unfamiliar environment, resulting in a poor night’s rest. 

These Zed Rooms hope to deliver REM-rich sleep, which is said to be of the best kind by creating an environment that will help you to nod off as soon as you arrive. Each apartment also has a ‘Loom’ room, with a four-poster bed draped in “ethereal” fabrics, to promote dreams. Both these rooms come with very comfortable mattress, temperature-regulating pillows and duvets. To help fast track the deep-sleep experience, the rooms have muted lighting, blackout blinds and sound-absorbing curtains. And to soothe the olfactory senses, there’s sleep essential-oil fragrances too.

The designers say the rooms were inspired by the final few weeks of pregnancy, when a baby increases its REM sleep, getting an average of 12 hours a day. So they feature relaxing colour schemes, air-cleansing plants, to help eliminate toxins and high-end electronics to keep body clocks in sync. The hotel also caters a “sleep menu” featuring dishes rich in serotonin, melatonin and tryptophan. 

So, if you’re planning to visit London soon, you might be tempted to give these cool-sounding and looking rooms a try. But if you still have doubts on the whole concept, we asked experts for their take on it.

Expert speak

This type of environment might enhance sleep efficiency, and aid in sleeping better. Since a womb creates a warm, safe and secure environment, it will help alleviate anxiety and stress, opines Dr Anamika Rathore, consultant ENT, sleep apnoea, endoscopic sinus surgeon, Bhatia, Breach Candy and Bombay Hospital. She adds that REM Sleep is extremely important especially in children, as it’s restorative sleep, required for optimum functioning of the body. It includes creative and visual aspects. A patient with depression or narcolepsy might have less REM sleep. So any principle based on enhancing this stage of sleep might be beneficial for such people.

On the other hand, Dr Lancelot Pinto, consultant respirologist and sleep specialist, P D Hinduja Hospital, says, “I am not sure that the claim of ensuring a REM-rich sleep is backed by any scientific evidence. However, creating a noise-free ambiance with measures designed to ensure relaxation have been shown to improve sleep quality, and are likely to aid sleep.”

Womb-like conditions

How does sleeping in a womb-like conditions enhance one’s sleep quality? What’s the connection? Dr Pinto says that a womb is a place where external sounds are muffled, movements are cushioned and one is protected from the turmoil of sensory stimuli that the external world imposes in a modern day environment. By analogy, one would therefore assume that these conditions are best suited to relaxation, a sine qua non (a must) for good quality sleep. However, analogy alone does not suffice to recommend a measure, the claims need to be backed by scientific evidence.

Getting quality sleep

If you’re not going to be visiting London anytime in the near future, we asked experts on how you can recreate an environment conducive to sound sleep. Dr Rathore advises the following: At home, first and foremost, one should be off any kind of gadgets, at least one hour prior to sleeping. These devices cause a lot of mental stimulation and hence, may lead to sleep deprivation. Lights should be dim, preferable to read a book, to avoid beverages like tea or coffee, avoid heavy exercise near sleeping time. Temperature in the room should be optimum and above all mind should be at peace and rest. A bit of meditation might be of help.

Blackout curtains, soundproofing one’s bedroom, investing in a comfortable bed and pillows, not having a television in the bedroom and leaving all backlit devices outside, wearing comfortable light clothing to bed are some of the measures that have been proven to create the right milieu to facilitate a good night’s sleep, adds Dr Pinto.

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