Some problems in life can be easily solved. If you have a toothache, you see a dentist. If your job is sucking the life from you, visit a careers counsellor. But if you can’t sleep, the solution is perhaps a little more complicated.
Enter the sleep retreat. Much like how a yoga retreat allows you to work on your downward dog, and a meditation retreat helps to quell mid-mindfulness fidgeting, sleep retreats are an opportunity to tackle any snooze-related issues you might not have the time or tools to address during regular life. They help participants switch off from technology, work and social pressures, and focus not only on getting a few good nights of rest away from home, but also on building healthy sleep habits to take back to the hustle of everyday life.
Despite sleep taking up nearly a third of our lives, few of us think to spend time or money on improving the quality of our shut-eye. In August 2017 the Sleep Health Foundation found that nearly 40 per cent of Australian adults experience inadequate sleep. And lack of sleep doesn’t just cause under-eye bags – getting fewer than 40 winks can affect learning and decision-making, and increase the risk of mental and physical illness.
The Goodnight Co – a company created to “help the world fall back in love with sleep” – is running its first sleep retreat, at picturesque Springfield Farm in Bowral, this March. Australian mums Danielle Knight and Shea Morrison launched the online store in early 2015, selling silk pillowcases and masks, essential oils, diffusers and supplements to help weary individuals get the rest they need.
"We often get stuck in the daily routine,” says Morrison. “[It] is good to break the habit by going away and resetting. Guests will be able to take advantage of having their own naturopath on hand for four days.” Clinical naturopath Polly Rea hosts the retreat and encourages guests to uncover why they might have trouble sleeping with the goal of designing a new sleep ritual.
In addition to personalised consultations with Rea, the program also features a session on the relationship between diet and sleep, yin yoga classes, mindfulness workshops and, most importantly, luxurious accommodation for three nights. The intimate retreat is limited to 10 places and is fully catered with local and organic produce. The hosts recommend gradually reducing their intake of caffeine, energy drinks, soft drinks and foods high in sugar in the week prior, because they will all be limited over the weekend.
The retreat is designed to provide attendees with a “toolkit” of solutions they can use for better sleep once they’re back home. “For some it requires making only some small adjustments, while others might require more detailed focus, but the key is consistency," says Morrison.
The Goodnight Co’s first sleep retreat runs from March 7 to 10, 2019 at Springfield Farm, Bowral. Prices start from $1500 per person.