NEWS

Madison and area are good places for a sleepcation – Isthmus


Sleep deprivation accurately describes the last decade (or two) of my life. Most days, I am functioning on about five hours of sleep. Coffee changed from an occasional treat to a daily necessity. My busy schedule is now the primary justification for my monthly sleep excursions.

Turns out I am not the only person who is taking trips to get a good night’s rest. Sleep tourism is now a legit travel trend — one that is estimated will be worth $400 billion by 2030. A recent study by wellness brand Purecare ranked Madison as the fourth best destination in the world — if sleeping well is your main objective on your getaway. Madison was also “the only city in the United States to secure a spot on the top 10 list for best sleep tourism destinations,’’ in addition to being listed as the “Best City for Sleep Hygiene Hotel Amenities.” 

Sleep hygiene, as defined by the National Library of Medicine, is “a set of behavioral and environmental recommendations intended to promote healthy sleep, and was originally developed for use in the treatment of mild to moderate insomnia.” 

Sleep can be improved by an array of factors: blackout curtains, air purifiers and proximity to green space. Taking advantage of hotel amenities such as fitness centers and spas during the day can also increase the likelihood of sleeping soundly throughout one’s stay at night. 

This may explain why luxe accommodations like The Edgewater in Madison and The Pfister in Milwaukee never go out of style despite the emergence of smaller boutique hotels. Scenic lake views that stretch for miles give Edgewater guests plenty of “eye candy,” particularly at sunrise or sunset for mindful moments. 

The Pfister provides serene privacy even in the middle of an urban hub. There’s no need to step back outside post-arrival. You can interact with as many, or as few, people as you desire within its lavish walls. If alone time is how you replenish, take advantage of the hotel’s club lounge — for an extra fee guests can access this private room that serves hot breakfast as well as refreshments throughout the day, including drinks, hors d’oeuvres and desserts at night, and is intended for quiet working or relaxing. Multiple other dining options are also onsite, meaning morning lattes and late night snacks are all accessible on the ground floor or via room service. And if you are travelling with a pet and/or child in tow, the hotel’s concierge can provide any assistance you might need. Run out of poop bags? Need another baby toy? These will be delivered to your room upon request, ensuring nap time remains uninterrupted.

Being surrounded by trees and green is also effective at inducing slumber. Traveling alone can also be a relaxer. Anaway Place in Richland Center has six different private cabins set on 110 acres. The Little House, Glass House and Meadow House provide sublime comfort for solo travelers, plus have easy access to outdoor activities like birdwatching, fishing and cycling. I opted for a meditative stroll at sunset along the one-mile walking trail that weaves through the property. This was instrumental in helping me decompress before bedtime. And that bed had the most plush mattress I’ve slept on in months.

The Mill boutique hotel in Waunakee has an intimate and upscale aesthetic. The most pleasant surprise is how well the rooms are soundproofed — there’s no sign of the steady stream of customers flowing in and out of the Grace Coffee Shop on ground level. Having a cafe directly ownstairs was a perk this not-a-morning person appreciated — I could sleep in as late as I wanted, then still get a cortado and brunch until mid-afternoon. 

Another sleep-inducing getaway in a rural location is Owl Ridge Cabin. On the outskirts of Wausau, this posh chalet is nestled in a grove full of local wildlife. An ideal excuse to turn off sleep apps upon arrival — allowing a cornucopia of real nature sounds to be each night’s lullaby. Also seize the opportunity to soothe the body as much as the mind by using the steam room function in the stand-alone, glass-enclosed shower. Yes; it truly is as divine, and restorative, as it sounds.

I still plan to keep periodically packing my bags to catch a few winks away from my own house as time (and budget) permits. Because sleep tourism is not a fad; it is an accessible antidote to the grind of modern life.




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