Healthy Hotels Program Presents New Sleep Hygiene Research Which Redefines Hotel Sleep Quality Factors

Research reveals the mostly overlooked determinants of hotel sleep quality.

Gold Coast, Australia, December 11, 2013 --( New sleep research shows that temperature affects hotel guest sleep quality more than noise or light, whilst sleeping with a partner could reduce sleep quality by 50 per cent.

A recent study released by Central Queensland University Lecturer and Healthy Hotels Program advisory board member Darryl O’Brien, has combined local and international research to dispel numerous myths in relation to the primary factors which determine sleep quality.

Darryl O’Brien lectures in building surveying and built environment engineering at central Queensland University in Rockhampton. The Healthy Hotels Program operates the Healthy Hotels Certification and provides guidelines on indoor environment management to the tourism industry.

Sleep quality is not only a critical component of the guest experience, it is a major economic factor in Australia. According to a collaborative study produced by Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Access Economics in Canberra and the Department of Thoracic Medicine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, sleep disorders cost Australia $7.49bn every year. This includes categories of direct health costs, work related injuries and lost productivity.

It has long been assumed that noise above a certain level or excessive light, are the main factors for sleep disturbance, however according to the latest research, this is not necessarily true.

“In our most recent analysis, we have found that microclimatic factors such as the individual’s thermal comfort (temperature) are the main precursors to the potential for sleep disturbance,” said Mr O’brien.

The research explains that after falling asleep, body temperature decreases and core temperature stabilisation must occur to ensure slow wave sleep (the deepest stage of the sleep cycles) can occur as each sleep cycle takes place. In the latest research, people exposed to higher temperatures or temperature increases were most likely to experience reduced sleep quality with 25% of people from one study reporting direct disturbance of sleep due to high indoor temperature.

In order to maintain the optimum sleep and remain the most resistant to disturbance from noise or light, the bed climate (temperature in the bed) should be between 32-34 degrees, which is comparable to a room temperature of between 15-22 degrees.

Another often misunderstood component in sleep quality and overall health is light. The latest research has confirmed that exposure to daylight or excessive artificial night light may trigger an involuntary reduction in melatonin secretions (the hormone which helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles) which can cause sleeplessness and premature awakening, thus affirming that the darker the environment for sleep the better. This discovery also supports the theory that avoiding artificial light from televisions and devices such as tablets and mobile phones an hour before bed is supportive of better sleep. Conversely, morning sunlight has been found to increase brain serotonin levels (the hormone which assists in mood regulation) elevating mood, vitality and core body temperature.

The research revealed air quality as being a factor in sleep quality. Separate to guests opening guestroom windows where possible to allow fresh air exchange, it is largely within the control of the property operator to ensure HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) systems are providing sufficient air exchange.

In other research conducted by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, one study showed that couples who shared a bed experienced 50 per cent more sleep disturbances than couples who slept separately. Dr Stanley who oversaw the research advises couples to consider sleeping separately adding that prior to the industrial revolution, this was common practise among married partners.

Contrary to popular belief that daytime naps can interfere with sleep, the Sleep Health Foundation of Australia confirms that whilst naps should be no longer than 30 minutes and ideally no later than mid afternoon, a 15-30 minute nap has been proven to improve concentration, mood and energy levels for several hours afterwards and is therefore highly recommended, particularly in place of a common stimulant such as caffeine or an ‘energy’ drink.
Healthy Hotels Program
Nicson White
1300 646 551