Sleep, our consistently two-faced mate, is now a bone fide cultural obsession so nuanced that we’re even seeing the rise of Insomnia Identity – believing you have poor sleep whether you do or not. While the desire for a good night’s kip is hardly new, amid an epic rise in the ever-elasticizing world of wellness – globally the industry is now worth $3.72trn – sleep, driven by its fundamental capacity to improve health and performance of every variety has become the near-peerless contender for wellbeing’s ultimate crown. McKinsey reports that the sleep-health industry is collectively worth $30-40bn of that wellness dollar and is growing 8% per year, minimum. From flagships selling fast track naps and bespoke sleep services sliding into mainstream to the beguiling prospect of sleep interfacing, it’s the near-bottomless list of overlapping relevancies – health, sports, beauty and now even creativity – on which sleep’s rising kudos is set to continue growing. Indelibly connected to the age of brands as service providers, sleep is about to get its own splinter sectors.
As Mark Tungate, journalist and author of brand culture analyzing bibles including Branded Beauty and travel focused The Escape Industry says: “Our addiction to screens, the daily horror of the news, Fear of Missing Out [FOMO], the perpetual daytime of electric light – all of these and more have added up to a serious sleep deficit. Experts agree that we need seven or eight hours per night, but most of us average about 6.1. For years, nobody seemed to lose much sleep over this. But when health and peace of mind got hitched and gave birth to the concept of wellness, a closer look at our sleep patterns inevitably followed.”
MIT DesignX project Dormio involves interfacing with dreams (Credit: MIT DesignX).
The somewhat pedestrian, or so you might think, realm of mattress retail has been quick to cash in. This month, American sleep-centric (bedding) brand Parachute launched a flagship in NYC for which it developed an accompanying, sleep-boosting lavender linen spray – tailing the more remarkable launch of US brand Casper’s first permanent store, the Casper Sleep Shop. The latter’s 3,000sqft destination, also in New York, features six mini try-before-you-buy vignettes, representative of a specific sleep zone from falling asleep to daybreak, where visitors are invited to take twenty-minute nap slots. It’s a concept that’s since been next-level commoditized via the nearby Dreamery – a separate destination solely dedicated to fast track napping in individual, cocoon-esque nap nooks.
The fully serviced sessions are staggered for privacy, run from 11:30am to 7:00pm daily and cost $25 for 45 minutes, with no extra charge for the use of a satisfyingly expensive pair of pajamas and a goody bag of cosmetic creams. A lounge area has been designed to transition guests smoothly into the wind down, upgrading the existing airport-style sleep pod experience. People with jet-lag or seeking out a pre-party disco nap are its core targets.