IHG pilots lighting technology to improve guests' sleep

IHG’s new LED lights are designed to aid sleeping. Photo credit: IHG (Study reveals 80 percent of travelers can’t sleep when away from home)

A new global study commissioned by IHG Hotels & Resorts revealed that 80 percent of travelers have trouble sleeping when away from home. Released to coincide with World Sleep Day, the study found that business travelers, in particular, lose around 58 minutes of sleep each night when staying away from home, averaging just five hours and 17 minutes of sleep.

As a result of the study, IHG launched a circadian lighting project in partnership with Healthe by Lighting Science Group, an LED lighting provider, to pilot the use of state-of-the-art circadian lighting to help guests sleep better while traveling.

Among the causes cited for the restless night’s sleep are a different environment (44 percent); unfamiliar noises (35 percent); and working late (35 percent). More than two thirds (67 percent) of those surveyed stated they feel more tired when they are away from home. To aid sleep, nearly half either try listening to music (47 percent) or watching TV (45 percent) to try and fall asleep. 

“It’s no secret that traveling can be challenging for our health, particularly when it comes to maintaining our normal sleep patterns,” Steven Lockley, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and advisor to Healthe, said in a statement. “Light is the major environmental time cue that resets the circadian clock in our brains each day, which is easily thrown off when traveling.”

The Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport will be the first IHG property to install the Journi Mobile task light in guestrooms. Designed using Healthe’s patented GoodDay and GoodNight spectrum technologies, Journi allows access to the alertness and focus-enhancing spectrum during the day and then easily change to the warm, sleep-enhancing spectrum at night. 

Ultimately, Journi also helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm or 24-hour internal body clock, which affects important biological functions such as sleep, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.

“Light can also be a stimulant, directly alerting the brain, or promote sleep before bedtime, depending on the spectrum and intensity of light exposure,” Lockley continued. “Having greater control of light exposure when traveling can help promote sleep at the right time or wake at the right time, preserving some sense of sleep normalcy when on the road.”

The new devices will be available at all 16 IHG Hotels & Resorts brands. Investing in technologies to help guests sleep better, IHG has programs in place across its brands, including: 

  • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts Sleep Advantage Program has been designed to improve the quality of sleep during hotel overnights, improving the quality of the following day. The program’s This Works aromatherapy line contains pure essential oils that help guests recover from the day’s stress and to sleep more soundly.
  • Even Hotels lighting profiles allow guests to change the color of the lighting in their rooms to blue, red, green or yellow to either energize or relax.
  • The Holiday Inn Pillow Menu gives guests the option to choose between a varied range of pillows, from firmness to type and even filling.

A guest’s well-being is not a new concept to hotels. Last year, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts launched two new guestroom schemes with a focus not only on how the rooms would look, but how they would make guests feel. The Stay Well guestroom revolves around key pillars for wellness: light, air quality and the sleep experience. Special lighting, which adjusts the color palette for time of day, can help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and reduce jet lag. Delos, which created the Stay Well program, created its own circadian lighting technology that will be present in each room, primarily as an alarm clock that creates a “sunrise” effect.

In 2017, Hilton launched its Five Feet to Fitness guestroom concept that let guests use more than eleven different fitness equipment and accessory options in their hotel rooms. The new room category makes it easy for guests to maintain their routines while staying in Hilton hotels. 

Also that year, Marriott International's Westin Hotels & Resorts brand debuted its “Let’s Rise” campaign, which included a range of wellness-themed programs and partnerships. The campaign focused on what the company calls its “Six Pillars of Well-being”: Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well, and Play Well.