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Better Sleep For Etihad Airways

Long-haul travellers are no stranger to jet lag and, while taking the hormone melatonin helps to regulate sleeping hours, it’s just the start. Environment and eating habits also have to be considered. To this end, industries from airline to hospitality have come up with ways to give travellers a leg-up on adjusting their body clock. Here’s what we found.

Instead of offering just a flat bed for first-class passengers, Etihad Airways, working with sleep experts from the American Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology, launched a sleep programme aimed at the senses. First-class passengers sleep on a mattress made from natural rubber that’s been perforated for ventilation. Sheets are 100 per cent cotton, and there are feather duvets and pillows, pillow mists, pulse-point oils, and rest-inducing drinks like chamomile tea, hot chocolate and malt beverages. Travellers who want to know more can visit the airline’s website,, for professional sleep advice.

While conventional wisdom says that looking at your smartphone at bedtime thwarts sleep with its e-mail distractions and rest-deterring bright lights, bio-mathematicians from the University of Michigan think otherwise. They have devised a smartphone application to regulate circadian clocks. Called the Entrain, the app supposedly cuts 13 days of jet lag down to three to five by providing a “light-dark schedule” and recommending when to switch from outdoor light to complete darkness.

While many hotels have blackout curtains, anti-glare clocks, and turn-down services to encourage rest, The Benjamin in New York takes it one step further by offering a programme designed by sleep-medicine expert and Sleep for Success author Rebecca Robbins. The pillows, for example, don’t just range from hard to soft, but are recommended specially for back, side or stomach sleepers. The power-nap option comes with an eye mask, aromatherapy treatment, bottle of water, nap-time turn-down and wake-up call. There’s even a menu of bedtime munchies designed to sustain the body until morning. If guests still can’t doze off, the hotel’s sleep team is available around the clock to give advice.

Made from concentrated fruit juices high in vitamins and minerals, Fly Fit is a series of drinks, yogurts, bars and candies that, as its name suggests, aims to counter travel fatigue. Developed by Dutch company Vitalit Laboratories, the snacks negate the effect of dry cabin air, dehydration, high altitudes and time differences, and can be found on Singapore Airlines, Emirates and even high-end hotels like CitizenM.