China / Society

Poll shows sleep preferences of different nations

By Xu Lin ( Updated: 2014-03-21 17:10

The global market research company Ipsos recently released survey results on sleep preferences among tourists in China, Great Britain, the United States and Russia.

Commissioned by the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the company did the research in December among 3,148 respondents who have ever stayed in a hotel.

"We commissioned this survey to keep in touch with the evolving needs of hotel guests as we further enhance the Four Seasons sleep experience. By surveying guests across geographies and demographics we gained a valuable snapshot of sleep preferences today," said Dana Kalczak, vice president of design for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

"The survey results were key in supporting our belief that hotel guests want a more customized sleep experience offered through the new customizable Four Seasons bed."

The study showed that a good sleep is important to all travelers. About half of the Chinese subjects said a bad sleep had negative effects on their work and leisure activities the next day.

A majority of the respondents sleep on the same side of the bed as they do at home, across all age groups, genders and regions.

Hotel goers were asked to select items that distracted them from getting a good night's sleep when traveling, and noise was the top factor in all four countries. Chinese tourists also listed unpleasant odors, no fresh air and uncomfortable bedding.

Respondents said there were various items that a hotel could offer to help them have a better night's sleep. Chinese preferred comfortable pajamas while Americans liked to have a white noise machine. Russians were most likely to pick herbal teas, while those from Great Britain most liked to have earplugs.

Nearly half of the subjects said they wished they could make their bed at home the same way it's made in a hotel, and the Chinese were more likely to feel this way than those from the other three countries.

Three in 10 respondents said they had at some time wanted to take home the hotel bed, pillows or duvet because of their good sleep experience. Americans were most likely to want to take them home, followed by the British, Russians and Chinese.

Chinese respondents showed the strongest preference for medium mattresses, followed by those from Russia and the United States. The British subjects loved both firm and medium mattresses.

"The survey indicated that the bed was one fundamental factor for a perfect night's sleep. Our new customizable bed offers greater personalization in minutes through three toppers engineered exclusively for Four Seasons. We also offer guests a choice of foam, feather or orthopedic pillows and they can order their pillows prior to their arrival at the hotel," Kalczak said.

"The sleep survey really emphasizes that people think sleep is important. We spend so much time as doctors talking about the importance of the science of sleep, and it shows that people understand this," said Carol Ash, director of Sleep Medicine for Meridian Health in the United States.

According to Ash, many mobile devices emit a blue light that suppresses melatonin, which is critical to create sleep onset. It is helpful to get all electronics out of the bedroom an hour before bedtime.

Her suggestion for tourists is to ensure a good rest at first. If a traveler wants to have their best sleep experience, he or she will want to find a hotel that offers a custom sleep experience.

Ash said to get a good night's sleep, people should retain the right environment, which is quiet, dark and cool. Keep in mind the environment of the bed as well, she said, such as the pillows, mattress and pajamas.

"You spend so much time in your bed at night, so if it is not comfortable, you may suffer."

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