Do You Need a Sleep Vacation?

Here’s what to know before you take time off to catch up on your zzz’s.

Think about some of your favorite things to do on vacation. Maybe you love to see cultural sites, eat amazing food, explore nature, or read while relaxing by the beach. But for a growing number of people, going on vacation is all about catching up on sleep.

This idea—taking time off from work to sleep as much as you need—is called having a "sleep vacation." And they are incredibly popular. More than 70 percent of people use at least one vacation day from work a year to catch up on sleep and 40 percent take five or more days away from work to do it.

But does that really work? While sleeping a few extra hours can help you feel more rested, it can’t erase a big sleep debt that you’ve racked up over weeks or months of late nights and early mornings. Plus, sleeping in can make falling asleep that next night even harder, messing with your circadian rhythm. A better idea is to use vacation as a chance to get in the habit of getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. This can help get you back into a healthy routine.

If you do want to make a trip all about rest, book a few nights at a hotel that has a focus on improving the sleep quality of guests. Some supply aromatherapy, sleep sounds, and light therapy for people staying there, while others go a step further and bring in sleep experts to teach guests about healthy sleep habits.