Health and Wellness

I tried 2 spa treatments that this luxury NYC hotel says will improve sleep—here's how it went

The Equinox Hotel at Hudson Yards has outdoor saunas near one of its pools during the colder months.
Renée Onque

You're probably most familiar with Equinox Group for its luxury gyms — some people pay as much as $300 a month for access — but the fitness brand is looking for new ways to improve upon the health and wellness of its members and guests.

This month, Equinox Hotels launched a program called The Art + Science of Sleep by Equinox Hotels, which they describe as a "science-backed" approach to help guests have deep, restorative sleep.

The package costs $1,850 and includes a two-night stay at their Hudson Yards location plus two wave table and cryotherapy experiences.

The hotel room includes:

  • Bedside panel to control the temperature, light and overall atmosphere of the room
  • Free access to a yoga mat and other materials for stretching
  • Sleep-related products for purchase, including tart cherry juice and CBD oil
  • A.M. and P.M. body cleansers to either wake you up or prepare you for bed
The hotel room at Equinox Hotel in Hudson Yards aims to improve your sleep experience.
Renée Onque

The Equinox Hotel also has an offering of spa treatments that are dedicated to better sleep. All-year round they offer services like IV drips, cryotherapy, a wave table and access to an infrared sauna.

Do spa services that promise better sleep actually work?

In honor of National Sleep Awareness Month, I went to Equinox Hotel's Hudson Yards location here in New York City, to try two of the spa services and see just how effective they are at inducing sleep.

I started with the infrared sauna that aims to reduce inflammation and remove toxins from the body. Hot and cold plunges, like saunas and cryotherapy, "help improve circulation, soothe sore muscles, and release the hormone, cortisol, which can lead to improved sleep quality," according to Equinox Hotels.

The hotel's sauna typically reaches between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit and has infrared lights in the ceiling.

The infrared sauna aims to reduce inflammation and remove toxins from the body.
Renée Onque

I first opted to sit up, but after about 15 minutes, the heat was so relaxing that I grabbed a towel to lie down. My time in the sauna was actually quite effective at making me sleepy, even though that isn't its primary benefit.

I had to take a quick shower after, not just because I was super sweaty, but also because I needed to wake myself up a bit.

One of the workers at the spa told me that most people don't actually feel sleepy until after they've received a follow-up service like the wave table.

But the sauna alone was pretty successful at making me tired, so I'd rate its sleep-inducing ability at an 8/10.

30 minutes in the infrared sauna will cost you $45.

Next up? 30 minutes on a wave table, which can best be described as an immersive water bed. Equinox Hotels claims that just 30 minutes on their wave table can replace three hours of sleep.

And though the bed doesn't move, you're given headphones that play frequencies to match your brain waves, which gave me a bit of a headache at first.

The wave table is paired with headphones that provide sound therapy.
Renée Onque

I quickly realized the frequencies were matching the intensity of my own thoughts. I tested this by switching between thoughts that made me anxious and ones that made me feel calm.

When I thought about the stressful things, my head felt like it was pounding. But my mind felt clear and peaceful when I focused on relaxing. Only then did the wave table put me to sleep, but not a very deep sleep.

Interestingly enough, when the 30 minutes were up, I actually felt more tired. This may possibly be because I was starting to enter a phase of deep sleep just as the session was ending.

I'd say given the headache during, and the grogginess that followed, I'd give the wave table a 5/10. This experience is $60 for a 30-minute session.

I slept for almost 12 hours

I struggled not to fall asleep on my train ride home. But the effectiveness of the sauna and wave table on my sleep became really clear when I went to bed that night.

I got a bag of sleep goodies at the spa that included a bottle of tart cherry juice. I drank the juice, got in bed and was asleep within 30 minutes.

I slept almost 12 hours, from 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. and I felt like I could sleep even longer.

Thankfully, I went to the spa on a Friday!

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