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8 Ways Canadian Hotels Are Helping You Sleep Better

Spiked chamomile tea, a sleep lab and a $30,000 mattress: These hotels take snoozing seriously.

Deep sleep massage

1. Deep Sleep Massage

Travel creates lots of tension above your shoulders, from your temples to the occipital ridge at the back of your scalp. At the Fairmont Empress’ Willow Stream Spa, the Deep Sleep Massage focuses on your head and neck until you feel nap-ready. Then, the therapist touches rhythmically on pressure points down your spine in a technique called “catwalking,” before slowly rocking your limbs till you’re rag-doll loose. Bonus: The Tara Spa Therapy silk eye pillow used in the second half is filled with lavender, peppermint and rose petals – all touted as having anti-spasmodic properties to help muscles and mind shake it off in tandem.

Fairmont Empress, Victoria
721 Government St.,

The nightcap

2. The Nightcap

At the hotel’s Q Bar, cozy up to a cup of spiked chamomile tea, with the natural compound apigenin acting as an anxiety reducer (the shot of Scotch doesn’t hurt, either).

The Dreamweaver Cocktail

  • 1½ oz the Famous Grouse Scotch
  • ½ oz Giffard Ginger of the Indies
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • ¼ oz lemon juice
  • Combine in a teacup, then fill with hot chamomile tea
Fairmont Empress, Victoria
721 Government St.,

3. Bedtime Yoga

Book time with personal trainer Katie Dunn in the Loden Hotel’s BeFit studio. She’ll walk you through a 20-minute yoga routine of five restorative poses designed to help you wind down before bed. Using the room’s mat, blocks and yoga straps from Vancouver’s own Halfmoon, hold each move for four minutes to get your oms away from home.

Post-flight poses for a good night’s rest

Sphinx Pose
Sphinx Pose
Lengthens abdominals, opens the chest and releases lower-back tension brought on by sitting upright.
Downward Dog
Downward Dog
Wakes up drowsy circulation by sending blood from heart to head, which calms the nervous system.
Low Lunge
Low Lunge
Releases tension in groin and hips, stiff from all that window-or-aisle sitting.
Legs up the Wall
Legs up the Wall
Drains fluid from feet and calves after on-board swelling.
Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose
Slows breathing toward resting mode (something you couldn’t dream of during upright dozing).
Loden Hotel, Vancouver
1177 Melville St.,

Zen garden

4. The Zen Garden

The hotel’s second-floor garden terrace room, with a Buddha-bedecked balcony overlooking a flowing stream, is the perfect spot to switch your mind into sunset mode with a bit of meditation.

Loden Hotel, Vancouver
1177 Melville St.,

Meal plan

5. The Meal Plan

When it comes to getting your winks, not all foods are created equal. Westin partnered with nutrition experts to concoct meals chock full of snooze-promoting ingredients for their Sleep Well menu, delivered directly to your bedside.

Post-flight poses for a good night’s rest



Omelette with Spinach and Avocado
Pile on these greens for their magnesium and potassium, which relax blood vessels, nerves and muscles – especially beneficial if you suffer from nighttime cramps in your calves. Turns out avocado toast doesn’t just get you Instagram likes.



Micro-Chopped Turkey Salad
It’s not fully clear whether Thanksgiving drowsiness is related to that second serving of pie or to tryptophan. However, the amino acid in turkey does stimulate the pineal gland, which releases serotonin and melatonin, regulating circadian rhythms.



Grilled Salmon
Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, the superfood-touted fish lowers your norepinephrine – a stress hormone that can disrupt REM sleep (the stage when your brain consolidates and processes information).

The Westin Calgary and The Westin Nova Scotian
Calgary, 320 4th Ave. Sw and Halifax, 1181 Hollis St.,


6. Aromatherapy

Augustinian nuns arrived in Quebec City in 1639 and brought along centuries of apothecaries’ knowledge that still suffuses the quarters of this converted monastery with anise, thuja and cardamom. Le Monastère des Augustines’s Regeneration stay features in-room diffusers filled with fragrant oils, like the “good night” formula with soothing sandalwood and green mandarin zest, which the hotel’s herbalist says has a slight hypnotic effect. For an at-home sister act, pick up essential oils in the gift shop inspired by the nuns’ original formulas.

Le Monastère des Augustines, Québec
77, rue des Remparts,


7. Tried and Tested Rooms

Four Seasons thinks up most of its housekeeping protocol at Toronto’s R&D Studio and in scaled room reproductions, where experts create streamlined, sleep-ready spaces (no notes on the bed or music left on). Before being rolled out brand-wide, all in-room comforts are put to the test to collect the data of our dreams.

Bedding After testing some 100 different linen iterations from more than 20 vendors, the Four Seasons unrolled a bedding refresh in 2016, settling on 300-thread-count custom sheets and getting rid of bedskirts.

Turndown Creating a “sleep temple” is also in the details, like the Issy Fold – a 20-centimetre pocket made with the flat top sheet at the foot of the bed, so your toes have wiggle room while you stay snug.

Noise Lighting and acoustics are tested to determine which wall materials block flushing sounds or television noise.

Customizing Make like Goldilocks and pick one of three mattress toppers of different levels of firmness. Staff switches them out and keeps returning guests’ preferences on file.

Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
60 Yorkville Ave.,

The Ivy at Verity

8. The $30,000 Mattress

The Ivy at Verity, a four-room boutique hotel adjoined to a private women’s club on Toronto’s Queen Street East, takes sömn (Swedish for sleep) seriously. Your jet-lagged bones will appreciate the Hästens mattress, hand-hewn in Köping, Sweden. Combined with perfectly ironed Egyptian cotton and sateen Rivolta Carmignani sheets from Italy, you won’t be able to resist a rest.

What goes into the Rolls-Royce of beds

Different grades of horsehair form mattress coils, offering varying springiness. The allergen-free twisted strands in the top layer act like tiny springs that enhance the internal support.
Cotton and pure-wool tufts move with you as you sleep, acting as a built-in ventilation system that wicks away moisture and adapts to the seasons.
Northern Swedish pine
The handmade frame is Northern Swedish pine, which grows slowly in cold climes, making the wood extra-hard and resilient.
Flax fibres
Flax fibres are woven throughout the mattress layers to divert static electricity and absorb noise and vibrations, perfect for stable bedtime conditions.
The Ivy at Verity, Toronto
111 Queen St. E,

Sleep Smarts

Three staff-tested gadgets to get your z’s on the road.

Punkt AC 01

Punkt AC 01

“This alarm clock turns any bedside table into a cell-free zone, so I don’t wake up and scroll mindlessly through thousands of Instagram pugs before getting out of bed.”
– Caitlin Walsh Miller, senior editor


Dodow Insomnia Aid

Dodow Insomnia Aid

“I synched up my breath with the device’s pulsating blue light, and the next thing I knew, it was 6 a.m. and my alarm was going off.”
– Stéphanie Mercier Voyer, acting digital editor


Smart Nora Snoring Solution

Smart Nora Snoring Solution

“When it hears snoring, the device lifts my pillow and clears my airways, to my boyfriend's delight. Our nights have become the right kind of snooze fest.”
– Jean-François Légaré, editor-in-chief