When one thinks of visiting Miami, Florida, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t usually the first thought that comes to mind. However, my mind was pleasantly surprised when I traveled to South Beach, Miami, to stay three days at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort to be one the first to experience their Sleep Well Retreat, which provided an opportunity to restore, reset, and sleep well in partnership with Bryte, the first science-backed technology platform for restorative sleep. The Bryte Balance™ Smart Beds (going for $6,299.00) were first installed at the hotel in September 2023, and a limited number of guests have tried the four-day Sleep Well Retreat.
Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is known for its wellness retreats, as it prides itself on being a 4.4-star hotel and residential property that promotes wellness for its guests. They believe that holistic health starts with a comprehensive approach. “As a wellness resort, if we boast wellness, we can’t leave that experience for a select few, so we decided to partner with Bryte. The sleep retreat is for those who want to take a step further,” Roxana Medina, Director of Sales and Marketing at Carillon Miami, says to ESSENCE. So, the newest Health Retreats by Carillon Miami offer one-of-a-kind experiences designed to align your physical, mental, and spiritual health using cutting-edge treatments, the latest advancements in technology, and critical experts along the way to guide your path to optimal health, like Dr. Rebecca Robbins, a sleep scientist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard and co-author of Sleep for Success. Their Sleep Well Retreat focuses on designing a comprehensive plan to achieve restorative sleep. If you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s difficult to achieve healthy sleep and rest. According to the American Sleep Association, we’re not alone, as 50-70 million US adults chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness.
When I touched down at the resort at 5:00 a.m., Eastern Time, from Los Angeles on Friday morning, I was burnt out and completely drained emotionally, physically, and mentally, so I doubted how helpful their Sleep Retreat would be for me. However, my perspective shifted slightly once I settled into my one-bedroom luxury apartment on the 10th floor. The suite had beautiful views of the property and beach, and it was furnished with a customizable Bryte Balance™ Smart Bed to reset my circadian rhythms. The bed allows you to personalize your sleep experience. By simply scanning the in-room QR code, I was able to adjust the firmness of both sides of the mattress and receive access to other important features, such as:
- Somnify™: A sensory experience that syncs sleep-inducing sounds with gentle head-to-toe movements.
- Rebalancing™: Senses, targets, and relieves pressure points to support unbroken sleep
- Silent Wake Assist: Gradually wakes you with quiet, rhythmic motions that won’t disturb your partner.
- Sleep Insights: Provides valuable insights on sleep stages and more.
Most importantly, I could view my sleep report the next day, including my sleep efficiency, total hours of sleep, when I fell asleep, and the time I was awake. The platform also brilliantly calculates my sleep stages, including my average heart and respiration rates. Additionally, the bed’s finely-tuned matrix of pneumatic coils can sense any pressure points and adjust support inch-by-inch for optimum comfort and support. During my two-night stay, 440 adjustments were made, and I received 21 hours of sleep. I began to feel my body become more rested, my mind clearer, and my spirit a little lighter.
Throughout the retreat, I had the opportunity to learn about the connection between high-quality sleep and how best to improve your sleep habits with Bryte, which provides restorative intelligence to improve your sleep actively, expert sleep success tips from Dr. Robbins, and experience pro-sleep spa treatments. Check out what I experienced over the weekend and the sleeping tips I learned.
Day 1: Friday, October 20th
After checking in, resting, grabbing breakfast at The Strand, and catching up on work, I went to their award-winning spa to try their Tranquility Pro Sleep Ritual Treatment. This treatment is designed for stress, sleep deprivation, or insomnia. The technique works by stimulating the three most critical pathways in the body: olfactive, using a blend of cedarwood and sweet orange essential oils to ease the min; tactile, using a soft brush to apply light pressure to the skin and activate sensory receptors that help the body de-stress; and hearing, using bespoke music to encourage rest. And yes, I could sleep during and shortly after the treatment.
After some downtime on the beach, I went up to the 8th floor of the hotel to join the other journalists for the Sleep Well Retreat Welcome Reception. I met Luke Kelly, Bryte’s Chef Executive Officer, to learn more about the Restorative Sleep Experience. Once the reception was done, I headed back to my room to get a good night’s sleep. And indeed, I did; I received 12 hours of sleep that evening with a 88% sleep efficiency rate. Perhaps that was due to my suite’s jetlag, mocktail, or blackout curtains; nonetheless, my body was happy with the results.
Day 2: Saturday, October 21st
Once I could get my bearings and settle into the resort, it was time to do a full day at the spa and receive a presentation on the importance of healthy sleep. But before the spa, I had to eat a healthy breakfast. To be honest, I am used to my hearty brunches during the weekend. You know, scrambled eggs, potatoes, toast, and lemon drops….Lots of lemon drop cocktails, usually. But for this trip, I wanted to stick to the wellness theme, and luckily, the resort had a breakfast and lunch menu that encouraged healthy and clean eating. I settled for the “energizing protein breakfast” that included the red grapefruit carpaccio, energy eggs, and grapefruit juice. After fueling up, I attended Dr. Robbins’ lecture about healthy sleep, “Sleep Science 1: What Happens when we sleep and why is sleep so vital to our waking success.” During her lecture, Dr. Robbins educated the group on essential facts about sleep, like how many hours of sleep we should get (7 hours), and shared that the time it takes you to fall asleep is not sleep. She also explained what exactly healthy sleep is: satisfaction, alertness, regularity, timing, efficiency, and duration.
The next part of her presentation highlighted smart sleeping strategies we can try at home.
Meet your sleep needs: Make time for 7/9 hours and add 15 minutes every night.
Keep a consistent schedule: Keep the same bed and rising time vary no more than an hour.
Create a sleep sanctuary: Keep your bedroom quiet, quiet, dark, and cool. (Change pillow, sheets, and blackout curtains) check the intermittent noises when you sleep. Never commit to tossing and turning in bed.
Curate a healthy bedtime ritual includes no screens, social media, and scary news.
Use light strategically: Blue/daylight spectrum light exposure in the morning, avoid at night. Try the Flux app.
Take a Power Nap: Resisting the urge to take long naps, focus on afternoon Power Naps that are at least 20 mins.
Limit caffeine and alcohol: Limit 6 hours before bed to avoid alcohol/caffeine consumption.
Cultivate our relaxation response: Develop helpful exercises and strategies like alternate nostril breathing and breathing control.
The Spa treatments:
After another healthy meal, I strolled to the spa, feeling rested and fabulous. My first spa treatment of the day was a manifestation meditation that’s supposed to attract achievement, love, reclamation, and prosperity in the resort’s Somadome, the world’s first technology-enabled meditation pod that combines color, sound, and energy therapists to create the physical space to go within and experience deep meditation. See some standout prompts I wrote down from the session below.
I enjoy the richness of life.
I am confident, serene, I am sure
God is in me and around me and serves me now
My purpose in life is to reach upward and outward
I place my future in Devine hands
I take each step in my life boldly and powerfully for God, who prompts me.
During my stay at the spa, I also enjoyed the V.E.M.I treatment is an all-in-one therapy that includes VibroAcoustic, EletctroMagnetic, and Infrared technology that uses healing sound resonance with full-body vibrations. The treatment ground my body, eliminate the effects caused by electro-smog radiation and recharge and detoxify all the cells.
I left the spa feeling rested and eager to head to the resort’s beach to enjoy oceanfront service and relaxation. Later that night, I went out and explored South Beach’s lively restaurant scene and had a 10 p.m. dinner at Byblos. I received 9 hours of sleep that night with a sleep efficiency rate of 96%.
Day 3: Sunday, October 22nd
We gathered at the Ocean Studio for our last day at the resort and the retreat to do light yoga movements and sound bath meditation.
Next, we had a group breakfast with Dr. Robbins, and that’s when I could ask her more in-depth questions about sleep, especially as it pertains to Black women, and why rest shouldn’t be considered a luxury but a necessity. See our conversation below.
ESSENCE: What are the differences in sleep results for Black women?
Dr. Robbins: Unfortunately, Black individuals demonstrate some of the worst sleep outcomes compared to other cultural groups. This includes shorter sleep duration, lower sick quality, and more feelings of sickness because they’re not getting the sleep that their bodies or brains need at night. This stems from various factors, including micro-level racism and discrimination. One of my colleagues, Dr. Lauryn Hale, talks about sleep as a social justice issue because to address health disparities, we need to address these sleep health inequities because when we’re not getting enough sleep, then that contributes to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and a host of other concerns.
As mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the difference between sleep and rest. What’s the difference?
This is such a good question; they are fundamentally different things. We’ve been so hyper-focused on eight hours and getting enough sleep duration, but anyone could lie around in bed for eight hours; however, the Holy Grail is waking up after sleep that fuels your brain and your body to be at its best, you know, cognitively, physically, emotionally. Sleep has a couple of components: it’s ideally of sufficient duration, and it’s ideally consistent and consolidated.
How can we get better rest while traveling?
Unfortunately, our brains are slightly more alert when we’re in a new environment. So, when we’re traveling, trying to maintain our sleep routines from home as much as possible is vital. Try to do your homework and look for hotels that prioritize your sleep. They could have a pillow menu or a power-down service of some kind. I also travel with most things that sound or smell like home, which can help you relax.
From start to finish, the Sleep Well Retreat fortified my need for sleep and relaxation and helped me achieve it. I also learned some helpful sleep strategies that I’ll be sure to implement at home and during my next trip.
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