Hoping to help customers enjoy a soothing, restful night while perking up add-on sales? Expand your business by encouraging shoppers create a sleep sanctuary
With a global pandemic, natural disasters, social unrest and a tumultuous election season, there’s no surprise that people aren’t sleeping well. In fact, according to the Better Sleep Council’s 2020 State of America’s Sleep study, more than four in 10 Americans described their sleep as poor or fair, and most get less than the recommended seven or more hours of sleep each night.
And as people spend more time at home, the idea of creating a refuge from the world, particularly in the bedroom, becomes more enticing. The concept of a “sleep sanctuary” has become more than just a trend for many consumers — it’s an extension of their health and wellness routine.
To help people outfit their sleep sanctuary, a spate of products, from performance sheets to blackout curtains to aromatherapy diffusers, have hit the scene in recent years. According to the 2020 State of America’s Sleep study, Americans report using white noise machines, humidifiers, essential oil diffusers and fans to improve sleep.
For bedding retailers, these products offer an opportunity to create add-on sales and provide customers with reasons to shop between mattress purchases. The key for retailers is choosing the right product mix and understanding how to merchandise it to inspire customers to envision their own sleep sanctuary. With that in mind, here are a few product categories to consider.
Regulate Light With Curtains and More
Most sleep experts agree a dark, cool room is the ideal setting for a good night’s rest. So, if the bedroom overlooks a bright, busy street or if the first rays of sun hit the windows before the alarm buzzes, blackout and noise-canceling curtains are a must for creating a sleep sanctuary.
Blackout curtains usually incorporate a backing made of tightly woven fabric to block light, as well as heat and cold. And multifunctional products like Moondream’s three-in-one curtains go one step further by not only blocking light, heat and cold, but also reducing outdoor noise by as much as seven decibels. The Paris-based company uses a patented three-layer design to create a cocoon effect in bedrooms.
While keeping light out of the bedroom is a key component of creating a sleep sanctuary, regulating interior light can be just as important. Smart bulbs and therapeutic lamps help set the scene for a good night’s sleep.
C by GE Lighting, headquartered in Boston, includes bulbs that are dimmable, color-changing or color-tunable (from warm to cool light) via Bluetooth-enabled voice or app controls. Consumers can set the perfect lighting scene for relaxing before bed by using a smart hub like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, or via the C by GE app, which also can control other items in the room such as aromatherapy diffusers and ceiling fans.
In the wintertime, reduced sunlight can disrupt sleep patterns and affect mood. Therapeutic lamps that mimic sunlight inside the bedroom can help combat these issues and improve sleep. Products such as the Verilux HappyLight therapy lamp exude full-spectrum, 10,000-lux light similar to natural sunlight that helps regulate melatonin (for better sleep) and seratonin (for mood).
“(In the morning) add a quick 10- to 15-minute light therapy session with customizable brightness and temperature options to your day to improve sleep, mood, focus and energy, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalized,” says Saya Hazel, digital marketing manager of Huntington Beach, California-based Bear Down Brands, parent company of Verilux and Pure Enrichment.
For retailers, it’s important to create displays where customers can play with these lighting products to get a feel for the functionality while providing clear information on how lighting can contribute to proper sleep and overall wellness.
Upgrade Top of Bed With Weighted Blankets, Performance Sheets
Arguably one of the hottest trends in sleep-enhancing products, weighted blankets have become a must-have for many sleepers. The therapeutic blankets typically weigh from 5 to 30 pounds, and the pressure from the extra weight mimics a technique called deep pressure stimulation — similar to massage used to relax the nervous system.
Companies like Bedgear have added the blankets to their lines and advise retailers to not only play up the product’s benefits, but also dispel fears that the blankets could be hot or uncomfortable.
“We created an all-fabric weighted blanket made from layers of breathable, “hyper-cotton” performance fabric without any beads, giving the sleeper the same benefits of a weighted blanket without the pain points of overheating, noise and uneven weight distribution,” says Eugene Alletto, founder and chief executive officer of the Farmington, New York-based company. “Bedgear’s weighted blanket also features a removable and washable cover to provide the sleeper a healthy and clean sleep environment, which is crucial in today’s health situation.”
Similarly, the company has designed a performance sheet line called Dri-Tec, which is made of breathable, proprietary heat-conductive fibers that dissipate warm air and wick moisture. The result is bedding that promises to regulate temperature and provide a better night’s rest.
“Our sheets and blankets are differentiated in the retail space because not only are they made for high-efficiency washing that requires less water and energy, but they also are engineered with performance fabrics that are breathable and allow the body to naturally regulate its temperature, preventing overheating and temperature fluctuations throughout the night,” Alletto says.
Bedgear provides retailers with eye-catching merchandising displays, but it’s also helpful to have blankets and sheets available on the retail floor for customers to touch and get a feel for the sheet fabric and blanket weight.
Enhance the Air With Purifiers and Aromatherapy
A major yet often over-looked component of creating the ideal conditions for sleep is the air we breathe. Products like air purifiers and essential oil diffusers make a smart addition to your store’s offerings.
Small, tabletop purifiers like Pure Enrichment’s PureZone Air Purifier promise to clean the air without detracting from a room’s decor, eliminating 99.97% of airborne allergens with its 3-in-1 True HEPA filtration system.
“An added UV-C light adds a deeper level of sanitation to reduce and destroy illness-causing microorganisms that ultimately can affect your sleep and overall health,” says Saya Hazel, digital marketing of Huntington Beach, California-based Bear Down Brands, parent company of Pure Enrichment and Verilux.
And with the popularity of essential oils for sleep, diffusers go hand in hand with purifiers to create the ideal space for rest. Pure Enrichment offers a variety of diffusers, including the PureGlow Crystal Himalayan Salt Rock Lamp and Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser. The unit combines Himalayan salt with the soothing effects of essential oils and is able to diffuse around rooms up to 160 square feet.
When adding purifiers and essential oil diffusers to your product mix, be sure to have at least one of each plugged in and operating in the store — not only will you show customers how they work, but you’ll also reap the soothing benefits.
Drown Out the World With White Noise
While some people sleep with fans for the air circulation, many do so to let the fan’s repetitive sound lull them to sleep. Others prefer white noise machines. White noise is produced when every frequency a human ear can hear is played in a random order at the same amplitude. Studies have shown that white noise can hasten sleep in both children and adults.
A number of white noise machines that range from simple one-setting models to high-tech units with all the proverbial bells and whistles have hit the market. The Snooz sound machine is a travel-size option with a mechanical fan to generate tones that range from light (table fan level) to a deep fan drone (like in an airplane cabin). A compatible smartphone app allows users to set sleep schedules, change the volume or control the built-in nightlight, according to the Las Vegas-based company.
The Hatch Restore also incorporates light with a soft-glow reading light without eye-straining blue colors and a programmable sunrise alarm that mimics natural dawn, helping gently rouse sleepers. Sound options range from soothing white noise to wind-down meditations, according to Hatch, with headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.
For retailers, adding these sleep accessories can be a boost for business, but only if they’re merchandised properly. When creating your in-store sleep sanctuary, aim to set a scene that beckons customers to not only spend money, but to relax and imagine how much better their bedrooms — and thus, their sleep — could be.
Jennifer Bringle has covered the home furnishings industry for several years, previously serving as editor in chief of Casual Living and Kids Today magazines. Her writing also has appeared in Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Parents and The Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @jcbringle.