Everything you need to know about sleep retreats

Sleep retreats are about to be big, so here’s everything you need to know now. 

If your perfect holiday looks like a serene environment with zero distractions, peace and plenty of sleep, that is exactly what you’ll get from a sleep retreat. 

Sleep retreats are the latest health and wellness travel trend according to Lonely Planet and Jetstar. Sleep expert, Elina Winnel, explains why.  

Women need more sleep than men, and a sleep retreat can help.

What is a sleep retreat?

It’s not what most people think when it comes to ‘retreats’, clarifies Elina. 

“It’s not a military camp. It’s not “light’s out at 7, no devices and no coffee!”. Rather, it is a wellness travel excursion that is embarked upon to help people move their bodies and minds away from stress or anxiety, and towards deep relaxation.

Elina articulates that sleep retreats help rewire the nervous system to a new baseline level so that sleep comes more naturally to people. She also says that in relation to the sleep retreat she runs, she “helps people come out of fight or flight, heals levels of trauma and gets people in a more relaxed state, and as a result, people are much happier by the end of it.”

Further, Elina talks about her love of soundbars, which she incorporates into her programs.

Alongside research, she believes that certain sounds and frequencies, such as white noise, impact the quality of sleep – not just the quantity.

She is not the only one who believes this, Tom Bilyeu, the American co-Founder of the billion-dollar brand, Quest Nutrition and co-founder and host of Impact Theory – a business and mindset-focused podcast – believes that playing “white noise helps to ensure deep sleep” amongst other factors.

Elina mentions that women – particularly, women older than 30, tend to struggle to fall asleep faster. 

With the help of soundbars, women can combat this problem, and at the same time, regenerate the body and mind and perpetuate youthfulness, 

Why is it so hard to sleep?

Elina says the biggest prohibiters of sleep are “stress, anxiety and the racing mind.” 

“This is why I got into sleep”, she says.

She says that before becoming a sleep expert, everything in her life began to fall apart.

“I used to work in the corporate world. I went through a period of chronic insomnia and honestly, it was such a hard time in my life. Like everything in my life crumbled – my relationship with my partner at the time, my relationship with my family, my finances, my health and every aspect you could think of.”

Elina searched everywhere for help but found that there weren’t many ‘sleep experts’ available, and she could not find one who had been on a personal journey with sleep. 

“I think people must wonder why this is my profession. When I was a kid, I was like, “I’m going to be the first female prime minister of Australia,” she laughs, but I love what I do now and I’ve helped so many people transform. I see people who have seen other practitioners and spend thousands of dollars and have not gone anywhere.”

People find it so difficult to sleep due to high stress, anxiety or a racing mind, which generates an imbalanced nervous system. However, stress and anxiety can be difficult to identify at times especially because people are so used to living with stress. 

Not to worry, Elina shares a useful, easy, cheap and simple technique – breathing. 

“I just invite people to check in with their breathing because the body never lies… Are you breathing from the upper chest or belly?” Breathing from the upper chest is a sign of stress and anxiety. Other signs include muscle tension, posture, a fast heart rate and blood pressure. 

Elina is also an ambassador for Emma – a company that delivers comfy, eco-friendly mattresses. She says that mattresses “affect how we sleep, how comfortable we sleep and how we get woken up from sleep.” She continues to say, “if you’ve got a partner, and they’re tossing and turning, certain mattresses prevent disturbance.” She recommends that women sleep on zero-disturbance mattresses because women tend to find it more difficult to fall asleep than men, especially during menopause. Emma mattresses utilise high-quality foams that shape the body and regulate the body’s temperature, guaranteeing a blissful, sleep retreat-esque night at home.  


How can sleep retreats help with sleep? 

Sleep retreats are being sought out as they combine the simple pleasures of a getaway while simultaneously improving mental and physical wellness through sleep – an essential ingredient to improved overall health and wellbeing. 

With clients in Australia, Europe and the United States, Elina has spent years researching, understanding and full-proofing effective methods to overcome insomnia and help people sleep seamlessly. Combined with her profound knowledge in hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, sound therapy, cognitive re-patterning, coaching and brain-mapping and personal experience, Elina is well-versed in the world of sleep and certainly knows how to conduct a retreat. 

Elina mentions that in her retreats, she helps to attune people’s bodies so that they can understand how to shift from a state of stress and anxiety to a state of deep relaxation. Sleep retreats help sleep come more naturally to the person by rewiring the nervous system. From running soundbars, swimming in the sea and eating delicious balanced meals, sleep retreats afford the best techniques that encourage a better night of z’s. 

Sleep retreat

Here are some of the best sleep retreats to embark on.  


The Sleep Expert’s Sleep Retreats, Bondi, NSW

Run by Elina, this sleep retreat runs from three days to ten days – however, she recommends opting for the ten-day option as it guarantees a lifestyle change in sleep.

The retreat has two components, one is all about learning, which teaches the foundations of a great night’s sleep – this includes how to minimise stress and anxiety and how to become more skilled at deep relaxation.

The second component is about putting theory to practice. Participants are pampered during massages, sound therapy, massages, sound therapy, saunas and healing sessions.

The retreat also encourages healthy, organic and tasty eating. Elina says that the best part about the experience for the participants is getting the chance to form close, unexpected bonds with others at the retreat at the same time. She says, “people leave with a completely new perspective on, and experience of sleep.” 

To embark on this sleep retreat, simply contact Elina


Samadhi Wellness Spa Retreat,  Glenlyon, VIC

Samadhi offers a unique, 3 to 4 night, retreat experience in regional Victoria. Samadhi is a well-respected sleep retreat provider, with over 20 years of experience. In Hindu yoga, Samadhi describes the highest state of consciousness one can achieve through meditation. By embodying this, the Samadhi wellness spa retreat aims to result in the ultimate state of bliss at the end of a yoga practice. With luxury accommodation, gourmet organic breakfast and dinner and guided meditation, the program follows feng-shui principles and holistic healing. Mindfulness is improved through meditation, qi gong and yoga and the beautiful nature, blocking out the anxieties of city life. 


Six Senses, Fiji

The 3-7 night Six Senses sleep retreat experience IN FIJI is made ideally for yogis. This program fuses wellness therapies with yoga sessions and meditation to induce ultimate relaxation. Each villa, located on its own private island of Malolo, is inspired by the natural beauty of Fiji blended with elegant interiors. They feature pools, decks and outdoor showers and baths, overlooking some gorgeous ocean views. At Six Senses, you’ll escape the pressures of the city life and unwind in the oasis, spending your time watching exquisite sunsets, kayaking, relaxing on hammocks and glorious pamper sessions.


Elysia Wellness Retreat, Hunter Valley, NSW

Elysia Wellness retreat seeks to optimise sleep patterns by focusing on the balancing of the mind, body and spirit. The four-night, all rounded wellness programs run from Wednesday through to Sunday and feature accommodation, wellness treatments, wellness seminars, welcome consultations, nutritious and delectable meals, retreat facilities, daily group classes and guest speakers. Set in Hunter Valley’s utopia, clear your mind and restore your body with the energy and peace that it needs. 


Kamalaya, Thailand

Located in tropical Koh Samui, Thailand, Kamalaya’s sleep enhancement program offers programs that span 7 or 9 days, assuring that your sleep experience improves and lasts. Rather than having a given itinerary, Kamalaya allows guests to change or eliminate particular wellness treatments and substitute them with other activities. The retreat specialises in Chinese medicine and ayurvedic methods which accompany modern-day technology to stabilise the body’s circadian rhythm and tranquilises the nervous system. 


Revivo Wellness Resorts, Bali

Revivo’, which means ‘I’ll live again’ in Latin, specialises in health and wellness experiences that result in the best overall happiness. This retreat, in the heart of Bali, combines yoga, pilates, meditation and spa treatments to ensure a blissful night’s sleep. The program also comes with a food menu from ‘Nutrio’ that caters to your dietary requirements as well as your sleep goals. Also, Revivo offers calming sleep rituals like a lavender bath ritual, lavender face cleansing ritual, mandala meditation and rhythmic breathing meditation lamp. Each program starts with a minimum 3-night stay. Before embarking, you are required to complete an eight-step questionnaire that will help Revivo to cater to your personal retreat needs. 


Eden Health Retreat, Currumbin Valley, QLD

Want to take a digital detox but don’t have the self-control – this retreat will most definitely help you succeed. Here, at Eden, you won’t find any mobile phone service, or TVs and computers. Instead, you’ll see a pool, a 200-metre zipline, a stellar, heated outdoor swimming pool, pottery sessions and spa treatments. Located in the Gold Coast hinterland of Currumbin Valley, you’ll find it easy to disconnect, recharge and undertake the most unforgettable, illuminating experience of your life. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Alicia Potts
    20/03/2023 at 10:05 am

    Great article! I think these sleep retreats are going to be a really big thing.

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