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A womb with a view to end sleepless first nights

Nothing acts as a greater hindrance to sleep than its conscious pursuit.

Mutter the words ‘I could really do with forty winks’ and the chances are that Hypnos, Morpheus and all the counted sheep in the world will fail to bring about your long-desired slumber.

So I am intrigued, and a little sceptical, to hear about a new hotel in London, which promises residents ‘the best night’s sleep possible’ – and the option to sleep, quite literally, like a baby.

The Zed Rooms (in Shoreditch) has a room modelled on the womb.

The Woom – get it? – features an intricate cocoon-like bed, which has been designed, according to the press release, to ‘mimic the safety and security of a womb, so you sleep like a baby’.

Thankfully the designers didn’t take their brief too literally.

There is no amniotic fluid, or placenta, thank God, and the endless rocking motion and almighty din babies are supposed to hear in utero are absent, too. Otherwise, just like a womb.

The alternative option is The Loom, which ‘just’ (take nothing for granted) sounds like a very pleasant room, draped in ‘luxurious, ethereal fabrics’ and fragranced with scented oils. Nice.

The boutique hotel is a joint venture between serviced apartments Cuckooz and mattress makers Simba, with input from ‘atmosphere curators’ (real thing) Studio Stilton.

Designed to encourage REM-rich sleep, the rooms are also meant to counter First Night Effect. The latter – nothing to do with sexual performance anxiety – is where one half of the brain acts as a ‘night watchman’ in unfamiliar surroundings, resulting in a poor night’s rest.

They say sleep is the cousin of death, and waking up in a budget hotel can leave you yearning for an early check-out”

Conference delegates will vouch for the veracity of this phenomenon and the havoc it can wreak on a busy schedule, so any lessons room designers can take from The Zed Rooms are welcome indeed.

Strange to relate, I have discovered my own remedy for FNE: budget hotels. For some reason – the austere furnishings, perhaps, or just the mind-numbing lack of entertainment and F&B options – I have always slept soundly off-the-bat in EasyHotels, Travelodges and the like (other low-cost establishments are available).

It’s as though, in the bleak starkness of these places, hangs an inescapable message: You are Here to Sleep and Nothing Else, Loser. I can’t say, however, that I relish over-nighting on the cheap: they say sleep is the cousin of death, and waking up in a budget hotel can sometimes leave you yearning for an early check-out. Give me a lavender-scented womb with a view and I’ll still take my chances…