A chance to grab more than forty winks
Every parent understands why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture and anyone who has ever experienced insomnia will know that getting enough shut-eye is imperative in order to keep the body in full working order.
But although it is recommended that we all get an average of eight hours’ sleep a night, sometimes this just isn’t possible. So if researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of America are to be believed, keeping a few extra Zs in reserve could prove useful for times when sleep has eluded us.
Spokeswoman Tracy Rudd says that those who bank sleep are “more resilient during sleep depravation”.
“If you fill up your reserves and pay back your sleep debt ahead of time, you’re better equipped to deal with the sleep loss challenge.”
As much rest as necessary
So it was with this in mind that I headed to Lisnavagh House in Carlow where, on designated weekends, the stately home is turned into a “sleep farm” with the emphasis on allowing guests to get as much rest as necessary in between bouts of gentle yoga and freshly prepared, vegetarian cuisine.
Set in 800 acres, the impressive house built in 1847 has been home to the Bunbury family for several generations and the current occupants are William Bunbury and his wife Emily who, as well as being mother to three young children, runs the sleep retreats and grows lavender which she turns into bath oil and soap.
I arrived on a Friday evening, exhausted after the week but excited by the prospect of two whole days of unadulterated rest. I was welcomed with a glass of home-grown apple juice and shown to my bedroom which came complete with a gloriously plump-looking four-poster bed and a separate bathroom with a cast iron, claw-footed bath.
Relaxing and luxuriating
After a couple of hours spent relaxing in my room and luxuriating in front of the crackling fire in the library, I joined my fellow sleepers for our first yoga lesson.
Teacher Pamela Butler gave a short demonstration before encouraging us to follow her gentle, graceful movements – and over the two-hour session, we slowly relaxed and unwound in the oak-panelled room which was softly lit by the embers of an open fire.
Having finished the session, we made our way to the dining room where a magnificent display of organic food cooked by Rosebud Bunbury – who was born and bred in the house – was waiting for us.
After all the pampering, by 9.30pm I was itching to get on to the main event of the weekend. So bidding the other guests goodnight, I made my way upstairs and without even pausing to read one of the books and vintage magazines dotted around the room, I snuggled up under the feather-filled duvet and was asleep within minutes.