DENHAM - The Crowne Plaza hotel in Leeds is exclusively trialling seasonal check-out times for guests after research uncovered two thirds of its customers find it harder to get out of bed during the winter.
Out of 2,000 guests surveyed by the hotel chain, 1,338 people said they wished they could stay in bed longer during the winter months (67 per cent). In Leeds the figure was even higher with 72 per cent of customers staying at the hotel in Wellington Street saying they wished they could stay in bed longer.
The results prompted Crowne Plaza to take the results to sleep expert, Dr Chris Idzikowski, who confirmed the sound scientific reasoning that makes it harder for humans to wake up on winter mornings.
However, Dr Idzikowski said it is not winter depression, seasonal affective disorder, the cold, or any other syndrome that makes it harder for humans to wake up in the winter, but something much simpler - the absence of light!
As a result the hotel is pioneering seasonal check-out times at the Crowne Plaza in Leeds which will allow guests to check out at 4pm on a Saturday or Sunday - four hours later than the hotel's regular 12pm check out time - during the duration of winter.
Dr Idzikowski said, "The stats are right: it is harder for humans to wake up in the winter.
"It's a lack of light, not the cold, which makes it harder for us to wake up on winter mornings.
"People feel like they want more sleep in the winter because the dawn light that kick starts a person's body clock to get them ready for waking doesn't appear until much later in the morning."
On the longest days of the year in June the sun rises at around 4.45am in the UK. On the shortest days of the year in the UK, in December and January, the sun doesn't rise until 8:05am, almost three and a half hours later.
Dr Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, which treats people with sleep disorders, added: "The presence of light is 70 to 80 per cent responsible for waking us up in the morning.
"Even when you're lying in bed with your eyes shut your eyelids will transmit about 20 per cent of light through to the retina.
"If you want to feel more like waking up in the winter you need to have some kind of light source to start your body clock.
"Setting a lamp on a timer to turn on in your bedroom can help you simulate a morning light and make you feel more like wanting to wake up in the winter."
The Crowne Plaza survey established that of those guests who wanted extra sleep, three quarters said they required an extra half an hour in bed on weekends. Meanwhile one fifth (21.45 per cent) said they needed more than half an hour more in bed. In Leeds this figure rose to 27 per cent.
After consultation with the sleep expert, Crowne Plaza Leeds will be the first hotel in the group to trial later check-out times to see if guests receive a tangible benefit from the extra time in bed.
General Manager at the Crowne Plaza Leeds hotel, Matt Byram, said: "We commissioned this research because getting a great night's sleep is incredibly important to us and we wanted to understand how our guests' needs differed in the winter months. The results show that guests need extra special attention in winter and this lie-in trial coupled with our Sleep Advantage programme - which includes special holistic sleep packs and designated quiet zones - should ensure they are ready for any challenge the next day brings."