This dreamy re­treat will send you to sleep

Daily Mail - - Travel Mail - JANE ALEXAN­DER

WE’RE a na­tion of in­som­ni­acs — and I’m one of them. Now the travel in­dus­try has cot­toned onto the prob­lem and ‘sleep re­treats’ are be­ing set up faster than you can count sheep. So in search of slum­ber, I head off to Vale de Moses, in a re­mote Por­tuguese val­ley. It’s a long jour­ney and I ar­rive grumpy, ir­ri­tated and ex­hausted. I stum­ble off to bed, barely notic­ing my sur­round­ings. Stars blaze across the val­ley. Out­side, it’s al­most spook­ily silent. In­side, my over­ac­tive mind is yelling like a teenager. I sigh and open my book — it’s go­ing to be an­other long sleep­less night. At 7.30am, 16 of us blink blearily at one an­other as ex­u­ber­ant host Ol­lie leads us on a ‘med­i­ta­tion walk’. The ter­rain is steep and I have to con­cen­trate on stay­ing up­right. At the top of the hill I pause and gaze at the shim­mer of olive and fir and, far below, the pewter wink of wa­ter. It’s beau­ti­ful but frankly I’m too tired to care. Back at the ranch, co-owner Vonetta is wait­ing to put us through two hours of yoga. We’re a mixed bunch of yoga adepts and ab­so­lute be­gin­ners and Vonetta leads with saintly com­pas­sion. Curl­ing up on your mat and snooz­ing is more than ac­cept­able. Over three af­ter­noon sem­i­nars, sleep ex­pert Dr Ne­rina Ram­lakhan gives the the­ory of sleep. She coaches ev­ery­one from Premier­ship foot­ballers to MPs. There’s some un­com­fort­able shuf­fling as we’re told to break our phone habits, drink less cof­fee and knock the al­co­hol on the head. It’s all very lovely, but my scep­ti­cism is on high alert. So is my mind and I spend the next night try­ing all Dr Ne­rina’s sleep aids — from lov­ing each bit of my body, through ly­ing with my legs up the wall of my sim­ple farm­house bed­room, to breath­ing like a ninja. How­ever, on the third night the mir­a­cle hap­pens. I don’t just sleep, I over­sleep. I wake up and re­alise I’ve not only missed the morn­ing walk, but the yoga ses­sion too. I trip-trap down to break­fast with a tri­umphant smile. Vale de Moses is a sim­ple, friendly setup — if you want high luxe or fancy spa fa­cil­i­ties look else­where. If you want to be en­ter­tained 24/7 it is also not for you. Here there is swathes of time to ex­plore, swim, or (hope­fully) snooze. I left feel­ing as if my whole sys­tem had been bathed in one of those wild Por­tuguese moun­tain streams. Back home, my sleep still isn’t per­fect but it’s about ten times bet­ter than it was and it’s im­prov­ing all the time. Just what the sleep doc­tor or­dered.

Drift off: A re­mote Por­tuguese ranch could help cure your in­som­nia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.