To most moms (and dads!), eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is a relic from a past life, lost to crying babies, scary dreams or a snoring spouse. So when I heard about Timeless Spa & Salt Cave's Zen Bed, which purports to provide the restorative benefits of a night's sleep in only 30 minutes, I had to try it out.
On first glance, the Zen Bed looks like your average table, except this hard plank transforms into a soft mattress that submerges into a pool of hot water-without getting you wet. Wearing street clothes, I was covered with plastic sheeting that provided a pleasant weight, a nice counterbalance to the gravity-free feeling of floating in water. Jets of water underneath my back gave me a subtle massage, my favorite part of the experience.
The staff at Timeless credits the restorative effects of the Zen Bed to the light therapy, LED lights that cycle through different colors. I'll admit that I kept my eyes closed for most of the time, but they say the benefits from the lights are effective even then.
For someone like me, who has trouble "turning off" my mind in order to truly relax, it was helpful first to visit the eponymous Salt Cave, a room outfitted with a dozen reclining chairs and made from thousands of pounds of Himalayan salt, a mineral-rich salt that's thought to be especially restorative. The 45-minute session helped me to calm down enough that I could take full advantage of the restful Zen Bed experience.
I can't confirm that my time in the Zen Bed equaled a full eight hours of zzz's, but I do know that I emerged from the spa energized and more willing to take on my tasks of the day, including the grocery store, dinner and a full email inbox.
In other words: Mission accomplished.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.