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A Sound Idea

Looking to gain an edge with business travelers, the Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts brand has started marketing "quiet zones" in its nearly 200 properties worldwide, including 11 in Florida. No noise, housekeeping or maintenance is allowed on one floor, or 20% of each hotel, between 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Along with an eye mask, earplugs, lavender spray, a sleep CD, relaxation tips, a bathroom night light, a drape clip to prevent light from peeking through the curtains and neutral-colored luxury bedding, the "Sleep Advantage" program gives guests a guarantee they'll get a wake-up call on time and that no children, sports teams or late-night partiers will be booked in neighboring rooms.

Crowne Plaza, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, rolled out the program last fall after consulting with physician Michael Breus, co-founder of Sound Sleep LLC and "the Sleep Expert" on WebMD.

One caveat: The quiet zones typically are housed on "club floors," where the brand's frequent travelers stay in larger, pricier rooms and have a separate club lounge.

Quiet zones are harder to institute in Florida, which relies so heavily on leisure and convention travel, says Kevin Kowalski, Crowne Plaza's vice president of brand management.

But the trend is bound to grow in popularity even among leisure travelers as Baby Boomers age and start traveling more frequently without children. Spas and other retreats have long touted quiet zones for tourists.

In Key West, the 39-room Eden House uses them as a selling point for people who want a quiet getaway in a party town.

It's been a challenge to keep the peace, says owner Mike Eden. His staff uses a three-strikes-and-you're-in policy, asking guests to go to their rooms if they have to be reminded more than twice that they're not being quiet after 10 p.m. The resort has a policy posted by its pool, which is open 24 hours a day: "If we don't hear you, we don't see you."

Sleep Facts
- Your performance and alertness decrease when you're deprived of sleep. Symptoms: Memory impairment, lost cognitive ability. Missing just 1.5 hours of sleep for one night can decrease your alertness by up to 32%.

- You're twice as likely to suffer an occupational injury when you're sleep-deprived.

- Drowsy drivers account for at least 100,000 vehicle crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

- Sleep deprivation costs the nation $45 billion a year in lost productivity, increased healthcare bills and expenses related to traffic accidents.

Source: www.WebMD.com