Did you know sleeping habits can hold cultural and historical significance in many countries? The way we think about sleep, it’s role in our lives, when it’s socially acceptable to sleep, and more varies from culture to culture. The seeds of some sleep practices have origins tied to economics while others are linked to group psychology. Today, we’re diving deeper into this phenomenon by sharing sleeping habits from around the globe that we might begin practicing ourselves!
- Japan: Amongst the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s not unheard of to spot workers napping on public transportation, park benches, and even in their own office spaces. This occurrence, known as Inemuri, began when Japan’s economy saw a huge boost in the 1960s and people in the workforce became busier. Inemuri isn’t discouraged, as napping is seen as a sign of hard work and broader productivity.
- Indonesia: Feel afraid? Fall asleep. That’s right. In situations of heightened tension, Indonesians have been known to take naps to reduce stress and improve waking reactions. This sleep-related approach to improving your response to a given situation or stimulus is known as Todoet Poeles (meaning “fear sleep”). 
- Norway: How would you feel about rolling your infant out onto the lawn during a cold day to get some sleep? This practice (of letting infants nap outdoors when it’s cold) is common in many Nordic countries. It’s believed that tots sleep better and longer in the fresh air when properly bundled up against the elements.
- Spain: You might already be familiar with siestas given it’s one of the better-known sleeping habits worldwide. But did you know there are two different categories of siesta? One time slot is for the general class of workers while the other is for those who work at bars and restaurants. The origins of the siesta began as a way to escape and get a break from the sweltering Spanish heat. Though this isn’t practiced as widely now, it still holds cultural significance in the country.
While the way we think about and approach sleep may be in part a function of our local culture, the essential power of sleep is implicitly understood worldwide. Sleep is one of the few things we all do. And there are serious health consequences lying in wait if we don’t rest and recharge effectively. We, at Somnology, want to help you sidestep and reverse the (sometimes avoidable) pain points of poor sleep. Let us help you develop a better sleep custom.