5 interesting sleep habits from around the world

Depending on what part of the world you are in, you may take part in a sleeping tradition that’s otherwise weird or unknown to people. Every country/culture sleeps in different ways, but here are a few that might make you want to scratch your head.

Siesta (Nap in Spanish)

A siesta is a short nap taken early in the afternoon and usually after a midday meal. Basically, you get to go home and sleep for about 2 to 3 hours, every day…EVERY DAY.  Typically shops, offices and almost the entire country stops running during the middle of the day.

Many countries that follow this tradition are typically warmer climate countries, in the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. This tradition dates back thousands of years and originated in Spain. Now, all of Spain, Italy, the Philippines, and most of Hispanic America follows this tradition.

The reason why siestas take place, in warm climate countries, is that high temperatures and heavy intake of food, during lunch, causes post-lunch drowsiness.  Many of these countries are extremely hot, making a midday nap necessary to get through the rest of the day.

Siestas have cardiovascular benefits as well. The siesta habit has been connected with a 37% reduction in death caused by heart problems.  Since your body is getting a good night’s sleep and a midday nap, your heart is less stressed and working at 100%.

People who take siestas typically wake up earlier, schedule more morning activities, and enjoy physical activity.

Sleeping Naked

In a sleep study produced by the National Sleep Foundation, people in the UK prefer to sleep naked. Specifically, 1/3 of Britons surveyed prefer sleeping in their birthday suits. Sleeping naked has many health benefits and can prevent a lot of problems in the long term.

A male’s sperm count grows significantly by sleeping nude. In a 2015 study done by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, sleeping in boxer shorts or PJs can damage your sperm count and hurt your chances of having kids.

With tight boxers, they increase the temperature of the testicles, which can decrease a man’s sperm count. By wearing loose underwear during the day and sleeping nude, a man can get a 25pc increase in sperm quality.

Sleeping in your birthday suit regulates your body temperature at night. Naturally, your body cools down once your asleep, but by wearing clothes, you disrupt the process. Sleeping without clothes help regulate your body heat normally and helps you get a deeper sleep.

Sleeping naked can help you lose weight. Wearing clothing can sometimes cause your body to overheat. When this happens, your body does not release the growth hormone, which repairs cells. When this happens, your cortisol (stress hormone) level stays high, causing an increase in night-time insulin.

When you overheat, your body goes into panic mode, instead of healing mode. This causes your body to store fat, instead of burning it, which could lead to diabetes and heart disease.

Compared to the rest of the world, people in the United States often sleep with their pets. According to a 2015 Harris Poll, three in five American’s own a pet and, 71% of those people let their pet sleep with them.  

Sleeping with pets can provide warmth, happiness, and relaxation, which all aid in getting a good night sleep. Pets can relieve insomnia, by keeping you calm, stress-free and feeling safe. Their presence takes away all the worries that keep you up at night.

Al-fresco Naps

In Scandinavian countries, it is common practice to leave your baby outside in the cold for naps. Yes, they literally leave their babies unattended in below zero temperatures. Scandinavian parents start this frigid napping routine, with their children, as early as two weeks old.  They park their kids in parks, city sidewalks, and terraces for up to 3 hours.

According to research done by Marjo Tourula of the University of Oulu in Finland, cold napping promotes better daytime sleep and increases the length of sleep. Scandinavian parents also suggested that their children are happier, more energetic, capable of sleeping in any environment and sleep better at night.

Many Scandinavian pre-schools host naptime outside daily, even in the middle of winter, and everyone is pretty much ok with this practice. Although this may be extreme to others, this is normal, everyday life for people in Scandinavian countries.

Praying before Bed

In Mexico, religion plays a huge part in everyone’s lives. Over 88% of the population, 5 years of age and older, identified themselves as Roman Catholic in the 2000 census.  Historically, Mexico has always been a religious country, with many people looking towards religion for comfort and security.

In a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, over 62% of Mexicans said they prayed/meditated within the hour of going to bed. Instead of falling asleep to TV or your cell phone, the quietness of prayer/meditation helps people get into deep sleep quickly.

Public Napping

In Japan, sleeping in public has become a culturally accepted practice. When you sleep in public, the Japanese sees this as a sign that you are working hard. Inemuri is the Japanese word for “sleeping on duty” and that’s exactly how sleeping in public is described.

Japanese people sleep on the train ride home, public parks, during the middle of meetings, dinner parties, and even city sidewalks. Although this tradition is for Japan as a whole, women often get criticized for partaking. Japanese women are even more judged if nap in an unflattering position.

Due to the safety of Japan, no one thinks twice about where they sleep. Japan has low crime and the thought of getting robbed does not cross the minds of Japanese people. Napping is a big part of Japanese culture and you will get praised for it, for all your hard work that led to the nap.

No matter where you are in this world, take your napping seriously and try to do it a few times a week. Sometimes your body needs a little recharge to get through the rest of the day.