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How People Around The World Prefer To Sleep

Just like there is a difference between languages, sleep habits around the world also differ. Read on to discover how they vary.

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Have you ever wondered are sleeping habits identical to every corner of the Earth?

Do people sleep in the same positions, do they have the same sleeping needs, or do they all sleeping in big and comfortable beds, or do they prefer sleeping on the floor?

You might be surprised to hear that people have different sleeping habits and that they tend to sleep in their unique way. In fact, how we sleep depends on societal norms.

Some of us use sleep based on our age, while others prefer more naps and shorter sleeping hours, while some prefer to cut their working hours to two and have a siesta around noon.

It all depends on where you are based, and what are the norms in a specific country.

Sleep Habits Around The World

Do you love naps during your working hours? Move to Japan. People of Japan practice inemuri – which stands for ‘sleeping on duty’.

This unusual practice is well-accepted and no one would judge you for choosing to take a nap.

Yes, many claim that this practice is so popular there because people in Japan have overworked culture, so napping is seen as a luxury.

Did you know that Japan so a safe country that even police officers can nap freely during their working hours, without being afraid of losing their jobs? No one stills anything – they prefer to avoid drama and nap instead.

On the other hand, if you would love to have a daily two-hour break for sleeping, you shoudl head toward Europe, and visit Spain.

This country is known for their tradition of siesta – a two-hour break reserved for sleeping and recharging around noon.

Sleep experts claim that this is closely linked with climate, and is a common practice in warmer countries.

Do you know how you feel more tired around noon when based close to the sea?

Siesta is a simple way to help people in places with hot climates to go through the day better. Siesta is also present and practiced regularly in most Latin American countries.

Where you live matters. Are you based in an area where white nights are a normal occurrence, or where the rainy season occurs frequently?

For example, in Norway long hours of daylight in the spring always push locals to sleep less, as the extra light from the Midnight Sun makes people feel energetic and lively.

In Northern Norway, you can see people doing everyday things at midnight, like mowing the lawn, drinking coffee, or going for a hike.

This part of the country hosts many festivals in the summer and many last until midnight.

For tourists that can not handle these habits, hotels, and stay-ins always organize blackout curtains that can keep the light out.

Unique Sleeping Habits Around The World

As you can see, every corner of the world has its own practices and habits. Let’s take a look around the globe and see what else people practice in different countries when it comes to sleep.


Germany has a very interesting sleeping habit. There, if a couple shares a bed, they still love to have their own space.

In fact, they would have a personal-sized duvet known as a daunendecke rather than one large blanket.

This way they keep peace at night. They also love to air out their bedrooms to sleep better, and they would never use a flat top sheet.


In Iceland, people believe that sleeping outside is great for a person’s health. So, when you decide to visit this country don’t surprise when you see people sleeping outdoors.

They believe that even babies should sleep outside, so they could better adjust to the local environment. It’s common to see babies taking naps outside in the cold.

Did you know that Iceland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world?

With that in the mind, it comes as no surprise that parents aren’t worried about anything bad happening when they leave their young ones outside restaurants, coffee shops, and so on.


Babies in France sleep well. Not only that babies sleep for hours, but they do tend to sleep through the night as early as 10 weeks old.

Sleep experts believe that this has something to do with a special French technique called ‘the pause,’ which occurs when parents wait before rushing in to soothe a crying baby.

This way they do their best to see if a baby would connect naturally with its two-hour sleep cycles on their own.


Finland’s government loves babies! According to many, there is a routine that the Finnish government loves to keep moving.

Tradition is that expectant mothers always receive a box full of supplies, like sheets and toys, for their babies. Isn’t it great? Plus, cardboard boxes serve as cribs for newborns.


In Guatemala, people love worry dolls. They are usually used to accompany children to bed at night when they are scared of the dark, or have nightmares.

Kids love to whisper to the worry dolls about what rests on their soul, and what is troubling them.

They usually place them underneath their pillows before bedtime so they can sleep without fear and peacefully.

This way they will always have dulces sueños, sweet dreams. This is a Mayan custom that the people of Guatemala love to practice.

Dolls serve as a kind of an anchor as they accumulate your worries, fears, and stresses.

Children even give the dolls comfort by rubbing their little bellies to make sure that they don’t suffer from carrying all the stress.


Around 80% of the Mexican population is Catholic, and for them praying before bed is standard.

According to a 2013 National Sleep Foundation survey, 62% of Mexicans said that they pray or meditate one hour before going to sleep.

This ritual helps them deal with their problems better and provides them a sense of calm and peace, which may lead to deeper sleep.


To many, India has very interesting local folklore and original practice, when it comes to sleep especially.

For example, in South India, women tie their hair up at night before going to sleep to avoid being possessed.

They would also choose to keep water near the bed because the soul may want to leave the body at night, and no one wants to have a thirsty soul.

In some parts of India, people may sleep avoiding pointing their heads toward the North because folklore says that the elephant whose head went to the Hindu God Ganesha would sleep that way.


Similar to Japan, naps are very popular in Vietnam. In fact, naps are a routine part of a lunch break, which usually lasts for two hours.

People usually bring their neck pillows with them to work and use them durign a lunch break to snooze off. Even students have a midday nap.


The famous indigenous Kung tribe from Botswana insisting on sleeping only when they are tired, regardless of the time of day. They sleep as long as they naturally need to get a good rest.

Plus, they enjoy practicing polyphasic sleeping, which is several different sleep sessions throughout the day when needed.

People around the world have different sleeping habits. Some may sound unusual or strange to you, but for others, they are perfect just as they are – because they do the work.

You may love to go to bed around midnight, while people in Belgium love to be in bed by 10:30 PM.

You may adore hammock on the beach with comforting guitar sounds, but babies in Switzerland see them as their bed.

Newborns in Switzerland are typically placed in a hängematten, a type of hammock, for sleep.

The idea here is to save parents, mostly mom’s hands, from rocking the baby. This way baby gets mandatory rocking and literally puts himself or herself to bed.

Tips For Better Sleep

Here are some basic tips that could help you sleep better and sounder from the North Pole to South Africa.

Enjoy your sleep by implementing the best tips into your routine:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time
  • Drink coffee only if you have to and at the right time
  • Avoid heavy exercise before bedtime
  • Create a sleeping routine
  • Learn how to handle jet leg
  • Learn to recognize symptoms of major sleeping disorders
  • If you have trouble sleeping, visit your doctor
  • Eat healthy and avoid heavy foods close to bad time
  • If needed, take a sleep vacation
  • Avoid screening before bed

The Bottom Line

No matter where you might be based, it’s important to understand just how important sleep is for your health and well-being.

Sleeping well is mandatory if you want to have peaceful nights, good blood pressure, and avoid major sleep disorders.

Do you need to lose weight? You need to start with sleep – have a sleeping routine, avoid caffeine and alcohol and start drinking tea that promotes sleep. No matter where are you from, just sleep well.

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