Sleep Habits Around the World

Each country has its own unique culture. So it is no surprise that this even extends to sleep.

Guatemala

  • Sometimes excessive worry keeps you awake at night. Therefore, worry dolls were born. These dolls are incredibly small and can be placed under a pillow. One doll for each worry. They are then placed under a pillow, so that the sleeper can relieve themselves of their worries.

Japan

  • Japan is named one of the top countries that sleeps the least. They average about 6 hours and 22 minutes a night. It is no surprise, then, that napping is a custom adopted by the Japanese. However, these naps are usually done in public; on a train, standing up, at a desk, or even in meetings. These naps are called “inemuri” or “to be asleep while present.” The idea is that a person is so fatigued from over working that they can’t help but nap.

Argentina

  • The kids usually go to bed around 10pm. This is considered late to many Americans, but in Argentina, children are encouraged to stay awake to partake in evening activities. Very often, dinner is served at 9pm. Don’t worry, many Argentine kids sleep in late too.

Afghanistan

  • Families have a multipurpose bedroom. Often, families will sleep together in the same room, and then in the morning, bed mats are rolled up to create a living room for sharing a meal.

Italy

  • Although, siesta is a Spanish word, Italians are known to also take siestas. Around midday they will close shop, go home, eat lunch, and nap. This proves beneficial because the body naturally gets tired around midday.

Bostwana and Zaire

  • They sleep when they’re tired. In hunter gatherer tribes like the !Kung of ­Botswana and the Efe of Zaire, they have no set sleep schedule. They sleep during the day, at night, really whenever they are tired. Sleep medicine scientists are saying that only sleeping when tired can actual prove beneficial in getting better sleep.

Fall Asleep Fast

Insomnia plagues many Americans. This can come in an acute or chronic form. One common cause is anxiety. It is hard to fall asleep when the mind is over thinking and it is even harder to stay asleep. A lack of sleep leads to waking up feeling drowsy and potentially even more anxious creating a vicious cycle. Here are some things to try to break up with insomnia.

During the Day
It is just as important to control your daytime routine in order to produce a solid night’s sleep.

  • Exercise
    • Exercise aids in everything! It is important to exercise for overall health as well as aiding in sleep. The other side of this is to remember to exercise during the day and not too close to bedtime.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
    • Caffeinated beverages are a stimulant making it hard to fall asleep. Alcohol may help aid in falling asleep, but actually reduces the possibility of staying asleep.
  • Avoid Naps
    • Sleeping during the day makes it harder to fall asleep at night.

 

Before Bed
A nighttime routine is the second line of sleep aid.

  • Light Dinner
    • It is important to not overeat at dinner time. Indigestion could keep you up at night. Also, don’t go to bed hungry, as hunger keeps you awake. Finding a happy medium is the key.
  • Hide Electronics
    • Bedtime is the time for sleep (and sex). Watching TV, scrolling through social media, and Netflix should be avoided as the blue light from screens keeps the mind awake. If you must, limit it to more than 30 minutes before sleep.
  • Cool Your Room
    • Recent studies show that the perfect sleep temperature is between 60-68° Fahrenheit. Your body temperature drops naturally to aid in sleep, so why not drop the temperature of your bedroom?

 

Routine
A regular routine is a sure fire way to make falling asleep more manageable.

  • Sleep and Wake Up at the Same Time
    • A routine helps aid in letting the body and mind know when it is time to sleep. It is enticing to sleep in on weekends, and newer studies even suggest sleeping in on weekends to catch up on sleep could be beneficial. However, try to not sleep more than an hour.
  • Posture
    • Posture has many benefits to health. Naturally, this can be carried over to sleep. Lying on your back and side is the healthiest positions for sleep.
  • Invest in a Comfortable Mattress *wink wink nudge nudge*
    • Many complain that an uncomfortable mattress is keeping them awake. The average human spends about 1/3 of their life in bed, so why not splurge on a mattress that will provide years of benefits, comfort, and cool?

Optimal Sleep Temperature

It’s no secret that sleep has vital health benefits, but then why is it so difficult to catch this much-needed shut eye? In a recent study by the Wall Street Journal, it was discovered that, when it comes to sleep, the temperature is more important than light and time.  65° Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature for sleep, and many people are setting the thermostat a bit higher than optimal sleeping temperature. According to Dr. Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, “If our core temperature is too high the brain cannot easily make the switch from being awake to being asleep, or create the best quality sleep.”

Throughout the day, the body’s core temperature is slowly dropping, helping to initiate and prepare the body for sleep. This could explain why the room feels colder when a person is tired or didn’t get enough sleep.

In 2008, a group of researchers in the Netherlands found that dropping body temperature, participants were able to fall asleep quicker and also obtained a deeper quality of sleep. “Other experiments that varied the ambient temperature—decreasing it early in the night and increasing it in the morning—have shown similar benefits for improving and maintaining sleep.”

Nowadays there is even a mattress with ATROS technology available to aid in cooling temperatures at night *wink wink nudge nudge* So, if this isn’t enough to convince you to sleep cooler, maybe our other articles will.