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8 Sleep Traditions From Across the Globe

by Waverly Wilde

Sleeping may be universal, but each culture rests their eyes a little differently.

Bring Your Bedroom to Work

In many factories and office buildings throughout China, the bedroom and the workspace are becoming interchangeable. Due to increased labor demands and longer working days, it has become common practice to allow a brief nap after lunchtime to increase productivity. Certain industries have even installed sleeping facilities within the office space to encourage employees to work around the clock.


In most cultures, taking a nap while on the job would be a sign of disrespect and laziness, but in Japan, employer’s are advocating for naps. The hectic, fast-paced lifestyle in the Japanese culture has led to the shift of “inemuri,” or sleeping on duty. Taking a midday nap is quite widespread and can be seen as a sign of hard work. 

Napping has started to replace sufficient sleep patterns over the past decade as cultural pressures value work over sleep--so workers turn towards their much-needed naps to make up for the lack of sleep at home.


The siesta is perhaps the most familiar of all the daytime sleeping traditions as the name has been adopted well beyond Latin America. A siesta is typically taken around lunchtime and can last from 2-4 hours each day. The only real frustration comes from tourists who discover many attractions, shops, and restaurants are closed during the middle of the day for country-wide naps.

Napping in the Cold

If you take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Norway, Denmark, Finland, or other Nordic communities, you might come across babies left outside in the cold sleeping in their strollers. Wrapped in layers of warm clothing, babies peacefully sleep unattended while their parents shop or grab a cup of coffee. It is believed that as long as infants have the proper clothing, exposure to extreme cold can be beneficial to their health--even in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius.

Fear of Sleep

For many, work-induced stress prevents us from achieving a good night’s sleep. In Indonesia, fear sleep is the solution to neutralizing worrisome thoughts during the night. The name isn’t as frightening as it sounds--the practice of fear sleep enables you to doze off almost instantly to prevent excessive feelings of anxiety and stress. Nodding off when your boss passes by isn’t recommended, but regular naps can help minimize any work-related anxiousness.

Creating Your Own Sleep Schedule

It’s common practice to go to sleep when the sun goes down, but not in the South African country of Botswana. An increased tourist population and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world means there isn’t much time for a typical 8 hours of sleep. The community is well-known for sleeping solely when tired, no matter the time of day. With increased contract and remote-based work, it’s possible businesses could start to embrace this self-chosen sleep cycle to match the growing number of flex-time work schedules. 

Nap Pods

In the Western world, there is typically an emphasis on privacy and independence; however, the embrace of communal sleeping is starting to trickle down to the States. It’s slowly becoming common practice amongst the biggest employers to promote sleeping on the job. Technology and software companies in Silicon Valley are leading the charge in the napping revolution, with sleep pods being installed at major firms like Google. Employees can sleep amongst their coworkers and colleagues to help rest and recharge their batteries during the day.

Families That Snooze Together

It’s common in most cultures to have your own bedroom space to sleep at night. However, in countries like Afghanistan and Mexico, the bedroom isn’t always an official space in the home. There is very little concern for having a dedicated bedroom for each member of the family, and instead, families will share one room. They will even fold up the bedding and put it away each morning to allow the room to be used for alternative purposes throughout the day.

If you feel like you always need a nap during the day, stop by today and we’ll help you find the right mattress to test out some of these sleep traditions.