Sleep Habits Around The World

Travel the globe and you’ll see that sleep habits vary immensely. From sleeping at work to sleeping outside, here are just a few sleep stories from around the planet.


In Bali, when people experience an intense fear, they can put themselves into a meditative sleep known ‘todoet poeles.’ Sleep is an effective way of removing stress.


Hammocks help sleepers avoid insects and snakes. They are so important to the people of the Yucatán in Mexico that every home has hammock hooks on the walls.

 Woman sleeping in hammock at home

In Japan, falling asleep at work is often seen as a positive sign. It’s called inemuri, which means ‘present while sleeping.’ Unlike some countries, working overtime in Japan is part of the work culture. Long hours, usually 10 hours or more, show diligence, but to stop over exhaustion, employers allow workers to sleep at work to improve productivity.


In traditional Pacific island societies such as the Solomon Islands, villages do not have beds, but will roll a grass mat on the floor and sleep on that.


In Australia, the Aboriginal Warlpiri people sleep together in a yunta, or in a row, with the youngest, oldest and sickest in the middle and the fittest on the outside.


In Norway, it’s common to see baby sleeping outside in their prams – even in freezing temperatures. Norwegians believe that sleeping outside improves the immune system. At kindergarten, they sometimes have outside beds, including one for the teacher.


Swedes and deans swear by buffing – placing a baby on its tell me and tapping its bottom rhythmically until he or she goes to sleep.


The British are partial to a cup of tea or a warm, Milky drink before they go to sleep.


Swiss babies are put in hängematten or hammocks after birth to mimic the movement of the womb.


Today’s Egyptians have similar polyphasic sleep routines to their ancient ancestors. The co-sleep at night for six hours but have an Egyptian version of a siesta - a ta’assila - for around two hours in the afternoon.


In Botswana, the Jul’hoansi people of the Kalahari desert have no bedtime and simply sleep when they are tired.


Guatemalan children sleep with a worry doll, called muñeca quitapena, under their pillow. Children tell the doll their worries and in the morning the doll has taken them away.