30 sleep habits from around the world | Health and Fitness – Hickory Daily Record

Posted: December 4, 2020 at 4:53 am


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From sleeping hammocks to siestas, Sunday Citizen looks at how people from around the world get their sleep, according to scientific research and news articles.

If theres one thing everyone in the world has in common, its sleep. At some point during each 24-hour period, we shut our eyes, quiet our minds, and recharge our bodies. While scientists are still researching the ins and outs of how sleep works, we know this core function brings about a slew of benefits for our mental and physical health.

Research shows that sleep impacts stress hormones and growth, bolsters the immune system, helps regulate our breathing and blood pressure, and improves our cardiovascular health. A long-term lack of sleep may mean missing out on these benefits, and can put you at greater risk for serious medical conditions ranging from stroke to seizuresnot to mention shortening your life expectancy.

Beyond the health benefits and the essential nature of sleep for all humans, catching some zs can look very different from person to person and culture to culture. At bedtime, American millennials might tuck themselves into a set of bamboo sheets atop a memory-foam mattress they ordered online. Their Japanese counterparts, however, may roll out a traditional tatami matand pile it up with a shikibuton (a kind of thin cotton mattress) and kakefuton (duvet stuffed with silk fibers)before resting their heads on a buckwheat hull pillow.

To learn more about sleep habits from around the world, Sunday Citizen took a look at scientific research on how sleep duration, quality, and other factors vary by country. We also read reports from news outlets including Fodors, The New York Times, NPR, Healthline, Thrillist, Refinery29, and the BBC, searching out all the ways people get their 40 winks.

Keep reading to discover 30 sleep habits from around the world, from midday siestas and napping at the office to elevating beds with bricks and drifting off in a hammock.

Spain has long practiced the tradition of the siestaa two-hour break reserved for sleeping and recharging around noon. The convention has spread to many other places with hot climates, particularly Latin American countries.

Despite the hot, humid weather of summer, you wont find many older South Koreans cooling off with an electric fan while they sleep. Some in that generation believe in the old wives' tale of fan death, a South Korean superstition that warns that you may die if you fall asleep next to an electric fan.

While many people in Western countries reset their beds in the morning, many in Afghanistan do so at night. Thats because Afghans use their bedrooms for many other purposes during the day. After waking, blankets get folded and mattresses pushed to the side to open the room up for daytime use.

Parents in Guatemala often place a small handmade toy known as a worry doll under their childrens pillows at bedtime. Legend has it that these colorful dolls soothe worries that creep up at night, when theres little else left to distract the mind, and help kids get a good night's rest.

Its not uncommon to see an office worker in Japan take a nap in the middle of the workday, according reporting from the New York Times. Rather than being seen as a sign of laziness, office naps are viewed as indicators of having worked especially hard.

French babies are known to sleep through the night as early as 10 weeks old, according to Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bebe. She attributes this phenomenon to a technique called the pause, in which parents wait before rushing in to soothe a crying baby in order to see if the infant can connect his or her two-hour sleep cycles on their own.

Many Nordic and Scandinavian parents dont think twice about putting their babies outside in their carriage for an afternoon nap. Al fresco naps continue all year roundeven in winter, when temperatures in cities like Stockholm regularly plummet to 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

A 2013 survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that 62% of Mexicans pray or meditate before bedtime. The figure was 15 percentage points higher than the number of Americans who do the same thing.

Forager groups in Botswana dont have set sleeping and waking times. Instead, they drift off whenever they feel like it, whether its in the middle of the day or late at night, according to anthropologist Carol Worthman.

Members of indigenous groups in Australia have a marked cultural preference for co-sleeping, according to anthropologist Yasmine Musharbash. They often lay out their beds in row-like patterns called yuntas, with the most vulnerable people (like kids) in the middle andadults at the ends.

A 2018 poll from Furniture Choice found that 23% of Brits choose to sleep naked. Catching some zs in the nude is associated with health benefits like better sleep, clearer skin, and even improved male fertility.

Sleeping with a blanket hog? Make like German couples and get a separate duvet for each person. The sleeping tradition is also found in Austria and Scandinavia, and has inspired product launches from Ikea.

Like the Spanish siesta, Italians have their own midday nap known as a riposo. It usually starts just after lunchtime and lasts for two to four hours.

The Chinese practice of feng shui discourages people from placing mirrors opposite the bed. The philosophy is that mirrors can bounce energy across a room, which can interfere with peaceful rest..

Some indigenous groups in South Africa elevate their beds using bricks. Keeping your bed high off the ground supposedly helps protect you from the tokoloshe, a mythical creature that possesses its victims.

The community in Baependi, Brazil, has been shown to be one of the few remaining groups of people on Earth with pre-industrial sleeping habits. People there tend to go to sleep at 9:20 p.m. and wake at 6:30 a.m.

The Finnish government sends expectant mothers a box full of supplies, like sheets and toys, for their babies. The cardboard boxes can double as cribs for newborns.

A 2014 study of 8,070 people around the world revealed that Belgium women tend to have theearliest bedtimes. On average, they go to sleep around 10:30 p.m.

Newborns in Switzerland are typically placed in a hngematten, a type of hammock, for sleep. The idea is that the hammocks rocking imitates the swaying they experienced in the womb, creating a soothing effect.

Polyphasic sleep, which involves two or more phases of sleep (rather than one extended period of rest) throughout a 24-hour period, is not uncommon in Egypt. People there tend to sleep about six hours in the evening and about two hours in the afternoon.

Cuddling with people on both sides when youre getting ready for bed is common in Inuit communities in Northern Canada. Snuggling up helps people stay warm in their igloos.

In South India, many women make sure not to fall asleep with their hair down. Legend dictates hair should be tied up before bed in order for a woman to avoid becoming possessed.

Many people in countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Senegal, sleep beneath mosquito nets. The nets help prevent the spread of malaria from mosquito bites.

Bedtime doesnt usually come along until 10 p.m. or later for kids in Argentina, according to Sara Harkness, a professor at the University of Connecticut. Parents use their kids extra waking hours to focus on the social aspects of child development.

A 2016 study that tracked smartphone data from 20 countries found that people in Singapore have the shortest sleep duration. On average, they sleep about 7 hours and 24 minutes.

People in Slovakia have the best average sleep quality in the world, according to 2014-2015 data from 941,300 people who use the app Sleep Cycle. Malaysians, on the other hand, had the worst average sleep quality out of 50 countries.

It can still be light out late at night in northern Norway during the spring. The "Midnight Sun," as the phenomenon is called, keeps people up late, and its not uncommon to see people sipping coffee or even hiking at midnight.

Some people on the Indonesian island of Bali have developed a technique called fear sleep. When theyre stressed out, they can instantly fall asleep, according to anthropologist Carol Worthman.

When its time to go to bed on the space station, astronauts crawl into their own private sleeping quarters and strap themselves into special sleeping bags so they wont float around. Everything from the lighting and temperature to the noise and carbon dioxide levels is carefully regulated to promote optimal sleep.

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30 sleep habits from around the world | Health and Fitness - Hickory Daily Record

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December 4th, 2020 at 4:53 am

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