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Sleep culture: bedtime traditions from around the world

Sleep: We all do it, and like food, water, and oxygen we all need it to survive.

But in what ways do we differ when it comes to sleep?
Here are some bedtime traditions, beliefs, and practices from around the world

Fear sleep – In Bali, Indonesia, many people practice a form of meditative sleep called “fear sleep” or “todoet poeles.” In a crisis situation, they can use this meditative tool to instantly fall asleep. When overwhelmed with anxiety-inducing situations, sleep is a great way to rejuvenate, reassess, and gather your thoughts.

There is no bad weather, only bad clothing – A Swedish saying.
In Scandinavia, it’s common to see babies sleep outside, rugged up in their prams on their own as opposed to inside in a cot. Being exposed to the (very) fresh air is considered important and a way to help prevent catching coughs and colds.

Nude sleep – 1/3 of Brits report sleeping naked, according to a recent survey. Sleeping naked speeds up your metabolism,  improves circulation and helps you bond with your partner.


Separate doonas – In Germany, it’s the norm for a couple to have one duvet each. Large square pillows are also favored over our standard rectangle shaped pillows.

inemuri – sleeping while present
Japanese people work long days and resting on average only 6 hours per night. To counteract this, people often have short daytime cat naps at work, on public transport or on park benches. 

No exclusive bedrooms
Rooms in Afghan homes serve multiple purposes. Mattresses and sheets are unfolded once it’s bedtime, and in the morning, they’re rolled up and put aside.

The Mayan civilization began weaving hammocks in 2000 B.C. In the 15th century, Europeans when the Spanish invaded the Americas or “the New World.” they saw an opportunity for using these beds aboard their ships to fit more crewmembers.
Many Mexican and Venezuelan people still choose the hammock as their primary bed.

Sleeping in Space
No gravity means no down, let alone lying down!
Weightless astronauts sleep basically tied to the wall in an odd mix of sleeping bag/straightjacket.

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