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Harvesting Happiness Global Sleep HabitsSleep Habits of Cultures Around the Globe

Everyone on the planet needs sleep, as it is a universal need, but do sleep habits differ depending on where you live on the planet?  The answer is a resounding yes!  Sleep habits certainly vary between cultures and countries and the differences are largely due to the culture’s norms, values, and workplace environments.

The latest research on this topic is from The National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 International Bedroom Poll. Researchers conducted the poll using 1500 phone interviews from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.


The Results

Japan and the United States clocked in with the least amount of sleep per night at 6.5 hours on average. The lack of sleep causes approximately half to take daytime naps.  In Japan, napping on the job has become somewhat of a cultural tradition and they call this inemuri. Napping has been found to help people stay focused more throughout their work shifts, though most American employers do not condone napping on the job. The weekends provided ample opportunity for everyone in all countries to catch up on some sleep, with about 45minutes per night gained.


The Bedroom Atmosphere

If you’ve ever tried sleeping with a foul odor in the room, you’ll probably agree that fresh, pleasant smelling air is important for getting a good night’s sleep. Fresh air for sleeping was important to many people- especially the Germans, as they admitted to airing out their bedrooms at least once a week. Those in Mexico admitted that they slept better by having pleasant scents like lavender and jasmine in their bedrooms.



Sleep facts from around the world:

  • 62% of Mexicans and 47% of Americans meditate or pray before going to sleep, while about two-thirds in a recent survey report watching television prior to sleeping.
  • About 84% of Mexicans, Germans, Americans, and Brits admit that they sleep better if their bedrooms have a fresh scent.
  • About 42% of Brazilians report to taking regular naps. In Japan, only 12% take regular naps.
  • A recent AC Nielsen study on sleep habits around the world underlines these changing rhythms. According to the study. 64 per cent of India’s urban population wakes up before 7 a.m. highest in the world and 61 per cent sleeps for less than seven hours a day.
  • National Sleep Foundation CEO David Cloud states that, “Having a pleasant scent and a relaxing bedroom routine can contribute to a good night’s sleep. No matter what your nationality, you will spend about a third of your life in bed. Fresh air and a pleasant scent are great ways to improve your sleep experience.”


Sleep Problems

According to the University of Washington, “Poor sleep affects many people in all countries. Belgium had the highest numbers (32.2%) of people who said that they did not sleep well. Austria (10.4%), Germany (16.2%) and Portugal (16.3%) had the lowest numbers of people who did not sleep well. The  symptoms of poor sleep included awakenings at night, poor functioning during the day, sleepiness during the day and a reduced sense of well-being during the day.”



How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

How many naps do you take per week?

What can you do to assure that you are getting adequate sleep at night?


Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 4.32.13 PMIt is my continued desire to share knowledge about all things that help us thrive, flourish, create, maintain and share happiness. I can’t emphasize enough what a good night of restorative sleep does for our bodies, minds and emotions. In my experience as health and wellness editor at Sleep and Wellness Magazine I have been called upon to weave a user-friendly true story about the nature of our inner garden and the impact of “sleep-fulness” and sleeplessness upon our overall health and wellbeing. Modern life has made many aspects of the daily routine easier and at the same time, added volumes of stress that make the simple pleasures, such as a great sleep, somewhat illusive. When we learn to slow down and “be” with life, in life and immersed with presence and attention wonderful things can happen. Enjoy this series on the Magic of Sleep!

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