FIVE SLEEP HABITS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Looking for ways to spice up your nightly shut-eye routine? Despite sleep being a universal activity, it seems like there are different ways of doing it. We’ve scoured the web and read books to find five sleeping habits from around the world that will inspire and bewilder you. Take cue from the world’s population before you hit the sack tonight. You might just find deliverance from the shackles of your phone that has you scrolling mindlessly before bedtime.
1. The Japanese Love to Nap in Public
We’ve all dozed off on the commute to work after burning the midnight oil, but the Japanese don’t engage in occasional shut-eye on the train, they “sleep while present” also known as inemuri. According to an article in the New York Times, the practice allows people to multitask, meaning they can take a nap wherever and whenever. It’s not uncommon to see an older man snoring at a marketing meeting, a well-dressed woman dreaming on a park bench or resting heads at a dinner table after an encounter with the Sandman. This culturally accepted practice is supposedly a sign of diligence and commitment to the situation they’re in.
2. The Mayan People in Guatemala’s Highlands Don’t Need the Sandman
From holy books under pillows to dream catchers over headboards, people have different ways of soothing their souls when trying to sleep and warding of nightmares. The indigenous people of Guatemala’s highlands have worry dolls. Dressed in traditional Mayan clothes, these dolls are created in wood, wire and colorful artisan fabrics and given to those whose worries prevent them from sleeping. The owners of the dolls are encouraged to share their worries with the dolls which they then place under their pillows. The dolls that are often given to children are said to absorb the owners’ anxieties so the owners can rest easy and wake up unbothered.
3. Jamaican Widowers Can be Superstitious
We all have our superstitions and Jamaicans are no exceptions. When a wife or husband passes away, the grieving spouse needs to stack up on some red underwear. The spouse is advised to wear red underwear to bed or tie a red string around his/her waist every night before going to bed until the burial. The reason? To prevent the spirit of the deceased spouse, or duppy as they call it, from coming back to sleep with his/her living partner. This practice is common among Haitians as well.
4. In the Americas, the Hour Before Bedtime is Sacred
In the midnight hour, some folks seem to feel a prayers power. According to a 2013 study by the National Sleep Foundation, 62 percent of Mexicans and 47 percent of Americans meditate or pray an hour before going to bed. This finding is no surprise though given the fact that 83 percent of Mexicans identify as Roman Catholics, while 76.5 percent of Americans practice religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. For the Brits, however, it’s the tea’s power that takes them to a deep slumber. Forty-three percent of those in the United Kingdom drink a soothing beverage such as tea.
"The Efe of Zaire sleep whenever they feel like it"- Carol Worthman in Discover Magazine
5. Sleep is fluid in some parts of Africa
We all remember when we’d get mad at our parents for setting a strict sleep schedule. Well, the reason we never liked the schedule might be because our ancestors never had one. Travel to the deserts of Africa and you’ll meet your childhood heroes, the sleep rebels. Anthropologist Carol Worthman told Discover Magazine that the !Kung of Botswana, aka the Bushmen or San, and the Efe of Zaire sleep whenever they feel like it. The Bushmen of Botswana sleep in a hole dug up in the sand near the fire and cover themselves with a cloak, usually leather. The fluid sleep behavior is however not exclusive to the hunter-gatherers in Africa. The Aché tribe of Paraguay have a similar sleep schedule and friends and family all sleep at the same hearth.