Bedtime routines – How the globe goes to bed

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Ever wondered if how you sleep is influenced by where you live? Is your culture determining how much you sleep?

 

Last week we compared the sleep patterns of those living in the UK, Germany, Japan, America, Canada and Mexico thanks to groundbreaking research titled ‘the National Sleep Foundation 2013 International Poll’. This week we look at the bedtime routines of these nations and find some fascinating differences.

  • The only country polled that sleep with less than two pillows? No surprises here - the Japanese of course. The Japanese prefer one pillow and in fact ten percent of the Japanese and Mexicans interviewed go without a pillow altogether.
  • The Japanese were also the country most likely to sleep alone in their own bed despite having a souse/partner as well as the most likely to wash their bedding only once every 3 weeks.
  • Americans are sharing their beds with pets more than any other whilst, Mexicans had the highest rate of co-sleeping with their children. Mexicans were also the most likely to change their sheets more than once a week and make their beds everyday. Setting a good example for their children? Perhaps. Having to change the bedding because of child-related spillages. I think so.
  • Those from the US and Canada are the most likely to sleep with their socks on. The country most likely to sleep in the nude? This I did find surprising due to their chilly climate - its the Brits. Yup, the Brits are by far the most adverse-to-wearing-pyjama nation. But at least they keep their blinds closed while they sleep. It seems that more than a third of Germans and Mexicans sleep with their curtains/blinds/shades open through the night.
  • Watching TV is a very popular past time. Half to two-thirds of those interviewed watched TV within the hour before going to bed. Other popular alternatives were using a laptop or electronic device such as a tablet.
  • Mexico and the US were the most likely to meditate and/or pray as well as take a warm shower/bath before bedtime.
  • The Brits had the strongest reading culture with 42% reading a print magazine/book before bedtime. They were also the most likely to drink a soothing beverage - a cup of tea and a little reading? Again not a surprising outcome.
  •  All Germans interviewed air out their bedrooms once a week or more and 62% disagreed with the statement that the scent of lavender or jasmine improve their sleep. The Germans, it seems, simply love fresh air.
  • The Japanese seem the least aware of smell as they did not value a pleasant smelling room and disagreed that unpleasant smells (such as mould, body odour and antiseptic) detract from their sleep. My theory is that if the Japanese are not picking up on these smells then perhaps that is why they are not taking active steps to air out their bedroom or changing the bedding regularly? Or perhaps because they are sleeping alone they are less aware of unpleasant smells as it is their own harder-to-smell odour. We need more studies please!

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