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Community & Culture

8 Sleep Traditions from Around the World

If we can all agree on one thing it's that as human beings we all need sleep. But with that said, even how we sleep is unique from culture to culture. From what we wear to when we sleep, every country varies from the next in what is their sleep "norm."

Global Sleep Traditions

Here are eight sleep traditions from around the world that we find exceptionally fascinating:

  1. Sharing a bed. In the majority of nations, babies and children sleep with their parents. The US, UK and parts of Europe are the exception and expect children to sleep in their own rooms.
  2. Sleeping in the buff. More than one third of the UK population prefers to sleep in their birthday suits, which apparently has many health benefits, including better temperature regulation and bonding with your partner.
  3. Cozy up in a hammock. Dating back to colonial times in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula people slept on hammocks instead of beds. Regardless of what they say, we don't know how much we approve of this one — we're obviously team mattress, and there is no scientific evidence proving hammocks as superior to a good ole mattress.
  4. Room for activities. In Afghanistan, not only do family members all sleep in the same room, but come morning, they fold up their mattress and blankets to make room for daytime activities.
  5. Sleeping on the streets. In Scandinavia, it's not uncommon for parents to put their babies and children outside for nap time, even during the winter. Children also sleep outside during the day, while at daycare or on the sidewalk while their parents are inside a restaurant or strolling through a store. The belief at work here is that cold air is healthy for children.
  6. Night owl children. Although we like to put our kids to bed early in the US for some much needed "adult time," in Spain and Argentina, children often stay up late with their parents.
  7. Scheduled siesta. The Mediterranean countries (including Spain and Italy) appreciate sleep so much they have culturally ingrained siestas into their daily routines. Businesses will often close down after lunchtime for the scheduled nap time. The only downside: having to work later to make up for that nap.
  8. Not everyone needs TV. As a whole, most cultures can agree that watching TV is the most common pre-bed activity, Mexico and France are the exception. Mexico prefers mediation or prayer before bed, while in France they opt for a good meal with family and friends.

Of course, this list isn't exhaustive and there are many many more sleep traditions that we didn't touch on. Have experienced any unique or noteworthy sleep norms? Any complaints about Mattress Firm's list? Share with us, below!

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