When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, you probably do most things the same way every day. You make sure there are fresh bed sheets available, and you turn off the lights. You try to make the room as comfortable as possible, not only for yourself but also for your guests. The thing you might not fully realize is that many cultures approach sleep differently.
Therefore, the bedtime routine that you’ve worked so hard to perfect may not be the same one that someone else in another part of the world adheres to. Below are five interesting ways that other cultures handle the subject of sleep. There is no doubt that some of them will surprise you. You probably won’t find them any more surprising than they do when it comes to understanding our own culture about sleep.
1. Later Bedtimes
In Argentina, the clock runs much later, even for children. It’s not uncommon to have the evening meal past nine o’clock, so the entire family stays up late. Even the youngest children stay up past 10 on a routine basis. Of course, they don’t get up as early as people in America do, so it all balances out. Nevertheless, the very idea of letting your own kids stay up that late is probably appalling to you. That’s because Americans have grown accustomed to putting their kids to bed as early as seven o’clock.
2. Sleeping Above the Covers
In Europe, people tend to sleep above the covers instead of underneath several blankets. Most Americans have a habit of covering someone up almost immediately when they fall asleep. Here, it’s done to show compassion. People worry that someone who’s sleeping will get too cold if they don’t have a few covers over them. In most parts of Europe, this is a rather foreign concept, as it’s just routine not to use covers in the first place. Even during the colder months of the year, they probably only have one blanket instead of several.
3. No Electronics Before Bed
In Mexico, there are no electronics before bed. In fact, most people put all of their electronics out of sight more than an hour before they go to sleep. Moreover, more than half the population spends about an hour praying before they turn in. This not only keeps them firmly rooted in their faith, but it also gives them a quiet time to relax and wind down before they go to bed. Perhaps this is a lesson more Americans could learn for themselves, as they spend most of their time connected to their smartphone or some other electronic device, often right up until they finally fall asleep.
4. Sleeping Without Clothes
In the United Kingdom, it’s not at all rare to come across someone who prefers to sleep naked. Remember, this is the same place where people prefer to sleep above the covers. That means that those who are born and raised in the United Kingdom are usually much more used to sleeping at lower temperatures than their American counterparts. To be honest, most Americans would find it difficult to sleep this way because they’re accustomed to the warmth and comfort provided by clothing and blankets. It’s interesting to note that those in the UK find the sleeping habits of Americans to be just as odd.
5. Taking a Nap
In America, people often think that afternoon naps should be reserved for the very young or old, or someone who is ill. If you take a nap, people consider you to be weak or lazy. However, in other parts of the world such as Spain and Italy, virtually everyone takes a siesta. They even have breaks from work in order to sleep, just as Americans do for lunch. Sleep is so important that many doctors believe that Americans, as well as other cultures, should adopt this policy.
Obviously, sleep is much more than a means to recharge the body. It’s also intensely personal. Furthermore, it’s a reflection on the culture with which you were raised. Therefore, it really does mean something different to each individual. With that being said, it’s something that everyone must have in ample supply in order to get the most out of life.