Global Sleep Survey: Who Prays First, Who Sleeps Naked

Credit: dragon_fang | Shutterstock
(Image credit: dragon_fang | Shutterstock)

An international poll pulls the covers off some interesting cultural differences about people's sleep and bedroom habits, including who changes the sheets most often, and who likes to sleep naked.

In the survey, about 1,500 people ages 25 to 55 in six countries – the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan – were interviewed about their sleeping rituals, habits and preferences.

More than half of people in Mexico (62 percent) and almost half of Americans reported praying or meditating during the hour before going to sleep, more than in other nations.

The British ranked first in the percentage saying they drank soothing beverages such as tea before going to bed, and one-third reported sleeping naked.

The average number of pillows used was two for all countries except Japan, where people reported using just one. One in 10 people in Mexico and Japan said they sleep without a pillow.

The most common bedtime activity people reported was watching TV. At least two-thirds of people in each country surveyed watch TV in the hour before bed, according to the survey, which was carried out by the National Sleep Foundation.

Who's tidy?

Japan had the highest percentage of people saying they rarely or never make the bed, with 20 percent. Conversely, people in Mexico were ahead of all other countries with 82 percent reporting making the bed every day.

Mexico also ranked highest in the percentage of people, at almost a quarter, who change their sheets more than once a week, while almost a third of people in Japan said they change their sheets less often than every three weeks, followed by 12 percent of Germans.

About nine out of 10 in Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom said they feel more relaxed if their bedroom has a fresh, pleasant scent. Three-fourth of Americans and Canadians agreed with that, too.

For Germans, fresh air in the bedroom emerged as very important compared to other countries. All survey respondents in Germany reported airing out their bedroom weekly, or more often.

How much people sleep

People from all countries reported sleeping an average of 45 minutes more on days they do not work.

People in Japan and America reported sleeping about 30 to 40 minutes less on workdays than those in the other countries surveyed, averaging about six and a half hours.

Two-thirds of people in Japan said they sleep less than seven hours on work nights, compared to about half of Americans, 40 percent in the United Kingdom, 36 percent of Germans and 30 percent of Canadians and Mexicans. [10 Most Sleep-Deprived Careers]  

Email Bahar Gholipour. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

Bahar Gholipour
Staff Writer
Bahar Gholipour is a staff reporter for Live Science covering neuroscience, odd medical cases and all things health. She holds a Master of Science degree in neuroscience from the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, and has done graduate-level work in science journalism at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has worked as a research assistant at the Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives at ENS.