International poll finds surprising differences in world’s bedroom habits

Japan requires fewer pillows, Americans are more likely to sleep with their pets and those living in the United Kingdom are more likely to sleep naked. These are only a few of the random sleep statistics we’ve learned from the National Sleep Foundation’s “2013 International Bedroom Poll” released yesterday.

The survey compares sleep times, attitudes, habits and bedtime routines of people between the ages of 25 and 55 living in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan — and some of the differences are fascinating. 

The United States and Japan tended to have quite a few things in common, including the fact that they were more likely to nap than other countries but also got 30 to 40 minutes less sleep on workdays. Japan averaged 6 hours and 22 minutes of sleep on work nights, while the United States clocked in at 6 hours and 31 minutes.

Mexicans appeared to be significantly more particular about their bedroom environment — they considered pleasant scents in the bedroom to be very important, were more likely to make their bed every day and one-fourth of them changed their sheets more than once a week, which is significantly more frequent than other countries.

Perhaps this is because they spend more time in the bedroom than the rest of us — Mexico reported needing the most amount of sleep (8 hours and 15 minutes) to function at their best the next day and also were more likely to sleep through the night. It might not be coincidence that a whopping nine in 10 of them reported waking up feeling refreshed at least a few nights a week in the past two weeks, which is significantly more than all other countries. 

Japan was more likely to have slept alone, which may or may not explain the fact that they required an average of one pillow to sleep while all other countries averaged two. They also were significantly less less likely to make their bed, with 19% in Japan reporting that they rarely or never make the bed. 

The United States and Canada were more likely to sleep with socks on, and the UK was more likely to sleep in the nude. When it comes to romance in the boudoir, Japan and Mexico prefer darkness, and Germany is all about fresh air in the bedroom. 

As far as similarities are concerned, all countries seemed to enjoy sleeping in on non-workdays, sleeping an average of 45 minutes longer than they do on workdays. Unfortunately, one-half of all countries also reported getting less sleep than they needed on workdays.