Brits reject workplace napping

In celebration of World Sleep Day, take a look at these bizarre sleep habits from around the world (and maybe send them over to your boss too)

girl sleeping in bed by getty images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's a familiar scenario. It's got to that two o'clock slump, your computer screen is starting to get a bit blurry, you feel your eyes start to droop, the air con is humming away making you feel even more drowsy, so you just close your eyes for a few seconds. Next thing you know you are rudely woken by your boss barking orders or the guy sat opposite you, unnecessarily loudly, making a snide 'late night last night?' comment. Yes yes, we've all been there. 

But ever thought that maybe it's not you and your sleep-deprived lifestyle that's in the wrong, maybe you are just working in the wrong country? Sure, in the UK it's probably going to be frowned upon if you are caught snoozing at your desk, but in other places around the world, this is in fact totally acceptable behaviour. As part of World Sleep Day, Brother has looked into the sleeping customs from around the world to see if any of them could have a positive impact on our work life. UK, take note...

China - Bring your bedroom to work

In factories and offices across China, the lines between bedroom and workspace are becoming increasingly blurred. Due to longer working hours, many employers now advocate a short nap after lunchtime to increase concentration. Certain offices have even installed temporary or permanent sleeping and washing facilities in their office spaces to encourage employees to stay round the clock. Hmmm... maybe not the most healthy work life balance. But a bedroom in the office sounds pretty sweet to us. 

Japan - Inemuri

Taking a nap at work could well be perceived as a sign of laziness or a poor attitude, but not in Japan. The hectic lifestyle of Japan’s city dwellers has led to the wide-scale uptake of 'inemuri', or 'sleeping whilst present'. Thanks to inemuri, Japanese workers can nap on public transport, at their desk or even during meetings – and it’s commonly seen as a sign of hard work! Well, in that case, we reckon we are the hardest workers around.

Spain - Siesta

Originating in Spain and parts of Latin America, the siesta is perhaps one of the most well-known daytime snoozing traditions across the globe. This afternoon nap is usually taken after lunch, during the hottest time of the day. Well this just sounds dreamy. 

Italy - Riposo

Where the Spanish have a siesta, the Italians have 'riposo'. Commonly taking place after lunch, riposo can last anywhere from two to four hours. Let's be real, not sure most of us would make it back to work after a four hour kip. 

Indonesia - Fear sleep

Stresses of work getting you down? The ominously named ‘fear sleep’ might be the solution. Locally referred to as 'todoet poeles' – the practice of fear sleep enables people to nod off instantly to avoid feelings of excessive anxiety and stress. Pressure on you during a meeting? Perfect time for a snooze. 

Botswana - Sleeping on your own schedule

You should sleep when it’s dark, correct? Not quite. At least, not in Botswana. The country’s native Kung hunter-gatherer tribe are well known for sleeping only when tired, regardless of the time of day. 

USA - Silicon Valley sleepers

Though it’s not a national custom just yet, sleeping on the job is widely being embraced by some of the USA’s biggest employers. Technology and software companies are leading the napping revolution, with firms like Google going so far as to have purpose-built sleeping pods installed in their offices to help employees rest and refresh. Errr, Real Homes, fancy embracing this concept anytime soon?

Come on Britain, follow suit already. 

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.