Sleep In Japan – Unique Views Of Sleep From The Land Of The Rising Sun

Japan is famous for their innovative technology and fascinating culture. I have been fortunate enough to experience the benefits of both – including seeing the sleeping ‘salarymen’ on the metro first hand! This article looks at 5 ways the Japanize handle sleep differently, I wonder whether it would be possible to learn from these!

#1 – Capsule Hotels

These tiny cabins were pioneered by the Japanize. You rent a small windowless capsule with just enough room for a bed and TV. This saves a lot of money compared to a full sized hotel room and has only one purpose – to sleep!

#2 – Sleeping On Public Transport

With long working hours it is common for tired salarymen to snooze on the way home. Some of them wear signs which show their destination, and fellow travelers will wake them up to avoid missing their stops. Japan has a low crime rate, allowing travelers to snooze without risking their positions – I would not recommend this in many other countries without securing your belongings first.

#3 – Cuddle Cafes

In Tokyo you can pay to sleep with a stranger for a short while. This is purely platonic and can include such ‘extras’ as a cuddle, patting / stroking the head or staring into each other’s eyes. This is sold as a way for stressed workers to relax. I would love to interview one of the ladies providing this service at some point in the future!

#4 – Wireless Sleep Sensors

The problem with sleep sensors is that their presence may affect sleeping – making their results unclear. Japan have been leaders in the field of technology for decades, and have now come up with a completely wireless sleep sensor. The latest device, from a company called OmRon, is focused on disorders involving breathing (Apnea, Snoring) and is fully hands-free.

I should also note here that Japan are leading the way with research into decoding dreams using brain scanners. I’ll keep an eye out for more high tech developments and blog about the most interesting ones.

#5 – Sleeping At Work

Known as ‘Imemuri’, taking a nap at work is an accepted part of Japanize culture. With long working hours, it is a way of showing others just how much effort you are putting in and can also be considered an outward sign of confidence. Falling asleep during meetings and presentations is reserved for middle managers and up. While many Japanize sleep habits are excellent, this is one that I would not risk back home!