12 Unique Sleeping Habits Around the World

iStock.com/YinYang
iStock.com/YinYang

Want to take naps at work without getting into trouble? Move to Japan. The practice of inemuri—which roughly translates to “sleeping on duty” or “sleeping while present”—is surprisingly well accepted.

It’s just one of the unique sleeping habits featured in a new infographic from Plank by Brooklyn Bedding. Created in recognition of National Sleep Awareness Month (which is happening right now), it includes information about sleeping patterns and behaviors around the world, from the healthy to the not-so-healthy.

Japan appears in the infographic a couple of times. In addition to sleeping on thin tatami mats, the habit of dozing off in public or at work is regarded as “a show of how tired a person is from working so hard,” according to the bedding company. While it’s certainly a symptom of an overworked culture, it’s also a luxury in some ways. Because of the country’s low crime rate, Japanese commuters can typically sleep on the subway without worrying about their belongings being stolen.

Beyond Asia, the practice of “al fresco naps” in Scandinavian countries are another cultural quirk. Many parents take their babies and toddlers outside to sleep in the winter—even in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s because the fresh air is believed to keep them healthy and ward off illness. They also believe outdoor naps improve the quality and duration of their sleep.

In Australia, Aboriginal communities engage in “group sleep”—essentially large slumber parties, but with a more practical purpose. “Beds or mattresses are lined up in a row with the strongest people sleeping on the ends, protecting young children or elderly in the middle,” Brooklyn Bedding writes.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about sleep habits around the world, including the reason why 30 percent of people in the UK sleep naked.

A sleep habits infographic
Plank by Brooklyn Bedding

The Unkindest Cut: The Chainsaw Was Invented to Assist With Difficult Childbirths

viafilms/iStock via Getty Images
viafilms/iStock via Getty Images

There’s always a price to be paid for innovation. Usually that amounts to some sleepless nights and lots of trial and error. But sometimes it means attempting to deliver babies with a chainsaw.

This dark chapter in agricultural history comes from Popular Science, which recently detailed how the motorized cutting tool populating Home Depot shelves came to be. In the 18th century, two Scottish surgeons named John Aitken and James Jeffray devised a solution they could employ when faced with difficult childbirths. Rather than use a knife to widen the pelvic area by slicing through cartilage and bone to extricate a stuck baby, the two developed a chainsaw to make cutting easier.

While this sounds ghastly, the doctors were actually trying to lessen the agony endured by women who needed their pelvic bone separated. The knife took a long time, while their device—a modified knife with serrated “teeth” on a chain—could cut through bone and tissue more quickly.

If circumstances warranted it, the doctor would grab the saw, which had a handle on both ends, and wrap the chain around the pelvic bone, pulling each handle so the chain would cut into the bone. Later, the device was outfitted with a hand crank. Thanks to this innovation, difficult births could be described as merely agonizing as opposed to extended torture.

The procedure was dubbed a symphysiotomy and remained in use in the medical field as surgeons noticed how efficiently it could work in other circumstances, like amputations. It lasted through much of the 19th century as part of a surgical toolbox until C-sections grew in popularity. In the 20th century, the principle was commandeered for less disturbing purposes like logging, with two-person saws weighing more than 100 pounds each. By the 1950s, those gave way to lighter models.

For all its discomfiting history, at least the chainsaw proved to be useful—which isn't something that can be said for all inventions purporting to aid in childbirth. In 1965, George and Charlotte Blonsky patented a device that acted as a human turntable, spinning so quickly it might induce the patient (or victim) into delivering their baby via centrifugal force.

[h/t Popular Science]

Kane Tanaka, World’s Oldest Living Person, Just Celebrated Her 117th Birthday

Ruletka, iStock via Getty Images
Ruletka, iStock via Getty Images

Less than a year after being named oldest living person in the world, Kane Tanaka has reached a new milestone. As Reuters reports, Tanaka celebrated her 117th birthday on January 2, 2020, extending the Guinness World Record-winning streak she set in March 2019.

Kane—the seventh of eight siblings—was born on January 2, 1903 in Fukuoka, Japan. She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and the couple had five children. Today, she is a grandmother to five and a great-grandmother to eight.

Tanaka celebrated her birthday at the Fukuoka nursing home where she resides, surrounded by friends and family. After taking a bite of her birthday cake, she reportedly said, “Tasty, I want some more." On a typical day, Tanaka spends her time studying math, practicing calligraphy, and beating the nursing home staff at board games.

The 117 club is an exclusive group only a handful of women has entered in recent history. In the last few years, Emma Morano of Italy, Violet Mosse Brown of Jamaica, and Nabi Tajima and Chiyo Miyako of Japan all reached age 117 and were each the oldest person alive for a brief period. If Tanaka celebrates another birthday next year, she will be the first person since the 1990s to live to 118.

[h/t Reuters]

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