Nap Habits Around the World

Heart health
Data Studies
March 16, 2017

Who doesn’t love a good nap? From boosting alertness to improving performance, setting aside an hour to sneak in some extra zzz’s during the day can have many benefits. Curious about nap habits around the world, our Data Team took a look at users’ sleep data to discover how naps vary by country. Read on to discover what they found.

Some countries have naps ingrained in their culture—like mid-afternoon siestas in Spain or inemuri, a kind of public nap, in Japan—but with cultural shifts and a generally faster pace of life, have our napping habits survived?
The first thing our Data Team looked at was when people take their naps. They found that the average nap time of our users across the world is 2:40 PM. No big surprise here. Many of us are familiar with the post-lunch, mid-afternoon dip in energy, and a nap can be a great way to hit the reset button.
Now let’s delve a little deeper. It seems that naps aren’t actually a frequent occurrence. In fact, when we look at the nap habits of each country as a whole, the most naps, an average of 2.5 per month, are taken in Canada, and the least, just 1 nap per month, are taken in Japan.

The average number of naps taken per month across all countries falls at just 2 naps a month, which hardly indicates a regular habit of napping. Perhaps it’s simply too difficult to find the time to nap in this day and age.
But what happens when we look at individual users within each of these countries? Do we all nap, or is it only a select few of us responsible for all of the naps?
In fact, we found that about half of our users around the world do not nap at all. Additionally, when we compare countries, we can see quite a stark difference in how many users nap.

As you can see, the number of users who nap varies quite a bit by country. While 65% of our users in Japan do take naps, only 26% ever nap in Italy.
This data also sheds some light on whether the culture of napping is still alive in certain countries. For example, only 27% of people ever nap in Spain. It seems that the practice of taking a mid-afternoon siesta is no longer widespread. Additionally, while the average number of naps per month in Spain is only 1.9, just a small percentage of users are responsible for all the naps. This means that most of them nap much more often than just twice a month—perhaps even making a habit of napping—but it’s the non-nappers who bring down the average to just below 2 naps per month.
In comparison, while almost ⅔ of our users in Japan take naps, as we saw previously, their naps are few and far between, averaging just 1 nap a month for the country as a whole. This is particularly interesting due to the practice of ‘inemuri’, a kind of public napping that is part of Japanese culture.
Inemuri can take place on commuter trains and other forms of public transportation, and even during meetings and classes. They are often viewed as an indicator that the individual is so busy and hardworking that they don’t sleep adequately during traditional nightly hours. This data suggests that while the majority of people do participate in napping, they only do so very occasionally. However, it is also possible that our devices simply do not pick up on all inemuri, as they are often taken standing up or sitting and can be quite short, which makes them difficult to detect.
Another interesting data set to examine was how long we nap for, when we do in fact nap. What we found was that it appears none of us are fans of the 20-minute power nap.

Nap length varied considerably between countries, with Japan taking the top spot for nap length at 1 hour 55 minutes, and Great Britain coming in last at only 44 minutes average nap length.
Once again considering Japan, this long nap length is not consistent with “inemuri,” which are likely to be short periods of sleep. Again, it is possible that these types of naps are simply difficult to record. However, this would then suggest that there are two types of naps in Japan—short, light ‘inemuri’ and long, deep naps. Although the average number of naps recorded per month throughout Japan was just one, this nap is almost double the average nap length.
Interestingly, Japanese users actually sleep almost an hour less at night than the average, about 6 hours 55 minutes, versus 7 hours 42 minutes. Perhaps this lack of sleep catches up with them eventually, which leads to a long nap length.
In Great Britain, we see the reverse. These users tend to take shorter naps, but they sleep slightly more than the average, 7 hours 54 minutes, during the night.
So there you have it—a little glimpse into when, how often, and for how long our users nap, which is quite different than what we expected.

This post is part of our Sleep Month series.