Out came the pillows, all lights were dimmed and calming music played through the PA system. No-one spoke, made noise during this time; quick power nap of 15 minutes did the trick for a lot of people. Definitely something I approve of; I've a small mattress in my office just for such occasions.
I don't think I could ever fall asleep in the lunch break, the morning coffee and the light outside doesn't let my brain go off.
I really don't mean to offend anyone, just curious whether the ability to fall asleep in uncomfortable environments is something asian-specific.
It's not too hard to acquire it with some practice, every time you feel like it would be a good time to have a nap, close your eyes and try to have a nap. For a while, you won't actually get to sleep, you'll just be lying or sitting there with closed eyes, but after trying for a while, you'll actually start napping or sleeping.
These days, if I'm a passenger in a vehicle for a > 30 minute trip, you're almost guaranteed to find me sleeping.
Go to China and the level of ambient noise is much higher, whether that is people talking louder or having no qualms playing music from their phone speakers at any time of the day.
So at a guess, I think that cultural conditions probably lend themselves to people of Asian heritage learning to sleep under noisier conditions. Of course, these are all anecdata and generalisations so ymmv - fwiw, my personal observations are somewhat in line with yours.
Personal anecdote: when I grew up my parents lived on a busy main road so I was used to sleeping in noisy conditions. I then moved to a quiet village - I love how silent it is on a night - but I now cannot sleep in hotels nor anywhere else unless it's absolutely silent.
They say in the army, your survival is predicated on being able to catch a wink wherever possible.
As for sleeping in quiet places, one thing I've noticed is that my tinnitus is only audible when I am not in a city, as such there have been times where I remember I have tinnitus and am temporarily unable to sleep because of it.
I find it to be very curious how in one country, blasting music at 3am on a train is fair game, while just a stone's throw away over the pond it is a social faux pas to have your mobile phone ring on public transport, let alone answer the call...
That would prove to be an interesting "control" but I have less anecdata to draw from there...
There's even a comedy sketch (don't remember with who) about how London commuters are seemingly able to enter the tube, grab hold of one of the bars, and proceed to seemingly sleep standing for the exact right number of stops.
The trick is that you learn to automatically "wake up" everytime the bus (or train) stops.
It's almost subconscious, your eyes blink 1-2 times to check where you are. And if it's the last station before you have to get out you get a small adrenaline boost :D