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When I worked in China (5000 engineer company) we'd have our lunch in the canteen, I found that many returned to their desk for the last 15 minutes of their lunch break.

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.

Curious if you were able to do the same? From what I've seen asians have this ability to pretty much sleep anywhere, planes, trains, buses anything. The crappy chairs and noisy engines don't seem to bother them.

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 an acquired skill, being able to sleep anywhere. Military people tend to acquire it by necessity, Asians seem to have cultural reasons for it.

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.

One thing I've noticed is that people in the UK are way more considerate about and sensitive to noise whereas the opposite is true to Asians.

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.

I cannot comment about Asian culture but conditioning does have a large part to play in how people sleep.

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.

Agreed, I am comfortable (almost too much so) sleeping anywhere.

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.

Please do not generalize. Japanese people are extremely considerate about not making noise / being loud.

Indeed they are. I immediately corrected myself in a self-reply.

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...

Though "Asian" heritage (assuming an implicit East before Asian) would include Japanese and Korean culture, both of whom are comparatively considerate of noise, at least in social contexts.

That would prove to be an interesting "control" but I have less anecdata to draw from there...

There's nothing about "asian" genetics that causes this, but my experience in Taiwan, China, and Japan showed me that people in those countries typically don't get 8 hours of sleep every night, more like 5-6. It's ubiquitous, so do it your whole life and you get good at functioning with less sleep than it has been demonstrated humans need, and you also get good at making up the difference with turbo power naps.

I wouldn't say it's about Asia so much as Anglophones are notable for not taking siestas. Aside from China, it's pretty common in much of southern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Latin America.

Is it, though? I'm from sourthern Europe, and nobody I know under 70 takes daily naps. Even in Spain, where they take long lunch breaks supposedly for taking siestas, only 16% of the adult population actually does so, according to a large study.

Try to take some commuter trains in London, or buses, and you'll find plenty of people napping. At one job I preferred to take the bus to the tube even though the tube would be faster, because I enjoyed the longer unbroken nap.

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.

> sleep ... 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

Relatively few of the people with whom I share my afternoon light-rail commute appear to be of Asian extraction, and a fair number of us will tend to nap for part or all of our trips along the route. So, no, I don't think you need to be of any particular descent in order to sleep on such a conveyance. You just need to be tired.

I took advantage of eating out in the local eateries and avoided the canteen food; it was rare enough that I was back 15 minutes before I was meant to. :D

Just curious what made you think that is a pattern? I lived in an Asian country until few years ago and I think it is just a misinterpretation maybe just the people you came across were so

That is called a stereotype judgment.

Yes, I experienced that too. It was at ZTE in Shanghai. They'd all pull out bunks and airbeds from under their desks. I thought it was a fantastic idea, with one downside: the reason it was mandatory was that everyone was expected to work until late in the evening.

Yeah; I was to start work at 8.30am; checked in with a swipe card; even if I had to stay till 3am(working US hours) I still had to be back at work by 8.30am. Suffered complete burn out by the time I turned 25.

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