You must have seen pictures of Japanese people sleeping at the most inappropriate times and places. The name of this strange custom in Japan is Inemuri and it means "to sleep, but to be present". This term refers to the nap that many Japanese take at events, social gatherings, in class, at work and on public transport.
What is Inemuri?
This is a very light sleeper. In a broad sense, Inemuri consists of closing the eyes but not paying attention to what is happening around while the mind rests. The sleeper wakes up easily when needed, hence the concept of “Sleeping while being present”.
Work is taken very seriously by the Japanese people and therefore people who work hard or study are highly valued by society. Thereby, Inemuri is not considered laziness, but as proof that you are doing your best, whether at work or in studies.
In other words, for many Japanese people, when someone practices Inemuri, it means that they are exhausted from overwork or studying and have had to sacrifice their sleeping hours because of it. On the other hand, in other countries, resting in this way is perceived as a lack of respect and as a signal of laziness.
It should be noted that in Japan, the hierarchy is present. Inemuri is considered acceptable for people in high positions, but the same is not true for subordinates.
In other words, the superiors can practice it in front of those who have a lower position, but they cannot take a nap in front of the superiors.
How to practice it?
To practice it, start by equipping yourself with Japanese cushions. Using one of its cushions will promote rapid rest, especially in the most difficult places.
Start by train at home while sitting on the couch, once this step is mastered, try doing it in a chair.
Then you can try the experiment in a quiet public place, like a station or waiting room.
Finally, as in Japan, try the experience in the transport, first at off-peak hours sitting then at peak hours, then if you can manage it by standing position.
Why is this practice of interest to the West?
If L'Inemuri interests the West so much, it is for two reasons:
First of all, we have less and less free time and are often overworked. This practice allows you to regenerate in a few minutes or even seconds.
The second factor is the growing attraction of Westerners for Japan, whether for its culture or its way of life.
Japan is often several years ahead of Europe on societal norms and habits.
The advantages of Inemuri
These brief periods of sleep help rejuvenate the mind, allowing better concentration and helping to clarify one's thoughts.
They usually only last a few minutes, but are enough to relax the mind.
Inside crowded trains, it is common to see Japanese people sleeping even when they are up. Once seated, some may fall into deeper sleep and begin to tilt sideways. This ability allows you to regenerate for a seemingly useless period of time.
Many may say that sleeping on the train is nothing so surprising, but only those who have been to Japan know that Inemuri is a trend that is used by almost 99% of the Japanese population.
Their ability and dexterity to sleep in public is impressive to say the least.
Practicing Inemri during the day can improve memory, a fundamental skill to perform both simple and complex tasks.