Sleepy on the job? Take an inemuri break

Sleepy on the job? Or just sleepy anywhere in public? Or is your mind wandering to places and you are unable to focus in the present moment? Take a break, go to sleep & become present, doing the way the Japanese do! Tell your boss, you are going for an Inemuri break!

The concept of inemuri can be simplified as ‘sleeping on the job’, but a more accurate definition would be ‘being present while asleep’. Inemuri – sleeping at train stations, in class, on the steps of the mall – is a much more common sight in Japan than in America or Europe. And more than that, it’s socially acceptable. Delve further into the Japanese concept of inemuri.

History of Inemuri

People have been taking the odd nap in public since the dawn of civilization. But the more specific idea of inemuri really took off during Japan’s postwar economic boom. Japan’s economic miracle of the 60s, 70s and 80s saw the nation experience rapid growth and establish itself as one of the world’s major powers. Life was good for most. People had more money, they had jobs and they had money to spend on leisure. As a result, people became very, very busy. The Japanese prided themselves on being known as the hardworking nation that never sleeps. Who had time to sleep when there was money to be made, meetings to make and appointments to keep?

Inemuri Culture

Sleeping on the subway or at the office is the sign of a hard worker. In fact, your boss might even encourage it. Sleeping in class (while not nearly as acceptable) still carries the subtle suggestion of good intention from staying awake late the previous night to study. The general consensus on inemuri seems to be that, as long you aren’t trespassing, blockading or otherwise disturbing the peace, going to sleep is perfectly acceptable. A good comparison would be an airport. In an airport, people who are tired out from a long night are sprawled out, fast asleep, wherever they can. But the vast majority of people are not. The same is true for inemuri.

Bibliography – https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/asleep-on-the-job-japans-inemuri-phenomenon/

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