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Do Japanese parents sleep with their kids?


Japanese culture is known for its unique practices, traditions, and beliefs. One of the most interesting ones is the concept of co-sleeping, where parents sleep with their children in the same bed. This practice has been prevalent in Japan for centuries and is still widely practiced today. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this practice and how it affects Japanese families.

History of Co-Sleeping in Japan

Co-sleeping has been a common practice in Japan since ancient times. It was considered natural for parents to sleep with their children as it promoted bonding and a sense of security. In traditional Japanese homes, families slept on futons laid out on tatami mats in one room, making co-sleeping a necessity.

Japanese Snack Box

Reasons for Co-Sleeping

There are several reasons why Japanese parents prefer to co-sleep with their children. Firstly, it promotes a strong bond between parents and children, which is highly valued in Japanese culture. Secondly, it provides a sense of security and comfort to the child, knowing that their parents are only an arm’s reach away. Lastly, it is a practical solution for small living spaces where separate rooms may not be available.

The Benefits of Co-Sleeping

Co-sleeping has several benefits for both parents and children. It promotes better sleep as children feel more secure and comfortable sleeping next to their parents. It also helps regulate a child’s breathing, heartbeat, and body temperature. Moreover, co-sleeping promotes breastfeeding as it allows mothers to easily nurse their babies throughout the night.

Cultural Differences in Co-Sleeping

While co-sleeping is widely accepted in Japan, it may not be the case in other cultures. Western societies often promote independence and self-sufficiency from an early age, which can lead to separate sleeping arrangements for parents and children. However, in many other cultures around the world, co-sleeping is also common.

Controversies Surrounding Co-Sleeping

Despite its popularity in Japan and other cultures around the world, co-sleeping can also be controversial. There have been concerns raised about safety issues such as suffocation or accidental smothering of infants while sleeping with their parents. Additionally, some experts argue that co-sleeping can lead to dependency issues and affect a child’s development.

Co-Sleeping Practices Today

Although co-sleeping is still widely practiced in Japan today, there has been a shift towards separate sleeping arrangements in recent years. This change can be attributed to modernization and westernization of Japanese society where individualism is becoming more valued over collectivism.

Alternatives to Co-Sleeping

For parents who prefer not to co-sleep with their children or for those who cannot due to space constraints or safety concerns, there are alternatives available. These include setting up a separate sleeping area within the same room or using baby monitors to keep track of the child’s movements.

Advice for Parents Planning to Co-Sleep

For parents who choose to co-sleep with their children, there are some things they can do to ensure safety and comfort. These include avoiding alcohol or drug use before bedtime, keeping pillows and blankets away from the baby’s face, and placing the child on their back instead of their stomach.

The Impact of Co-Sleeping on Family Dynamics

Co-sleeping can have a significant impact on family dynamics. It promotes closeness between parents and children but can also lead to less privacy for couples. Additionally, it may affect the quality of sleep for both parents and children if one person is restless or snores during the night.

Cultural Significance of Co-Sleeping

Co-sleeping holds significant cultural significance in Japan. It promotes family unity and reinforces values such as collectivism and interdependence. Moreover, it highlights the importance of nurturing close relationships between family members.

The Future of Co-Sleeping in Japan

As Japanese society continues to modernize and change, so may attitudes towards co-sleeping. While it may still be prevalent today, future generations may choose different sleeping arrangements based on personal preferences or societal norms.


Co-sleeping is an interesting practice that has been prevalent in Japanese culture for centuries. It promotes bonding between parents and children while also providing comfort and security. While it may not be suitable for everyone due to safety concerns or space limitations, it remains an integral part of Japanese family life today.

Do children sleep with parents in Japan?

It is a common practice in Japan for families to sleep together in the same bed, even as children get older. This is different from the rest of the world where children typically have their own separate sleeping space in a designated children’s room.

Is cosleeping normal in Japan?

In Japan, it has been a long-standing tradition for infants and mothers to sleep together, with the mother and baby facing each other. According to a study in 2008-2009, at least 70% of Japanese infants sleep with their parents in this way.

How long do Japanese kids sleep with parents?

In Japanese families, it is common for parents to share a bed with their children until they reach around ten years old, a practice known as soine or co-sleeping. Families who practice soine often highlight the significance of anshinkan, which is a sense of security and comfort.

What countries do families sleep together?

Sweden, Egypt, and Japan prioritize a child-rearing approach based on interdependence and believe that sleeping together with their children has positive developmental effects.

Can a 30 year old sleep with a 13 year old in Japan?

Currently, in Japan, any sexual activity with a person under the age of 13 is considered a punishable offense, regardless of whether or not they give consent, as stated in the Penal Code which sets the age of consent at 13.

Do Japanese parents shower with their kids?

In Japan, it is customary for parents and their children to bathe together in the nude, which is considered a normal cultural practice. This helps to strengthen family relationships, and as children mature, they may begin to take baths on their own.

In conclusion, co-sleeping is a unique cultural practice that has both benefits and controversies. While it may not be suitable for every family or culture, it is important to understand the reasons behind co-sleeping and the impact it can have on family dynamics. Parents should be aware of the potential safety concerns and take necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of their children. Moreover, as society and cultural norms continue to evolve, so may attitudes towards co-sleeping. It will be interesting to see how this practice develops and changes in the future.

It is worth noting that co-sleeping is not just limited to parents and children. In Japan, it is also common for siblings to sleep together in the same bed or room. This practice promotes a sense of closeness between siblings and reinforces the importance of familial relationships. It also allows for siblings to bond and learn from each other, which can have a positive impact on their development.

Furthermore, co-sleeping can have an impact on a child’s socialization skills. As children grow older and begin attending school, they may struggle with sleeping independently if they are accustomed to sleeping with their parents. This may lead to difficulties in making friends or participating in sleepovers with classmates. Therefore, it is important for parents to consider the long-term effects of co-sleeping on their child’s socialization skills.

Finally, while co-sleeping may not be as prevalent in Western cultures, there has been a growing trend towards bed-sharing among parents. This practice has been attributed to attachment parenting and can have similar benefits as co-sleeping in Japanese culture. However, it is important for parents to make informed decisions about bed-sharing and consider any potential safety concerns before doing so.

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