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Do people co-sleep in Japan?


Co-sleeping, the practice of sleeping in the same bed or room with others, is a cultural norm in many parts of the world. In Japan, co-sleeping has been a traditional practice for centuries. However, with the rise of Western influence and modernization, the trend is shifting. This article explores the history and current state of co-sleeping in Japan.

History of Co-sleeping in Japan

Co-sleeping has been a long-standing tradition in Japan, dating back to ancient times. The practice was commonly found among families living in small homes where multiple generations shared sleeping quarters. It was also seen as a way for parents to bond with their children and promote family unity. In traditional Japanese culture, sleeping together was considered a sign of closeness and intimacy within families.

Japanese Snack Box

The Current State of Co-sleeping in Japan

Despite its historical significance, the popularity of co-sleeping in Japan has declined in recent years. Today, fewer families are practicing co-sleeping due to changing lifestyles and Western influence. A 2017 survey found that only 16% of Japanese families reported co-sleeping with their children, compared to 34% in 2001.

Reasons for the Decline in Co-sleeping

The decline in co-sleeping can be attributed to several factors. One is the increase in Western-style homes with separate bedrooms for each family member. Another reason is that more women are working outside of the home, making it difficult to find time to co-sleep. Additionally, some parents fear that co-sleeping may cause dependence or other negative effects on their children.

Benefits of Co-sleeping

Despite concerns about its decline, there are several benefits associated with co-sleeping. For infants, it can provide a sense of security and comfort that promotes healthy development. For parents, it can help them bond with their children and create a strong family unit.

Risks of Co-sleeping

There are also risks associated with co-sleeping. One concern is that it may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Additionally, it may cause sleep disturbances and interfere with parents’ ability to get restful sleep.

Co-sleeping Practices in Japan Today

Although less common than in the past, co-sleeping still exists in Japan today. Some families choose to continue the tradition, while others adopt a modified version where they sleep together for part of the night and then separate for the remainder.

Cultural Views on Co-sleeping

In Japan, cultural views on co-sleeping vary depending on the region and family background. While some view it as a necessary practice for building strong family bonds, others see it as old-fashioned and unnecessary.

Co-sleeping and Attachment Parenting

Attachment parenting is an approach that emphasizes close physical contact between parents and children. Co-sleeping is often associated with attachment parenting as it allows for constant physical proximity between parent and child.

International Comparisons

Co-sleeping is not unique to Japan; it is also practiced in many other countries around the world. In some cultures, such as those found in Africa and Latin America, co-sleeping is still widely practiced.

Co-sleeping Research

Research on co-sleeping has yielded mixed results. Some studies suggest that it can have positive effects on infant development and parent-child bonding, while others raise concerns about safety risks.


Co-sleeping has been a long-standing tradition in Japan but has declined in recent years due to changing lifestyles and Western influence. While there are risks associated with co-sleeping, there are also many benefits that should be considered when deciding whether or not to practice it. Ultimately, the decision to co-sleep should be based on individual circumstances and cultural beliefs.

What countries recommend cosleeping?

Sweden, Egypt, and Japan are countries that prioritize a child-rearing approach that emphasizes interdependence, and they believe that co-sleeping can be beneficial for a child’s development. This cultural belief is still held today.

How do Japanese parents co-sleep?

In Japan, it is common for parents to sleep near their baby on bamboo or straw mats, as well as on futons. Others choose to have their baby sleep in a crib or bassinet that is kept close by. Cultures that often practice co-sleeping rarely experience cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Do kids sleep with parents in Japan?

The Japanese have a cultural preference for co-sleeping, which is different from the rest of the world. Rather than having their children sleep in a separate “children’s room”, Japanese families often have their kids sleep in the same bed as their parents in the same bedroom, even up to the school-age years.

Why does Japan have low SIDS?

What causes Japan’s low SIDS rate? The widespread use of the Boshi Kenko Techo (maternal-child health handbook) and accessible healthcare are key factors. Additionally, most births in Japan are to women aged 25-29 years old and there are relatively few unmarried mothers.

In which culture is Cosleeping more common?

In countries like Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China, families of Asian descent are more likely to share a bed with their children than in the United States.

At what age is co-sleeping inappropriate?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advises against sharing a bed with children who are younger than one year old. This is a firm stance they take on the matter.

It is worth noting that co-sleeping is not a one-size-fits-all approach and may not work for all families. It is important to consider individual circumstances, such as sleeping habits, family dynamics, and cultural values when deciding whether or not to co-sleep. Parents should also take the necessary precautions to ensure their child’s safety, such as using a firm mattress, avoiding soft bedding, and not allowing the child to sleep on their stomach.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in co-sleeping among parents who practice attachment parenting. This approach emphasizes the importance of close physical contact between parent and child and aims to promote a strong emotional bond between them. Co-sleeping is often seen as a way to achieve this goal by allowing parents to be physically close to their child throughout the night.

Co-sleeping can also have significant cultural implications. In some cultures, such as those found in India and China, co-sleeping is still widely practiced and considered a normal part of family life. It is seen as a way to promote family closeness and build strong relationships between parents and children.

Finally, it is important to note that co-sleeping is not a permanent arrangement and can be adjusted over time as children grow older. As children become more independent and develop their own sleeping habits, parents may choose to transition them to their own bed or room. Ultimately, the decision to co-sleep should be based on individual circumstances and cultural values, and parents should be open to adjusting their approach as needed.

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