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Is Cosleeping normal in Japan?


Cosleeping is the practice of sleeping in the same bed with someone else. In Japan, it is a common practice for families to cosleep. However, the prevalence of cosleeping in Japan has declined over the years due to western influence and changes in lifestyle. This article will explore the reasons behind cosleeping in Japan, its cultural significance, and how it affects family dynamics.

History of Cosleeping in Japan

Cosleeping has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries. It was a common practice among farmers who slept with their children to keep them warm during cold nights. The practice continued even after the industrial revolution when families moved to cities. Parents would sleep with their children to provide emotional support and build stronger bonds.

Japanese Snack Box

Reasons for Cosleeping in Japan

There are various reasons why cosleeping is still prevalent in Japan. One reason is the small size of Japanese homes, which makes it difficult for families to have separate bedrooms. Another reason is the high cost of childcare, which forces parents to spend more time with their children at night. Cosleeping also promotes emotional bonding between parents and children and reduces stress levels.

Cultural Significance of Cosleeping in Japan

Cosleeping has significant cultural significance in Japan. It is seen as a way of promoting familial closeness and strengthening relationships between parents and children. It is also viewed as a way of promoting social harmony, as it teaches children how to be considerate of others’ needs.

The Role of Cosleeping in Japanese Society

Cosleeping plays an essential role in Japanese society, as it promotes the importance of family unity and social cohesion. It is seen as a way of providing emotional support to children and teaching them important values such as respect for others and empathy.

The Decline of Cosleeping in Japan

Despite its cultural significance, cosleeping has declined in popularity over the years due to western influence and changes in lifestyle. Many families now choose to have separate bedrooms, which promotes privacy and independence. The rise of nuclear families has also contributed to the decline in cosleeping.

Advantages of Cosleeping

Cosleeping has several advantages for both parents and children. It promotes emotional bonding between parents and children, reduces stress levels, and helps babies sleep better at night. Studies have shown that cosleeping can also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Disadvantages of Cosleeping

Despite its advantages, cosleeping also has its disadvantages. It can disrupt sleep patterns for both parents and children, leading to sleep deprivation. It can also increase the risk of suffocation or accidental injury if parents roll over onto their child during sleep.

Modern Attitudes towards Cosleeping

Modern attitudes towards cosleeping are mixed. While some people view it as an essential part of Japanese culture, others see it as an outdated tradition that should be abandoned. Modern lifestyle changes, such as longer working hours and smaller living spaces, have made it challenging to practice cosleeping.

The Future of Cosleeping in Japan

The future of cosleeping in Japan remains uncertain. While many families still practice it, there is a growing trend towards separate bedrooms, especially among younger generations. As lifestyles continue to change, it remains to be seen whether cosleeping will remain a prevalent practice in Japanese society.


In conclusion, cosleeping is a prevalent practice in Japan that has significant cultural significance. While it has declined in popularity over the years due to changing lifestyles and western influence, it remains an important part of Japanese culture that promotes family unity and social harmony. Whether it will continue to remain popular remains uncertain, but its impact on Japanese society cannot be overstated.

In which culture is cosleeping more common?

In countries like Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China where the majority of families are Asian, it is more common to practice co-sleeping than it is in the United States.

What countries encourage cosleeping?

Sweden, Egypt, and Japan are countries that prioritize a child-rearing approach based on interdependence and believe that co-sleeping is beneficial for a child’s development.

Why does Japan have low SIDS?

What is the reason for Japan’s low SIDS rate? The widespread usage of the Boshi Kenko Techo (maternal-child health handbook) and access to healthcare for all are contributing factors. Additionally, the majority of births in Japan are to women between the ages of 25-29 and there are relatively few unmarried mothers.

Do Japanese children sleep with their parents?

It is common practice in Japan for families to sleep together, with parents and babies sharing the same bed until the birth of a new child. Even after that, it is typical for the first child to continue co-sleeping with another family member until they reach the age of ten.

At what age is cosleeping inappropriate?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a firm position against adults sharing a bed with infants under the age of one. This stance is emphasized by the organization.

What culture sleeps the least?

Berlin, Germany has the lowest average nightly sleep in the world, with an average of six hours per night, which is one hour less than the recommended amount. Manila, Philippines is the second lowest with an average of 6.3 hours per night, followed by Seoul, Korea at 6.4 hours per night.

Alternative Forms of Cosleeping in Japan

While traditional cosleeping involves sleeping in the same bed, there are alternative forms of cosleeping that are gaining popularity in Japan. For example, families may use futons or small mattresses on the floor to create a shared sleeping space. Some families also use a “kotatsu,” which is a low table with a heater underneath and a blanket draped over it, creating a cozy space for families to sleep together.

Cosleeping in Other Cultures

Cosleeping is not unique to Japan and is practiced in many cultures around the world. In some cultures, such as in parts of Africa and South America, cosleeping is the norm and is seen as a way of promoting family unity and emotional bonding. In Western cultures, however, cosleeping is less common and is often discouraged due to safety concerns.

The Importance of Safe Sleep Practices

Regardless of cultural beliefs about cosleeping, it is essential to practice safe sleep habits to prevent accidents and reduce the risk of SIDS. This includes placing babies on their backs to sleep, keeping soft objects such as pillows and blankets out of the sleeping area, and avoiding alcohol and drug use before bedtime.

The Role of Education in Promoting Safe Sleep

Education plays a crucial role in promoting safe sleep practices for families who choose to cosleep. Health professionals can educate parents about the risks and benefits of cosleeping and provide guidance on how to create a safe sleeping environment. By providing education about safe sleep practices, families can make informed decisions about how to best care for their children at night.

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