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Napping competition: Facts about the ‘Power Nap Contest’ to tackle the sleep crisis

By Reuters May 20th, 2024 2 min read

On Saturday 18 May, South Koreans closed their eyes and settled down for a sleep competition aimed at raising awareness of the importance of rest in a nation with one of the lowest sleep quality scores in the world.

The ‘Power Nap Contest’ was held at Han River Park in Seoul, where around a hundred people, some dressed in pyjamas, gathered to compete in a sleep competition for one hour and 30 minutes.

Various distractions such as feather tickling, whispering and mosquito sounds were used to challenge the participants.

Heart rate measurements were taken to determine the winner – the greater the difference between the heart rate before and during the nap, the better the quality of sleep.

The organiser said the event was designed to give sleep-deprived people a place to take a break.

Those who took part hope it will draw more attention to the need for better sleep habits in South Korea.

South Korean participant, a university student and winner of the Best Dressed Award, Jo You Young, said: “I just came in the usual clothes I sleep in at home to be comfortable, and I’m really surprised and amazed to be chosen (as best dressed).”

“Our country is known for being a competitive society and the importance of sleep seems to be underestimated,” said Son Ji-hong, who came to the competition with a neck pillow and sunglasses.

Engineer Kim Jenna said: “We usually work late on weekdays and are exhausted, so we only get enough sleep at home on weekends. But we decided to take part when we heard there was a competition where we could come out and sleep”.

The organiser of the 2024 Power Nap competition, Lim Ji-Hyeon, said: “South Korea has the lowest sleep duration among OECD countries. By holding this event, we hope that people will be forced to rest and feel the benefits of sleep, thereby recognising its importance”.

According to South Korea’s National Assembly, the country has the lowest average sleep duration among OECD nations, with citizens averaging just 7 hours and 41 minutes of sleep per night, well below the OECD average of 8 hours and 22 minutes.

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