December 8, 2010 / 10:29 AM / 8 years ago

Tokyo business people sleep less than overseas peers

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - New York may be known as the city that never sleeps, but Tokyo business people get less time in the sack than their New York peers — and also those in Paris, Stockholm and Shanghai.

A businessman walks out from an office building near the Bank of Japan in Tokyo June 16, 2009. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

According to a survey of five cities, people in Tokyo on week days sleep just under 6 hours on average, according to a survey by Japanese food seasoning maker Ajinomoto Co.

People in Shanghai sleep the longest, seven hours and 28 minutes. Those in New York slept six hours and 35 minutes, the second shortest after Tokyo.

“I think people in Tokyo may just be too busy,” said an Ajinomoto spokeswoman.

Many Japanese businesspeople are forced into long days by hours of overtime followed by after-hours drinking sessions and then a long commute home, although the survey found that commutes in New York were about equally long.

Tokyo trains in both mornings and evenings are full of dozing commuters, heads bobbing. Some even manage to nap standing up as they cling to overhead rails.

“In Shanghai, people simply seem to go to sleep earlier. Everyone in all the cities gets up around the same time in the mornings, between 6:30 and 7:00,” said the Ajinomoto spokeswoman.

“In Tokyo, on top of the long days, people seem to do things after they get home as well, like playing computer games. They don’t sleep until after midnight.”

Not surprisingly, when asked what was most important in their lives, Japanese gave “sleep” the top ranking — the same as their Parisian peers, who nonetheless got nearly seven hours of sleep on weekdays.

By contrast, both New Yorkers and Shanghai residents said “time with their family” came first.

The survey was conducted online between July and August, covering nearly 900 workers in their 30s to 50s.

Writing by Elaine Lies; editing by Paul Casciato

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