Crazy Finns: They compete in sauna, wife carrying, swamp soccer – and even sleep!

Finns certainly are eccentric. For foreigners, they might seem quiet or shy, but once you get to know their real nature, you’ll be surprised to notice characteristics of silliness, playfulness and competitiveness. Yes, they like to take rivals in the weirdest places, like in sauna or swamp, but recently they’ve invented a more serene competition: sleeping.

The first Finnish Championship in Sleep was held on April 20-21 in Hotel Radisson Blu, Helsinki. The purpose of the contest was to raise awareness of the importance of good sleep and factors contributing it as well as to increase Finns’ appreciation towards sleep. The contest was organized by a wellness coaching company Lifted. As one of the partners, Firstbeat measured the competitors’ recovery during sleep by analyzing heart rate variability (HRV) with Firstbeat devices that reflect the resilience of the nervous system. The more resilient the nervous system, the higher the percentage of recovering sleep in the analysis report.

The winner of the sleepy contest was Anssi Paatero, who’s amount of recovery during sleep was as high as 91%. To compare, the average amount of recovering sleep amongst Finns is 60%.

“It’s not just about the duration of sleep, but its quality. In the sports world recovery is a trend that hopefully reaches the awareness of a wider audience, as well,” says Firstbeat’s wellness specialist Niina Karstunen.

The Finnish Championship in Sleep will be slept again next year, but until then, this year’s winner can sleep soundly and proudly on his well-deserved golden pillow. Zzzzzz….

More information from The Finnish Championship in Sleep Facebook page (in Finnish).

How do Britons sleep? Read about the study based on Firstbeat database: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/28/why-britons-get-best-sleep-of-the-week-on-tuesday-nights/