Sleep trends across the globe

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Ever wondered if how you sleep is influenced by where you live? Is your culture determining how much you sleep?

For the first time, ever, we can compare the sleep patterns of those living in the UK, Germany, Japan, America, Canada and Mexico thanks to groundbreaking research titled 'the National Sleep Foundation 2013 International Poll'.

A random sample of 1500 people from each of these six countries were interviewed telephonically about their sleep habits. The people interviewed were between the ages of 25 and 55 years. The findings are interesting and beg for more investigations in the years to come.

Here are some of the results released on 3 September 2013.

  • All countries reported sleeping in on weekends or non-workdays. The average extra sleep was 45 minutes per day. This leads us to believe that sleepers are lacking at least 45 minutes sleep per work day.
  • Japanese sleep the least and Mexicans sleep the most. The average amount of sleep per night from least to most: Japan 6hrs 22min; America 6hrs 31 minutes; UK 6hrs 29 min; Germany 7 hr 1 min; Canada 7hrs 3 min; Mexico 7hr 6min.
  • However, to make up for their lack of sleep, the Japanese and Americans report the highest rate of daytime napping. Half the folk in these countries are regular nappers compared to one-third in the other countries.
  • Not only do Mexicans sleep longer than the others, they also appear to be able to fall asleep quicker and sleep through the night more often. They also report feeling refreshed the next day. This is probably due to the fact that 62% of Mexicans believe they need more than 8 hours a night to perform at their best.
  • Most people interviewed (58 - 70%) reported a mismatch between the amount of sleep that they need versus the amount of sleep that they get. It appears that all six countries believe they are waking up at least 30 minutes before their sleep tank is full. Are they waking up too early or in the middle of a sleep cycle?

The six countries are unfortunately all found in the northern hemisphere and there is a distinct lack of African representation but at least it gives us some idea of variance between developed and developing countries as well as North American vs European vs Eastern cultures.

Find more interesting sleep facts in next week's blogs. How many pillows do people use in the different countries? Who are least likely to wear pyjamas? And who is more likely to share their bed with a pet?

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