Sleep: Facts from around the world

Earlier this month, the National Sleep Foundation published the 2013 International Bedroom Poll. This study was the first of its kind–it compared various countries around the world on sleep matters such as attitude, time and routines. As Russell Rosenberg, PhD, Director of Research and Investigator at NeuroTrials Research states: “This groundbreaking poll suggests that chronic sleep deprivation is a significant global health problem.” Here is a quick overview of some of the most interesting findings:

  • Japan and the United States reported the least sleep. According to the report, Japanese and Americans sleep about 30 to 40 minutes less on workdays than those in the other countries, averaging about six and a half hours nightly. Of equal concern, over 30% of respondents in all countries surveyed sleep less than the recommended seven hours per night.
  • Most people – all over the world – don’t sleep well every night. From many of the countries surveyed, including, Mexico, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, less than half get a good night’s sleep on most work nights or week nights.
  • The scent of a bedroom is important. Over 75% of respondents from Mexico, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Unites States and Canada agree that they feel more relaxed if their bedroom has a fresh, pleasant scent.  It’s so important that they take measures to ensure that their bedrooms smell just how they want.
  • Bedtime rituals are common.  Over half of Mexicans and nearly half of Americans meditate or pray prior to going to sleep. In the United Kingdom, nearly half drink a soothing beverage like tea before bed.
  • TV before bed is the most common bedtime routine. At least two-thirds of people in all counties surveyed watch TV in the hour before they go to bed.

The results of this poll show that sleep deprivation isn’t confined to North America. Globally, sleep deprivation is racking up. Habits like watching TV before bed and other technology distractions may only worsen the problem. Although this was the first study  to look at the sleep as a universal experience,  the National Sleep Foundation hopes that this initial poll will inspire more research on topic.

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