Where you live affects how much you sleep

31 May Where you live affects how much you sleep


There are some consistent truths to sleep habits across all cultures: Gender is a key determinant of how many hours of sleep any one person gets, with women and girls logging a bit more than men and boys. Bedtime and wake time are determined principally by age. While small children go to bed early and wake up early, the pattern shifts dramatically in the teen years, with kids going to bed later and sleeping till noon on weekends if they’re allowed. Throughout adulthood and into old age, the pattern reverses again, as bedtimes and wake times creep earlier and earlier. But, separate from these truths, University of Michigan researchers have found cultural factors affect when people went to bed and for how long they slept

Using a smart phone app, the researchers logged the bed and wake time from participants across the globe. This study of global sleep patterns suggests that Australians have the earliest bedtime of any country. Australians were the first to turn in, heading to bed just after 10.45pm – about an hour earlier than the Spanish, who had the world’s latest bedtime. People in Singapore and Japan got the least shut-eye, sleeping for 7 hours and 24 minutes a night, on average. The Dutch got the most sleep of any nation, with a national average of 8 hours and 12 minutes.

The study shows that not everybody’s personal body clock is perfectly suited to the rhythms of home. There are surely some innately late-rising Americans who struggle with their country’s crack-of-dawn culture, as surely some morning larks get awfully lonely at 7 a.m. in Spain. So what country is best for you? To find out where you fit in, read more at: