Wednesday , October 18 2017
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What Are the Sleep Differences among Countries?

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) released its first international poll today, comparing sleep times, attitudes, habits and bedtime routines of those in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan between the ages of 25 and 55 years old….

Japanese and Americans report sleeping about 30 to 40 minutes less on workdays than those in the other countries surveyed, averaging 6 hours and 22 minutes and 6 hours and 31 minutes of sleep, respectively. Two-thirds of Japanese (66%) say they sleep less than 7 hours on work nights, compared to 53% of Americans, 39% in the United Kingdom, 36% of Germans, 30% of Canadians and 29% of Mexicans. One in five from the United States (21%), Japan (19%) and the United Kingdom (18%) report sleeping less than six hours a night during the work week, about twice the rate of the other countries (11% Mexico, 10% Germany, 7% Canada,).

Perhaps to compensate for less sleep, about one-half (51%) of both Japanese and Americans have taken at least one nap in the past two weeks. Every country reported sleeping in on weekends, with an average of an extra 45 minutes of sleep on days they do not work.

"As the first international public opinion poll on sleep, the National Sleep Foundation 2013 Bedroom Poll makes an important contribution to the field," commented Namni Goel, PhD, Research Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine stated that, "Although we know that everyone sleeps, the rather remarkable cultural differences within this universal experience have not been adequately explored. It is NSF’s hope that this initial poll will inspire more research on this critical yet understudied topic."

Less than one-half of people in most countries are sleeping well every night. One-fourth of those in the United Kingdom (27%), the United States (25%) and Canada (23%) say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep during the work week. Notably, one in ten in the United Kingdom (11%) say they never get a good night’s sleep on work nights, twice the percentage of the other countries surveyed.

National Sleep Foundation Healthy Sleep Advice: To improve your patients’ sleep, give them the following sleep tips:

  • Exercise regularly. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  • Go to sleep and wake at the same time every day, and avoid spending more time in bed than needed.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep to strengthen the association between your bed and sleep. It may help to remove work materials, computers and televisions from your bedroom.
  • Save your worries for the daytime. If concerns come to mind, write them in a "worry book" so you can address those issues the next day.
  • If you cannot sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
  • If you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, or "stop breathing" episodes in your sleep, contact your health care professional for a sleep apnea screening.

The 2013 International Bedroom Poll was developed independently by the National Sleep Foundation. www.sleepfoundation.org.