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Which country gets the most sleep? (photo credit: BigStockPhotos.com)

Which country gets the most sleep? (photo credit: BigStockPhotos.com)

The National Sleep Foundation took its bedroom poll international this year by including participants from five countries outside the United States The results, which may be surprising, provide a detailed look at which countries are getting the most sleep, which feels they get the least, and whether or not Americans really are the most sleep deprived.  By including data on the sleep habits of people in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Germany, and Japan, the poll gives a peek under the covers at how different parts of the world view sleep.

 

Who Sleeps the Least?  The Most?

On an average workday night, Americans and Japanese respondents report getting the least sleep at 6 hours 31 minutes and 6 hours 22 minutes respectively.  The U.K. was a close third, averaging 6 hours and 49 minutes per workday night.  Canada and Germany got more sleep still at 7 hours 3 minutes and 7 hours 1 minute respectively.  But Mexico takes the prize for the most sleep averaged on workday nights at 7 hours 6 minutes.  However, Mexico also indicated that they needed more sleep than any other country, 8 hours 15 minutes in order to function at their best, which is almost an hour more than every other country.  So, even if they are getting the most sleep, the gap between what they get and what they need is greater.

 

How Do We Feel About the Sleep We Get?

Interestingly, although Mexico reported needing almost 70 minutes more than they actually get on workday nights, the percentage of people who got less sleep than needed on workday nights was significantly lower in Mexico (40%) than in any other country – U.S. 56%, Canada 53%, U.K. 51%, Germany 66%, Japan 56%.

Most countries had less than half of their respondents report getting enough sleep on most workday nights.  However, almost a third of those in Canada and the U.K. actually report sleeping more than they need on the majority of workday nights.

 

Who Takes the Most Naps?

If you asked most Americans which country takes the most naps, it is unlikely that the U.S. would top the list but the poll results show that we don’t know ourselves very well.  The U.S. and Japan are the biggest nappers with more than 50% reporting taking at least one nap in the last two weeks.  Amongst those who napped, respondents averaged 3-4 naps in the two week period.

 

How Does Not Getting Enough Sleep Impact Our Lives?

When asked if lack of sleep impacts specific areas of their lives, respondents from most countries responded similarly with the exception of Japan.  Although every country reported similar results regarding the impact of not getting enough sleep on their work productivity, family life, home responsibilities, mood, and health, Japan’s results for the impact on social life and intimate relations were significantly lower than all other countries.  Despite this difference, the results show that not getting the sleep we need impacts the quality of our lives in a variety of meaningful ways no matter where we live.