Residents of the most sleep deprived countries in the world sacrifice sleep to their to-do list. Let’s face it, most of us have a hard time juggling a full-time job, family, and social life. With so much on our plate, no wonder sleep is the first thing we give up.
Given this attitude, it should come as no surprise that there isn’t a country in the world whose population gets an average of 8 hours of sleep. Because of this, sleep deprivation has turned into a worldwide health issue.
Which Countries Get the Least Sleep?
Two Asian countries, Japan and South Korea, are ranked among the top five places in the world that have a huge sleep debt. It’s estimated that in both of these countries people sleep less than six hours every night.
The effects of sleep deprivation are so serious in Japan that people can actually die as a result of complications. To tackle the issue, Japanese companies are incorporating power naps during working hours.
Faced with a similar problem, sleep deprived South Koreans have taken to using sleep cafes as places where they can nap peacefully during the day to combat any unpleasant sleep deprivation effects.
Which Countries Are Moderately Well Rested?
Most of the countries in South America clock in about 6–7 hours of sleep, as do people in India, Turkey, and Poland. Still far from the optimal 8 hours of sleep, these countries have started introducing 20-minute siestas to boost mood and productivity. In Argentina, for instance, sleep statistics show that 22% of people are “too drowsy” during the day, while the majority of residents sleep in on weekends to catch up on lost zzzs.
People don’t seem to get enough sleep in Canada either. While some attribute the sleep deprivation in Canada to increased work responsibilities, too much time drinking coffee at Tim Hortons, or even too much screen time, experts actually reveal that many Canadians struggle with obstructive sleep apnea. OSA lowers a person’s average amount of sleep, thus preventing them from reaching peak performance—not to mention, the condition has several negative effects on memory, health, and wellbeing. OSA is also seriously undiagnosed in Canada, another reason why over a quarter of Canadians only sleep an average of 7 hours per night.
Like Canada, most of Europe and Russia also sleep less than the recommended amount. This leads to more than just health issues. Lost workdays—one of the most common sleep deprivation effects—cost Germany $60 billion annually, a staggering 1.56% of the country’s GDP, according to sleep deprivation statistics worldwide.
Spain is another nation that isn’t reaping the benefits of sleep. The reason behind this is late hours, as socializing is a priority for most residents of this country. In fact, the average bedtime for Spaniards is midnight or later, long after other European countries have turned off the lights.
The situation in the US isn’t any better. With 27% of Americans saying they aren’t well rested, and 1.2 million workdays lost annually due to lack of sleep, the US is faced with a sleep deprivation epidemic. Expenses from lost productivity account for almost 3% of the US’s annual GDP, while health costs and the economic burden of accidents, both traffic and work-related, are in the millions.
But things appear to be improving. Awareness of the importance of sleep is growing, and more Americans are showing an interest in the sleep aids and sleep-related products that can increase the average hours of sleep they get. In fact, the mattress industry alone was worth over $14.3 billion in 2019, an indicator of just how much US adults are investing in sound slumber.
Insomnia seems to be the major reason the Chinese can’t get enough shut-eye, especially among young people. Pressure from work and studies keeps them awake at night, with some students reporting not being able to fall asleep before 4 a.m.
What Countries Get the Most Sleep?
The UK and Ireland get plenty of sleep, almost an average of 7 hours and 20 minutes, yet both the Brits and the Irish complain of tiredness and bad moods due to low-quality sleep. Ireland has even named itself a “sleep-deprived nation.”
New Zealanders get the most sleep, closely followed by the Netherlands and Finland. Kiwis not only sleep the longest, but they’re also one of the earliest risers in the world, global sleep statistics reveal.
What Are the Effects of Sleep Deprivation?
When people sleep less than 8 hours, they tend to be irritable with a generally negative mood. They’re short-tempered with their colleagues, family, and friends and more prone to unhappiness and depression.
In addition to mood disorders, people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from obesity and other health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
It’s estimated that most adults need at least 7–9 hours of good quality sleep at night. The ideal amount of sleep varies according to age, gender, and other factors, but the most important thing to remember is that there is no catching up on sleep. The quality of night-time rest can’t be replaced by a few naps during the day or longer lie-ins on weekends.
Do you live in one of the most sleep deprived countries in the world? Do you wake up feeling tired and grumpy? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to change your sleep routine. Try yoga before bed, leave tech and stress outside the bedroom, and create a soothing, peaceful environment to send you off to a good night’s rest.