Which Country Sleeps The Most?

Which Country Sleeps The Most? (2024)

Last updated: 27.03.2024 Reading time: 5 Min.

Exploring global sleep trends reveals some fascinating insights into how different cultures and lifestyles influence how much we sleep.

But which country sleeps the most?

And are sleep patterns related to health or economic well-being?

Join us as we find out how sleep duration varies across the globe and which country emerges as the world’s most well-rested. 🌎

Which Country Sleeps The Most?

Analysing global sleep patterns

The title of the country with the most sleep often goes to nations renowned for their high quality of life and well-balanced lifestyle.

But, it’s worth keeping in mind that modern global sleep patterns are usually analysed by using smartphone data, and any sleep study would thus necessarily be biased towards smartphone users. 📱

More traditional research that relies on methods like self-reporting or clinical studies is still available, but these are often on a smaller scale.

experts analysing data
Modern sleep data often relies on electronic self-reporting data.

Since we’re not in a position to conduct a global sleep study ourselves, we’ve looked at a few of the most popular sleep studies to find the best average.

The 2016 Science Advances study

One of the largest global sleep studies was conducted by the ENTRAIN app and published in Science Advances [1].

Their data revealed that individuals in the Netherlands enjoy the most sleep per night, while those in Singapore and Japan experience the shortest rest periods. 🇳🇱

Here is an overview of ten of their findings on average sleep duration by country:

  • Netherlands: 8 hours and 5 minutes
  • New Zealand: 8 hours and 4 minutes
  • France: 8 Hours and 3 minutes
  • Australia: 8 hours and 1 minute
  • Belgium: 8 hours and 1 minute
  • Canada: 7 hours and 58 minutes
  • United Kingdom: 7 hours and 54 minutes
  • United States: 7 hours and 52 minutes
  • Japan: 7 hours and 30 minutes
  • Singapore: 7 hours and 24 minutes

This study indicates that geographical proximity and cultural similarities often lead to comparable sleep patterns among countries, overriding broader global sleep trends.

A 2022 Public Health Maps study

The Public Health Maps study [2] focused on data from different countries.

According to their analysis, most people in Europe get at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep a night, with the exception of Turkey, which falls slightly short.

The Netherlands and Finland ranked at the top of the list, getting around 7 hours and 40 minutes of sleep a night, while the UK, Belgium and Ireland ranked just under this with around 7 hours and 30 minutes of sleep a night.

The 2023 PlushCare study

The PlushCare study [3] relied on sleepcycle.com [4] data to analyse which countries had the most long sleepers (over 10 hours a night), which countries had the most short sleepers (under 5 hours a night), and which countries had sleepers sticking to the recommended 7 - 9 hours a night.

Their key findings:

  • Australia had the highest percentage of long sleepers (8.60%).
  • Iran had the lowest percentage of long sleepers (1.32%).
  • Qatar had the highest percentage of short sleepers (36.64%)
  • The Netherlands had the lowest percentage of short sleepers (6.34%)

While their research methodology was slightly different, the outcome is similar to that of the 2016 ENTRAIN study, with the Netherlands and Australia ranking towards the top of which countries sleep the most.

So, which country sleeps the most?

As we’ve just discovered, the answer to this question depends very much on the study in question.

But it’s relatively safe to say that the Netherlands continuously ranks as one of the countries that gets the most sleep a night.

Most of Europe is pretty similar in terms of rankings, though, and people in all countries, on average, get the recommended 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night.

How do UK sleep stats compare to the global average?

When comparing UK sleep statistics to global data, it’s evident that the UK’s average sleep duration is slightly below the leading countries - but not by much. 🇬🇧

On a global scale, the British still get a healthy amount of sleep, but the fast-paced lifestyle, high work demands, and increased screen time in large metropoles like London can skew the average.

man struggling to sleep due to stress
Fast-paced lifestyles often increase stress and anxiety, leading to restless nights.

Cultural norms and environmental factors, such as long winter nights and short summer nights, may affect the natural sleep-wake cycle [5], but this isn’t much different in other northern European countries.

What are some of the global sleep problems?

Global sleep problems are a growing concern, affecting populations across various cultures and regions.

Insomnia, sleep apnoea, and other sleep disorders are increasingly prevalent, with factors such as stress, technology use, and lifestyle changes contributing to widespread sleep deprivation.

Studies also indicate that urbanisation and the 24/7 nature of modern society disrupts natural sleep patterns, leading to shorter sleep durations and poorer sleep quality worldwide.

The consequences of these sleep issues are significant, impacting mental health, physical well-being, and overall quality of life.

Tips on improving sleep quality

Improving sleep quality is essential for overall well-being and productivity. 🙌

We’d urge you to read our guide on sleep hygiene, but here are a few tips to help you get started on the journey to better sleep:

  • Establishing a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps regulate your body's internal clock, promoting better sleep patterns.
  • Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, signals to your body that it's time to wind down.
  • It is also crucial to limit exposure to screens before bed, as the blue light emitted can interfere with melatonin production.
  • Additionally, maintaining a comfortable sleep environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet can enhance sleep quality.
  • Finally, practising stress-reduction techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises can calm the mind and promote deeper, more restful sleep.

Incorporating these tips into your nightly routine can lead to more refreshing and rejuvenating sleep.

woman meditating in bed
Establishing a good evening routine, like including meditation, can help improve sleep quality.

What does data on which country sleeps the most tell us?

Sleep studies, like all studies, are hugely impacted by their research criteria and often skewed towards developed nations.

But it’s still worth noting that a high quality of life is often closely tied to getting enough sleep.

Whether the former impacts the latter or vice versa is a matter of debate, but one fact remains true: Getting your recommended 7 - 9 hours a night is one of the best choices you can make.

Frequently asked questions

  • What factors contribute to a country's average sleep duration?


    There are several factors that can contribute to a country’s average sleep duration, such as:

    • Cultural norms and societal expectations: Cultural attitudes towards sleep, such as work-life balance and the importance placed on rest, can significantly influence sleep duration. For example, in some cultures, a siesta or midday nap may be common, leading to longer overall sleep durations.
    • Economic factors: Socio-economic status can affect sleep duration, as individuals with higher incomes may have more access to resources that promote better sleep, such as comfortable bedding and quiet environments. Conversely, individuals in lower-income brackets may face more stressors that disrupt sleep, such as job insecurity or inadequate housing. 
    • Work schedules and lifestyle: The nature of employment and daily routines can impact sleep duration. Countries with cultures that prioritise long working hours or have demanding job expectations may see shorter average sleep durations. Conversely, countries with shorter workdays or flexible schedules may have longer average sleep durations.
    • Technology and screen time: Increased use of electronic devices before bedtime can disrupt sleep patterns due to exposure to blue light, which can suppress melatonin production and delay the onset of sleep. Countries with higher rates of technology use may experience shorter average sleep durations as a result.
    • Healthcare and access to treatment: Countries with better healthcare systems and access to treatment for sleep disorders may have populations with longer average sleep durations. Conversely, in countries with limited access to healthcare or where sleep disorders are underdiagnosed or untreated, average sleep durations may be shorter due to undiagnosed sleep issues.
    • Environmental factors: Factors such as noise pollution, air quality, and temperature can influence sleep quality and duration. Countries with more favourable environmental conditions, such as lower levels of noise and pollution, may have populations with longer average sleep durations.

    Overall, a combination of cultural, economic, lifestyle, technological, healthcare, and environmental factors contributes to a country's average sleep duration. 

  • Are there cultural differences that influence sleep habits and duration across countries?


    Cultural differences play a significant role in shaping sleep habits and durations across countries. 

    Bedtime rituals, family dynamics, work-life balance expectations, and societal attitudes toward sleep all vary widely between cultures. 

    For instance, some cultures may prioritise communal sleeping arrangements, while others emphasise independent sleeping spaces. 

    Cultural norms regarding relaxation, bedtime routines, and the importance of sleep can influence individuals' behaviours and attitudes toward rest. 

    Additionally, factors such as diet, social activities, and religious practices can impact sleep patterns. 

    Understanding these cultural differences is crucial for addressing sleep-related issues and promoting healthier sleep habits on a global scale.

  • How does sleep duration impact overall health and well-being on a societal level?


    Sleep duration plays a pivotal role in shaping overall health and well-being on a societal level. 

    Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining physical health, cognitive function, and emotional well-being. 

    Societies with shorter average sleep durations often experience higher rates of chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health disorders. 

    Additionally, insufficient sleep can impair productivity, increase the risk of accidents, and contribute to socioeconomic disparities. 

    By prioritising sleep health and promoting longer sleep durations, societies can improve public health outcomes, enhance cognitive performance, reduce the burden of chronic diseases, and foster a healthier and more productive population overall.

  • What are some common misconceptions about sleep duration and its relationship to productivity and success?


    Several misconceptions exist regarding sleep duration and its relationship to productivity and success. 

    Here are some common ones:

    • Myth 1: Less sleep equals more productivity. Many people believe that sacrificing sleep in favour of more working hours will increase productivity. However, research consistently shows that chronic sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function, memory, decision-making, and creativity, ultimately reducing overall productivity.
    • Myth 2: Successful people sleep less. There's a misconception that highly successful individuals, such as CEOs or entrepreneurs, achieve their success by sleeping very little. While some individuals may naturally require less sleep, the majority of successful people prioritise adequate sleep to maintain optimal performance and well-being.
    • Myth 3: Sleeping longer is a sign of laziness. Some individuals equate longer sleep durations with laziness or lack of ambition. However, sleep needs vary from person to person, and getting enough sleep is essential for physical and mental health, as well as overall productivity. Moreover, adequate rest enables individuals to approach tasks with greater energy, focus, and efficiency.
    • Myth 4: You can "catch up" on sleep. Many people believe that they can compensate for insufficient sleep during the week by sleeping longer on weekends. While it's possible to alleviate some sleep debt this way, it doesn't fully restore cognitive function or negate the negative effects of chronic sleep deprivation. Consistent, sufficient sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and well-being.
    • Myth 5: More hours awake means more time for productivity. Some individuals believe that staying awake longer allows for more time to accomplish tasks and be productive. However, sleep-deprived individuals are less efficient, make more errors, and take longer to complete tasks compared to well-rested individuals. Quality of wakefulness is more important than sheer quantity when it comes to productivity.
    • Myth 6: Napping is only for the lazy. Napping is often seen as a sign of laziness or lack of productivity. However, strategic napping can enhance alertness, cognitive function, and productivity, especially when experiencing midday fatigue. Short naps can boost energy levels and improve performance without compromising nighttime sleep quality.

    It's essential to dispel these misconceptions about sleep duration and productivity. 

    Adequate sleep is not only crucial for overall health and well-being but also enhances cognitive function, creativity, decision-making, and productivity. 

    Prioritising sufficient sleep is key to achieving long-term success and maintaining optimal performance in various aspects of life.

  • How do environmental factors, such as daylight hours and climate, affect sleep duration in different countries?


    Environmental factors, such as daylight hours and climate, significantly influence sleep duration in different countries. 

    Daylight hours directly impact the body's circadian rhythm, regulating the sleep-wake cycle. 

    Countries with longer daylight hours, especially during certain seasons, may experience challenges in falling asleep, potentially leading to shorter sleep durations. 

    Conversely, regions with shorter daylight hours may see longer sleep durations as individuals adapt to increased darkness. 

    Climate also plays a role, with extreme temperatures or humidity levels affecting sleep quality and duration. 

    Hot climates may disrupt sleep due to discomfort, while cold climates can induce longer sleep durations as the body conserves energy to maintain warmth. 

    Understanding these environmental factors is crucial for addressing sleep-related issues and promoting healthy sleep habits worldwide.

  • How does socioeconomic status influence sleep habits and duration within a country?


    Socioeconomic status (SES) profoundly influences sleep habits and duration within a country. 

    Individuals with higher SES typically have better access to resources that promote healthy sleep, such as comfortable bedding and quiet environments. 

    They may also have more stable employment conditions, allowing for consistent sleep schedules. 

    Conversely, lower SES individuals may face economic instability, leading to irregular work hours or multiple jobs, which can disrupt sleep patterns. 

    Additionally, stressors associated with lower SES, such as financial worries and limited access to healthcare, can contribute to sleep disturbances. 

    Addressing socioeconomic disparities is essential for promoting equitable access to resources and improving sleep health across all segments of society.

  • References

Nicky

Nicky Peters

Editor & Certified Sleep Therapist

Nicky is an experienced writer and editor with BA, BA(Hons), and MA qualifications. As a certified sleep coach, her interests lie in understanding how sleep problems arise from hormonal and environmental issues, particularly as part of stress and anxiety management.

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