Sleep: we all do it, yet many of us are a bit rubbish when it comes to getting enough of it.
Now, using an app called ENTRAIN, researchers have collected sleep data from countries worldwide so they can advise people on how to sleep better at night.
One of the major findings of the study – which was published in Science Advances – was that bedtime, and not what time a person wakes up, affects how long they sleep for.
The survey found that in the UK, people averaged just under eight hours of sleep per night.
In the Netherlands, people slept for an average of eight hours and 12 minutes per night, while those in Japan and Singapore slept for just seven hours and 24 minutes.
Professor Daniel Forger, one of the researchers from the study, told BBC News: “Society is pushing us to stay up late, our [body] clocks are trying to get us up earlier and in the middle the amount of sleep is being sacrificed; that’s what we think is going on in global sleep crisis.
“If you look at countries that are really getting less sleep then I’d spend less time worrying about alarm clocks and more about what people are doing at night – are they having big dinners at 22:00 or expected to go back to the office?”
Here are five things to take away from the study:
1. Social pressures make us go to bed later
Going to the pub with friends or flicking through Facebook can weaken your body’s attempts to make you go to sleep in the evening.
This can lead to people delaying bedtime and having less sleep.
2. Bedtime affects sleep duration more than wake-up time
A country’s average bedtime, but not average wake time, predicts how long you sleep for, scientists said.
3. Women get more sleep than men
The study revealed that women schedule more sleep than men.
Women slept for roughly 30 minutes more per night than men did, particularly between the ages of 30 and 60.
4. People who work outdoors sleep more than those who work in offices
Participants who said they’re typically exposed to outdoor light went to sleep earlier and slept more than those who worked indoors.
5. Age plays an important role in how much sleep you get
A strong link between age and sleep duration was recorded.
Young people were found to have a wide range of sleep and wake-up times, however as people aged, they were more likely to get less sleep and wake up earlier.