Do You Sleep Like an American? Phone App Tracks Sleep by Nation

“I never get enough sleep.” You’ll hear it routinely – particularly among members of certain countries, including the U.S.

Indeed, studies support that certain populations are chronically sleep-deprived. Meanwhile, other data support that different people need different amounts of sleep and that sleep needs change over the course of one’s lifetime.

But this fascinating study took a worldwide look at sleep. Utilizing a phone app called ENTRAIN, researchers tracked the total duration of sleep, as well as bedtimes and wake times, for 20 different nations around the world.

Published in the journal Science, the study confirmed some already-suspected facts – for instance, worldwide, women and girls do indeed sleep more than men (just slightly), sleep needs reduce after middle age and no matter the nation, when able, children go to bed later and wake later than their normal pattern.

Beyond these similarities, the nations began to divide on how, and when, people slept. According to results of the study, culturally, nations really do view (and experience) sleep differently. For example, though we often complain of too little overall rest, Americans have the fourth earliest bedtime (behind Belgium, Australia and New Zealand). And Spain and Singapore boast the most exciting night life, with the latest bedtimes among nations polled.

Countries researched in the study included the U.S., Australia, Canada, the U.K., France, Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, China, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, Finland, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

Some trends were logical – such as later or earlier sunrise/sunset due to latitude on the globe – while others were cultural, like siesta periods in some Spanish-speaking countries that made a later bedtime possible without severely sacrificing total rest in any 24-hour period.

To find out which country you most “sleep like,” click here.

ENTRAIN developers hope the app will provide further information as it’s developed, including predicting one’s optimum bedtime based on usual patterns as well as temporary changes (such as a late night out on the weekend).