To mark World Sleep Day today, Polar has published some interesting findings on sleep habits in 28 different countries. The company anonymized a user sample of over 6 million sleep nights to provide a unique look into trends, differences between men and women, and more.
Essential reading: Top gadgets for advanced sleep monitoring
We spend about a third of our lives asleep. This is very important for maintaining good mental and physical health. In fact, its as important as eating, drinking and breathing. World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to your nightly rest time.
“When it comes to sports performance and fitness, sleep and rest are as equally important as training and nutrition,” says Marco Suvilaakso, Chief Strategy Officer at Polar Global.
“Sleep plays a major part in recovery, and monitoring sleep gives you a better idea of your sleep habits and sleep quality.”
Here are some takeaways from the study.
Americans typically go to sleep by 11:17 pm each night and wake up at 6:35 am, which equates to around 7 hours and 13 minutes of kip time. Unsurprisingly, they sleep in about half an hour longer on weekends. The US total is only slightly below the global 7 hours and 22 minute average.
Of the 28 countries, Estonians take their sleep time most seriously logging some 7 hours and 36 minutes per night. Those living in Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, Brazil, Costa Rica and Columbia, on the other hand, would benefit from reassessing their nightly rest habits. They are all below the recommended minimum of 7 hours per night.
Hong Kong and Spain are the world’s night owls, falling asleep well after midnight at 12:52 am and 12:45 am respectively. South Africans are the earliest to bed (10:45 pm) and earliest to rise (6:06 am).
Women tend sleep longer and better than men in all 28 countries. Their global average is 7 hours and 35 minutes, 22 minutes longer than men. Typically, American women and men wake up at the same time each morning but women tend to go to sleep 20 minutes earlier.
A good night’s rest consists of long sleep segments. The fewer interruptions, the better. In that sense, the age group that sleeps soundest are the 18-29 year-olds. They log 7 hours of actual sleep time, 10 minutes more than the 40-64 year-olds.
Finns are top of the charts for the best sleep continuity with a score of 3.4 out of 5 on Polar’s continuity scale. China is at the opposite end with 2.7.
Americans rank fairly well, scoring an average 3.3 out of 5. Its worth noting, although American’s average sleep time is 7 hours and 21 minutes, when interruptions are factored in the actual sleep time drops to 6 hours and 52 minutes. This actually means most of us could do with going to bed earlier and waking up later.
The interesting analysis comes following the launch of Polar Sleep Plus last summer, the brand’s sleep tracking and analysis system. On a number of its devices, such as the A370, a smart algorithm is capable of automatically detecting when you fall asleep, meaning you only need to remember to wear the tracker to bed.
The system uses polysomnography as a reference measurement, which Polar says is the gold standard when it comes to monitoring your kip time. By tracking a variety of metrics, the algorithm assigns you a continuity score to show how well you slept. You also get guidance on how to improve your score.
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