Getting a good night’s sleep is necessary for our health, well-being, and productivity. Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of people around the world don’t get enough shut-eye. According to the American National Sleep Foundation, an adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Sleeplessness has become a global health crisis. It is not only affecting our health but also causing roughly a trillion dollar in lost productivity every year. Here we take a look at the top 5 countries that get the least and most sleep.
Most people in overworked countries don’t even remember what it feels like to be truly rested. When we don’t or can’t get enough shut-eye, we turn to things like alarm clocks, coffee, and bright artificial lighting to keep ourselves awake. And these things affect our natural sleep/wake cycle.
Of course, there are dozens and dozens of political leaders, celebrities, and corporate executives who say they need only 3-5 hours of sleep to function properly. But most of us need 7-9 hours of rest a night to prevent the negative impact of sleeplessness.
Lack of sufficient rest could cause a variety of health problems including stroke, high blood pressure, and depression. In fact, sleep deprivation is often used as a torture technique. Last year, a commercial airplane in Australia went 50 kilometers beyond its destination because the pilot had fallen asleep.
Shockingly, no country on the planet gets eight hours of shut-eye on average, according to data from Sleep Cycle, an app that tracks how much sleep we are getting.
Top 5 countries that get the least sleep
Japan has a culture of long working hours. Workers sacrificing their personal needs for the benefit of the company is considered a sign of commitment and loyalty. The sleeplessness epidemic is so serious in Japan that workers sometimes die due to lack of sleep. In the last few years, Japanese companies have taken a series of steps to ensure that workers get sufficient rest. Some companies have made sleeping on the job part of their office life.
Japan is the country where people get the least shut-eye, according to Sleep Cycle. South Korea and Saudi Arabia are close behind. The top five countries are:
- Japan (less than 6 hours 20 minutes)
- South Korea (less than 6 hours 30 minutes)
- Saudi Arabia (less than 6 hours 30 minutes)
- The Philippines (less than 6 hours 45 minutes)
- Malaysia (less than 6 hours 45 minutes)
Millions of people in all these countries suffer from sleep deprivation. They don’t get the minimum seven hours of rest needed for a healthy body and mind.
Top 5 countries that get the most sleep
As I pointed out earlier, no country in the world sleeps eight hours a night on average. But people in each of these countries enjoy between 7.5 and 8 hours of rest a night. All of them are developed nations with high standards of living.
- New Zealand
- The Netherlands
- Great Britain
Sleep deprivation not only affects our health but also poses challenges to our daily life and relationships. It also takes away our ability to do our job in the best manner. As per Rand Corporation, the US loses 1.2 million working days every year due to workers not getting enough rest. It translates to $411 billion in lost economic output a year.
The same problem affects other countries as well. Japan loses equivalent of 600,000 working days and $138 billion in economic output a year due to sleep deprivation. The UK and Germany lose $50 billion and $60 billion of economic output a year to the lack of sleep. Experts believe better sleep for workers could boost the GDP of many countries.
How many hours do you sleep a night on average? Let me know in the comments below. I get around seven hours of shut-eye.