Global Sleeping Patterns Revealed by App Data - Dream Health

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Wednesday 11 May 2016

Global Sleeping Patterns Revealed by App Data


Global Sleep Crisis

Social pressure has been compelling people to cut back on their sleep which has contributed to a `global sleep crisis as per a new study based on research collected through smartphone app. The sleeping patterns of the world has been revealed by scientists investigating data collected from an app which shows the Dutch have almost an hour more in bed each night than people in Singapore or Japan.

The study that was published in Science Advances also found that women regularly got more sleep than men with middle-aged men getting the least of all. According to the researchers, the findings could be utilised in dealing with the `global sleep crisis’. The team at the University of Michigan had released the Entrain app in 2014 in order to support people to overcome jetlag. However users have the option of sharing data on their sleeping habits with the research group.

As per the study, it was found that people in Japan and Singapore had an average of seven hours and 24 minutes sleep while the people in the Netherlands had eight hours and 12 minutes, while people in the UK had just under eight hours, a bit less than the French.

Conflict between Desire to Stay up Late/Bodies Urging to Get up Early

It was the country’s normal bedtime which had the biggest impact on the time spent in bed. The later a country tends to stay up in the night, the less sleep it get. However, what time a country wakes up, tends to have little effect on the duration of sleep.

One of the researchers, Prof Daniel Forger stated that there was conflict between our desire to stay up late and our bodies urging us to get up in the morning. He informed BBC News website that `society has been pushing us to stay up late, our body – clocks are attempting to get us up early and in the middle, the amount of sleep is being forfeited, it is what we tend to think has been going on in global sleep crisis.

The study also portrayed that women had around 30 minutes more each night in bed than men especially between the ages of 30 and 60. People who seemed to spend most of the time in natural sunlight seemed to go to bed earlier. A strong consequence of age on sleep was also noticed. Prof Forger stated that a wide variety of sleep and wake-up times was discovered in young individuals though `that really narrows in old age.

We Are Ruled by Social Circumstances

Dr Akhilesh Reddy from the University of Cambridge had informed BBC that he was of the opinion that `it is interesting, there had been a trend for these studies utilising data from twitter and apps and discovering interesting correlations across the world, they have never been able to do by putting people in sleeplab. It tends to highlight that though our body clocks are programming us to do certain things; we are unable since we are ruled by social circumstances.

We will not know the long-term consequences of this for several years. Disturbed sleep in shift workers has been associated to a variety of health issues inclusive of type 2 diabetes. Dr Reddy has informed that the next wave of studies would be gathering data from activity and sleep monitors and `that is where the future of this is’.

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