You may think that not getting enough sleep every night is an American problem, thanks to this country’s on-the-go culture and tendency to work around the clock—but that actually isn’t the case. People around the world aren’t getting enough zzz’s, either. For example, adults in the United Kingdom get an hour less sleep every night than they did just a year ago; 65 percent get just six hours and 27 minutes of shut-eye per night. (For optimal health, most adults need seven to nine hours of slumber every evening.)
When it comes to clocking shut-eye, Americans aren’t doing so badly after all. Some statistics show that Americans get almost eight and a half hours every night. People in China record the most sleep, with more than nine hours per night. Those in Japan get the least, with an average of seven hours and 14 minutes of shut-eye each weeknight.
Around the globe, the amount of sleep that people get every night has been steadily decreasing since the 1970s. Many believe that the rise in technology has contributed to that, since it frequently disrupts our sleep. But some cultures, such as Spain, make up for that by embracing the siesta, or afternoon nap.
As the siesta illustrates, not only does the total amount of snoozing vary from country to country, but sleep patterns differ, as well. For example, preschool children in Asian countries get less sleep at night than children in predominantly Caucasian countries, but they make up the difference by napping during the day. And instead of measuring how much sleep people get at night, they track the total amount over a 24-hour period.
No matter how the U.S. stacks up to the other countries, it’s important to make sure that you get the sleep you need every night.