Americans & Sleep: How We Stack Up Around The World

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sleep-openerIllustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
How does the U.S. compare to other countries between the sheets? No, not like that —The National Sleep Foundation has just released data from the first ever international sleep study. And the results are very interesting. Researchers asked questions about a variety of different sleeping patterns. They found the Japanese survive on the smallest amount of sleep a night —only six hours and 22 minutes — but the U.S. wasn't far behind. At an average of six hours and 31 minutes per night, we're not exactly luxuriating in bed. The NSF notes that we ought to be getting seven or eight hours to avoid the damaging effects of sleep deprivation — things like risk of stroke and diabetes.

We all know that how we spend the time leading up to bedtime impacts how easily we fall asleep. Many experts recommend turning off all electronics at least an hour before bed to avoid overly exciting our brains. But, are people across the world heeding this advice? Well...no, not at all. Mexico and the U.S. were the most likely to catch up on their Breaking Bad: 80 percent and 73 percent watch TV before bed, respectively. The Japanese are a little more technologically advanced in their pre-bedtime rituals: 65 percent use a laptop or tablet before turning in.

Lack of sleep has important immediate and long-term consequences. We feel bad, concentrate worse, and tend to eat less heathy when we skimp on the ZZZs. (Huffington Post)