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Global Sleep Survey: How Do People Sleep Throughout the World

Update Date: Sep 12, 2013 01:21 PM EDT

Even though sleep is a necessity for all people regardless of factors, people sleep differently throughout the world. In some cultures, napping is very important while in others, napping could be a sign of laziness. Since sleep is vital to health, understanding how people sleep throughout the world could shed insight on the health conditions experienced globally. In a new global sleep survey, researchers examined the many sleeping rituals that are practiced throughout the world.

In this report titled the "Bedroom Poll" that was conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, researchers looked at the sleeping behaviors in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. The researchers discovered that sleeping rituals varied greatly throughout the world. In Britain, one third of the people preferred to sleep completely naked. In Germany, people reported that they have to air out their rooms every week or else they would not get a good night's sleep. In Japan and the U.S., at least half of the population reported to taking naps every two weeks.

Other statistics compared the amount of sleep that people got and needed throughout the world. For averaged time slept during working nights, people in Mexico got the most with seven hours and three minutes. Japanese people had the least sleep during work nights clocking in with six hours and 22 minutes. The average amount of sleep needed to function the best was highest in Mexico and lowest in Japan. When it came to getting good sleep every night, the highest rate, 56 percent, was in Japan and the lowest rate of 40 percent was in Germany.

The poll also looked into statistics of how clean the people's beds were throughout the world. When it came to making the bed almost everyday, 80 percent of Britons, 79 percent of Germans, 66 percent of Americans and Canadians, 44 percent of Japanese and 82 percent of Mexicans reported that they did so. When it came to changing bed sheets at least once a week, only 22 percent of Germans reported doing so while 81 percent of Mexicans did.

"Although we know that everyone sleeps, the rather remarkable cultural differences within this universal experience have no been adequately explored. It is NSF's hope that this initial poll will inspire more research on this critical yet understudied topic," commented Namni Goel from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine reported by Daily Mail.

"It is important to look at cultural differences in sleep, and not always assume a U.S. focus," added German Professor, Jan Born from the University of Tübingen. "Sleep is deeply inter-connected with health and performance, but it is often overlooked by researchers. This poll shows intriguing cultural variations on how we tackle this nightly, biological ritual."

The data came from the answers of 1,500 people who were aged 25 to 55. More information about the poll can be found here.

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