Data from a new University of Michigan smartphone app reveals sleep trends and habits of adults from 20 countries around the world, as reported by CBC News.
Smartphone app data hint at how societal pressures to sacrifice sleep contribute to a “global sleep crisis,” a new study suggests.
Researchers created a free, no-ad app to fight jetlag, and asked people aged 15 and older to send them a treasure trove of anonymous sleep, wake-up and lighting data. Now the mathematicians and computational medicine experts have explored how cultural pressures can override our natural circadian rhythms at bedtime.
“It is middle-aged men that seem to be getting a remarkably little amount of sleep, and we think that is very significant,” the study’s lead author, math Prof. Daniel Forger of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in an interview. “They are behind the wheel driving trucks, driving airplanes and when they do it with so little sleep, that can pose risks to themselves and also to society.”
In Friday’s issue of the journal Science Advances, Forger and colleagues Olivia Walch and Amy Cochran analyzed data from about 6,000 people in more than 100 countries. Their findings included:
-Middle-aged men often get less than the recommended seven to eight hours of shut-eye.
-Women schedule about 30 more minutes of sleep on average by going to bed earlier and waking up later.
-Age is the main driver of sleep timing. Sleep schedules were more similar among those 55 and older than those younger than 30. As people get closer to retirement, the researchers suspect our bodies will only let us sleep at certain times of the day, Forger said.
“If you have very little sleep, you can perform just as well as when you are drunk, so not getting much sleep is indeed a global crisis right now,” he said, based on previous studies.