The Japan Times examines data regarding sleep trends in Japan, including an analysis that found 1 in 3 Japanese report not getting enough sleep.
In a 2009 sleep study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Japan was placed 28th in the 29 countries surveyed, just one minute ahead of South Korea and a long way behind the world’s snooze champions, the French, who enjoy one hour more sleep than their counterparts in East Asia.
Yet, while the OECD survey found that the average Japanese slept seven hours and 50 minutes per night, a 2010 study by national broadcaster NHK concluded that average sleep time in Japan is 35 minutes shorter.
Equally revealing was the increasing tendency for “eveningness” in the country: In NHK’s first national lifestyle survey in 1960, 70 percent of those surveyed reported being in bed by 10:30 p.m. Thirty years later that figure had dropped to 30 percent.
In the 45 years between that first survey and 2005, the amount of time spent sleeping had fallen by 50 minutes. This resulted in an estimated ¥3.5 trillion loss to the economy due to decreased productivity and other losses resulting from human error, such as vehicle and other accidents, according to sleep expert Makoto Uchiyama, chairman of the Nihon University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. If medical costs due to injuries brought about as a result of sleeplessness are included, that figure could be as high as ¥5 trillion per year, Uchiyama says.