Which Countries Get The Least Sleep?

Found yourself lying awake at 1am thinking about nothing important?

The United States is said to lose 1.2 million working days a year to people catching up on sleep. This is said to equate to $411 BILLION dollars in economic activity.

If you’re worried about not getting enough sleep at night, don’t worry you are not alone. In fact, you probably find that out every Monday morning at around 9am.

But what about the rest of the world?

Most doctors, health experts, and sleep specialists are in agreement: the average amount of required sleep for a human adult is 8 hours. That’s no longer news to anyone. So how is it that the total number of countries that achieve that is STILL ZERO? Out of all 195 countries?

The country that gets the most sleep at night is reaching a fantastically low, wait for it, 7.5 hours a night.

The sleep deprivation epidemic is real. As we move at light speed into a technologically advanced and dynamic world, we are finding more and more reasons to stay awake. The link between economic and technological advancement and sleep deprivation is undeniable.

Tracked by SleepCycle, a popular app that tracks the amount of sleep we get, the results around the world can be seen in this graphic:

chart with sleep hours per country

The Countries That Get The Least Sleep:

1. Japan – 6 hours 20 or less

2. S. Korea – 6 hours 30 or less

3. Saudi Arabia – 6 hours 30 or less

4. Philippines – 6 hours 45 or less

5. Malaysia – 6 hours 45 or less

The countries that currently top the chart for least sleep on average rank very highly for gross domestic product (GDP) – they make tonnes of money. There are of course outliers but the overall lack of sleep among the richest countries in the world is astounding.

The thing is, there is also strong correlation between wellness scores/quality of living, higher GDP and MORE sleep. So what gives?

Most Sleep By Country

1. New Zealand – 7 hours 40

2. Finland – 7 hours 30 or more

3. Netherlands – 7 hours 30 or more

4. Australia – 7 hours 30 or more

5. GB – 7 hours 30 or more

As we can see from this many Nordic countries which are in the median area for individual GDP, rank highly for sleep and often give high wellness scores for quality of life.

This is a complicated issue. Because sleep is free, many of us take it for granted. When it’s time to make a sacrifice for work or to be there for our inner circles, sleep is the first thing that goes. Sleep is seen as a luxury to the economically active, with everyone trying to commit to long working hours, social lives and side-hustles, time is short.

So where do you rank for quality of sleep, wellness, and GDP? How much sleep are you getting on a nightly basis and what ways do you think you can improve the quality of your sleep?

The jury is out on whether or not we should be giving up so much sleep or quality of sleep for time to do other things. There is much hype around CEOs and corporate entities that rave about getting less than 5 hours of sleep, and the proof is normally in the riches – for example, Apple CEO Tim Cook has let us know he gets up at 4am. It’s unlikely he goes to sleep by midnight. What example is that setting for the rest of us?

How much more money could you be making if you didn’t trade quality of sleep for more waking hours.

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