How the World Sleeps
While attitudes towards sleep vary around the world, a new study in support of World Sleep Day has captured a fascinating snapshot of how people really see sleep in 2015.
Sleep is important
In fact, people today see sleep as a more significant factor in their overall health and well-being than family, work and social life. That’s just one of the findings of a new report from Philips, following a survey of nearly 8,000 people across 10 countries.
The report’s release on March 13 coincides with the World Association of Sleep Medicine’s annual World Sleep Day. With 96 percent of the people surveyed stating sleep is important to them, we seem pretty unanimous on that point.
People want more sleep, but don’t know how to get it
But it’s not all sweet dreams. Despite the value placed on it, 57 percent of respondents admitted that, while their sleep could be better, they haven’t done anything to try to improve it. Meanwhile, only 17 percent consistently sleep through the night, with 22 percent of respondents waking up before they would like five to seven nights a week.
The effects of technology, or the job?
So what’s the problem? The findings also provide fascinating insights into the relationship between mobile devices and our nightly snooze. While 67 percent of people around the world sleep with a mobile phone within reach, only 21 percent said technology was a sleep disruptor to them.
“Over the past few years, many surveys have focused on the negative impact that technology and mobile devices can have on sleep, but our report confirmed that the global factors impacting people’s sleep are much more varied and complex,” said Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, M.D., Chief Medical Liaison, Philips.
So, if it isn’t our mobiles and tablets, what is keeping us up at night?
While no one factor seems to answer that question, ahead of technology on a list of 13 potential slumber disruptors people pointed to work (25%) and financial or economic issues (28%) as the most common sleep-robbing culprits.
“Our report shows how psychological factors can impact sleep, and how those factors can change depending on the times in which we live,” said Dr. Mark Aloia, Senior Director of Global Clinical Research, Philips. “Combating stress is critical to a good night’s sleep, but the toughest part for people is often just getting motivated to make changes.”
Getting better sleep, and more of it
With this combination of factors chipping away at our much needed shut-eye, what can we do to improve the situation?
Experts from Philips point to the positive impact that simple lifestyle changes can have on both sleep and well-being. Simple activities that can improve sleep include:
- Cooking a nutritious meal for dinner
- Exercising during the day
- Creating a good sleeping environment
- Meditating or relaxing to minimize stress
- Refraining from use of digital devices before bed.
Find out more about global sleep trends and habits by reading the full report, “Sleep: A Global Perspective”.