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Which countries get maximum sleep? Is India getting enough sleep?

Rahul M
·4-min read

Surveys have revealed that richer populations tend to be more well-rested.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to work 20 hours a day. "I have very little sleep. All my doctor friends consistently advise me that I should increase my sleeping. I should sleep minimum for 5 to 6 hours. But I have become so workaholic and it has become my habit since many years that I hardly sleep for 3.5 hours. But it is a very sound sleep. I go to bed and within 30 seconds I fall asleep," PM Modi said during an interview in 2011.

Former US President Donald Trump makes do with four hours of sleep. Apple CEO Tim Cook is up before 4am.

However, not everybody has busy schedules like that of world leaders which leaves them with more time to catch up on much-required sleep. Worldwide, physical and mental health experts stress on the importance of a good night's sleep for a healthy functioning of body and mind, which in turn has a bearing on productivity and capacity to work harder.

The National Sleep Foundation, an American institute, says adults need seven to nine hours a night. Sleeping lesser can cause harm not only to yourself but to others around you as well. 20 hours of wakefulness has the same weakening effect on reasoning and reaction times as drinking a bottle of wine. Two weeks of six-hour nights slows your brain as much as two consecutive nights of no sleep; doing so consistently increases your chance of an early death by 13%.

People in most rich countries tend to be well-rested, suggesting that a good dose of sleep is a luxury. In rapidly growing economies such as Taiwan and South Korea workers turn in at 1am on an average night. Many of those in Islamic ones have early morning prayers. Such fatigue can debilitate an economy. Japan is the weariest nation of all: a 2016 study found that exhaustion cost it nearly 3% of its annual gdp, largely by lowering productivity.

Here's a look at the numbers of hours of sleep in various countries. Is India getting ample sleep? Read on to find out:

1. Netherlands: 8 hours 5 minutes

2. New Zealand: 8 hours 4 minutes

3. France: 8 hours 3 minutes

4. Australia: 8 hours 1 minute

5. Belgium: 8 hours 1 minute

6. Canada: 7 hours 58 minutes

7. United Kingdom: 7 hours 54 minutes

8. United States: 7 hours 52 minutes

9. Singapore: 7 hours 30 minutes

10. India: 7 hours and 1 minute

11. Japan: 6 hours and 47 minutes

Indians are the second most sleep-deprived with an average nightly sleep of seven hours and one minute. They rank after Japanese who get an average sleep of six hours and 47 minutes, according to latest Fitbit sleep data insights from across 18 countries.

While a goodnight's sleep is something of a luxury, there are certain other napping habits specific to some countries.

Here is some interesting trivia:

-In Japan it is culturally accepted, even respectful, for men or women to fall asleep at work or during dinner parties. The practice is called inemuri.

-Norwegian parents often let their children nap in their strollers outside, believing that fresh air is the best for a growing child.

-In China, napping on the job is encouraged to keep up with the pace of business.

-Americans and Japanese tend to nap more than people in Germany, Mexico, or the U.K.

-Siestas are the most common throughout Spain, the Mediterranean, and countries with strong Spanish influence.

-Siestas, or mid-day naps, were first mentioned in the Koran, the religious text of Islam.

-54% of Japanese people sleep alone compared to only 14% of Canadians.

-71% of American pet owners share their bed with their furry friends.

-83% of Vietnamese parents share the bed with their children.

-32% of British people and 48% of Japanese go to bed with worries about money and/or work.

-73% of Americans and 80% of Mexicans watch TV within an hour of bedtime.

-62% of American children and teenagers take their cellphones to bed and 37% text after “lights out”.

-65% of Japanese folks have a tablet beside their bed.

-20% of patients ask doctors for sleeping pills globally, and another study estimates that the amount of people suffering from sleep apnea has exploded to 1 billion, which is 10 times the amount previously thought.

So if you're now wondering why you feel fatigued and unwilling to put your best foot forward in terms of productivity, here's a simple question you need to ask yourself and address the pain points or fill the sleep gap. Your response will guide you to the bed or away from it as the case maybe...

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Source: World Economic Forum, sleepadvisor.org, The Economist, Reuters, BBC, Agencies