Social expectations and quotidian pressures are forcing more and more people away from their pillows for longer sleepless nights. According to data collected by a smartphone app named ‘Entrain‘, it was inferred that sleep cycles across the world have been largely distorted due to a variety of new age problems that is also consequently having a toll on one’s overall health and well being.
These findings by the scientists at University of Michigan were published in the journal Science Advances and aimed at understanding the different contributing factors towards sleep (or the lack of it!)
Age, culture, gender and timezone were some of the variables that were tested. It was found that age played a major role in determining the duration of one’s sleep with middle aged men, being the most sleep deprived participants among the study’s demographic.
Six thousand people from around the world and above the age of fifteen contributed to this research by giving details of their average wake up and sleep times. It was found that the country one lived in significantly influenced a person’s average nap duration with countries like Singapore and Japan spending the least amount of time for this activity – Seven hours and 24 minutes on an average.
The Dutch and the British, on the other hand, slept for almost thirty six to forty eight hours more than their Asian counterparts, thus giving the latter a natural advantage when it came to the development of one’s cognitive capacities.
Apart from these, the increased expectation from social and professional spheres has also resulted in people sleeping late and waking up early. A phenomenon, that is prevalent in varying degrees, in every part of the world, is now being considered to set the ball rolling for a first of its kind ‘Global Sleep Crisis’
Professor Daniel Forger, one of the scientists conducting this study, was quoted by the BBC claiming,”Society is pushing us to stay up late, our [body] clocks are trying to get us up earlier and in the middle the amount of sleep is being sacrificed; that’s what we think is going on in global sleep crisis.”
It was also concluded that women, on an average, sleep a good half an hour more than men and those that were exposed to longer time periods of natural sunlight were more likely to have an earlier bed time than those who were not.
While the repercussions may seem inconspicuous and negligible now, its long term impact on one’s mental and physical state of health is yet to be completely understood.
While it has been known for quite some time now, the impact a disturbed or shortened sleep could have on memory, diabetes, obesity, thermogenesis and cardiovascular disease, it goes without saying that the internal circadian rhythms of human beings are losing more and more control everyday which could translate to unfathomable consequences in the nearby future.