We definitely need sleep. However, some people sleep more than others.That oftentimes depends on how busy and healthy people are. Now scientists from the University of Helsinki quarter of a million nights of sleep to see what factors influence it the most.
The age or participants in this study ranged from 16 to 30 years old. Scientists wanted to see how geographical location, age and gender influence sleeping habits. Researchers found all of these factors to be very important for the timing and duration of sleep.
For example, as children grow up to be 16–24-year-olds the timing of their sleeping is delayed. However, as people age it comes back to an earlier time. This is because of the changes of the circadian rhythms as well as changing lifestyle. But age is not the only factor influencing sleeping habits.
This study showed that living area is also an important factor for sleeping habits. For example, people in Europe and North America slept the longest and people in Asian countries slept the shortest. In the Oceania region people went to sleep the earliest, while people in the Middle East had the most delayed sleep timing.
Geographical location, of course, is important because of the daylight times. However, scientists found the differences between different areas to be rather insignificant. Sleep timing can be influenced by culture, though. People in the West tend to wake up early to go to work. People in Muslim majority countries sometimes delay sleep, because they are fasting throughout the daylight.
There are some differences between genders as well. For example, young women slept more than young men and went to sleep earlier. Of course, sleep is highly individual thing, but it is always interesting to see what kind of factors influence our habits.
Liisa Kuula, one of the authors of the study, said: “We gained an exceptionally diverse and extensive dataset which provides important basic knowledge on sleep among different age groups across the globe. Validated consumer devices may hold the potential for investigations more comprehensive than those conducted with conventional data collection methods”.
Sleep is a very important part of our lives. You need good sleep to remain healthy, allow your memories to form and your injuries to heal. But humans managed to develop thousands of different ways to go about sleeping. And this is why researches like this are very interesting and fun.
Source: University of Helsinki