Survey: Sleep habits are problematic on a global scale

Think Americans are the only people with problems in the sleep department? Think again.

New research from Philips released before World Sleep Day 2018, shows that 67% of adults around the world believe sleep has a major impact on personal wellness.

While 77% of people surveyed say they’ve tried doing something to get better sleep, only 29% of those reported feeling “guilty” because they don’t maintain proper sleeping practices.

Harris Poll surveyed more than 15,000 adults living in 13 countries. Respondents in the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, the UK, France, Germany, Poland, India, China, Japan and Australia took part in the research. Here are some of the findings that stood out.

A variety of reasons keep people up at night, but worrying tops the list

While the research found that “worrying” was the most popular reason why people’s sleep was interrupted in the last three months at 58%, the report said that “in particular, worrying about financial or economic issues is the top worry among nearly all countries,” at 34%.

Of the 61% of respondents who said that they have a medical condition that impacts their sleep, 26% cited insomnia, 12% have “chronic pain” like “arthritis” or “fibromyalgia,” 9% have “shift work sleep disorder” and 8% have “sleep apnea.”

In the U.S., 67% of respondents agreed that sleep is the biggest aspect that largely influences their “overall health,” and not getting enough sleep was also found to have bad effects internationally. For people who got fewer than seven to nine hours, 46% reported “looking tired,” 41% were “moody/irritable,” and 39% each said it affected their “motivation” and “concentration.”

Not getting proper sleep also affects work lives, with 39% of people in Mexico and Colombia saying they are “less productive” on the job because of it.

What people have done to better their sleep

Of the nations surveyed where respondents tried to fix their sleep, the main method used in three of them was “soothing music” — in the U.S. at 23%, in India at 41% and China at 43%.

The main method was “instituting a set bed/wake-up time” in Argentina (33%), Germany (33%), Brazil (40%) and Japan (27%), while Poland was the only one that used enhanced “air quality” to aid sleep.

While 53% of people surveyed rise at a certain time and 56% of people surveyed overall eat on “a set schedule,” just 46% have one for when they hit the sheets at the end of the day.

Dr. David White, Chief Medical Officer, Philips Sleep & Respiratory Care, commented on the research in a statement.

“Sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. On a day to day basis, how well and how long we slept the night before is the single most important variable dictating how we feel … Thus inadequate sleep can have an immediate impact on our wellbeing unlike exercise or diet.

“This survey shows that despite knowing sleep is important to overall health, people are still struggling to address it in the same way they would exercise or nutrition. The more we understand how sleep impacts everything we do, the better we can adjust our lifestyle and find solutions that help us get better sleep.”