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  • Article

7 min read

Catching ZZZs around the world

Whether you like to starfish on the bed and make yourself as big as possible or curl yourself into a cosy cocoon – getting into bed after a long day is a feeling that cannot be beaten. No wonder flopping on the bed is the first thing many of us do after arriving at a hotel. The quality of a hotel bed can elevate the trip from fantastic to jump-up-and-down extraordinary.

But is it the excitement of the unfamiliar that’s so special, or is sleep really different across the globe? Read on to discover how sleeping habits differ around the world.

Average hours of shut-eye worldwide

Let’s start with the nitty-gritty stuff – how many hours of sleep do you really need? The recommended length of a night’s sleep is seven-to-nine hours. But, according to the 2019 Philips Global Sleep Survey, the average night’s sleep is only 6.8 hours on a weeknight and 7.8 hours at the weekend.

Using data from Sleep Cycle app users, researchers have concluded that across the globe, people wake up earliest on a Monday (no surprises there) and latest on a Saturday (also no surprises there). Saturday seems to be the day of rest, with the majority of the world sleeping the longest on Saturday and the shortest on Sunday. Interestingly, 58% of countries experience the best sleep on Wednesdays, and out of these countries, China has the highest sleep quality worldwide.

Sleep quality is not always directly related to sleep quantity. There isn’t always a correlation between a good night’s sleep and the amount of time spent in bed, wake-up times or bedtimes. In fact, sleep habits and other factors may have a higher impact on your sleep quality than the length of time you are actually asleep for – so better start counting sheep now.

Which country gets the most beauty sleep?

It appears that the country that you live in can significantly impact your sleep cycles. You may want to try Finland, the Netherlands, and New Zealand for a restful night’s sleep as they rank highest, while Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea get the least amount of shut-eye.

Early risers vs night owls

According to Sleep Cycle, people in South Africa sleep for the shortest time of any other nation, at just over six hours a night – with an average wake-up time of 6.24am. It seems like the early bird really does catch the worm, as South Africans are also the most raring to go on Monday morning, leaping out of bed at 6.09am – a whole 15 minutes earlier than South Africa’s weekly average.

Poland, Japan, and Chile are the global night owls and recorded the latest bedtime, with Poland topping the chart at 12.55am. Japan and Chile aren’t far behind at 12.49am and 12.47am.

Does sleep really equal happiness?

Ah, Sundays. That blissful weekend feeling. It doesn’t come as a shock that most countries wake up in the happiest mood on a Sunday morning (now you know when to ask for that favour).

Not getting enough sleep can have a massive impact on your emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing. So, which country has mastered the art of never waking up on the wrong side of the bed?

SleepScore Labs (another sleep app) compared the total average sleeping time of multiple countries with their 2020 World Happiness Index score. It revealed that the most well-rested country was also the happiest. Finland had the highest World Happiness Index score and – you guessed it – the highest average nightly sleep time (7 hours and 5 minutes).

Japan had one of the lowest happiness ratings and one of the shortest average night’s sleep (6 hours and 23 minutes). Even just a few minutes less than the recommended night’s sleep can have a huge effect on your health and happiness.

How do bed sizes vary across the globe?

Ever wondered how your bed compares to that of someone on the opposite side of the equator? Or if beds in the US are really bigger than here in the UK? Below is a comparison of the average bed sizes in the UK, US, EU, and Japan.

Average bed size in UK

  • Single: 90cm x 190cm

  • Double: 135cm x 190cm

  • King: 150cm x 200cm

  • Super King: 180cm x 200cm

Typically, the rule of thumb is to make sure your mattress is at least 10cm longer than the tallest person sleeping in it. That way, no one will complain about their feet hanging off of the end of the bed, or be at risk of getting nibbled by any under-the-bed monsters.

Average bed size in US

  • Twin/Single: 99cm x 191cm

  • Twin XL: 99cm x 203cm

  • Full/Double: 137cm x 191cm

  • Queen: 152cm x 203cm

  • Super Queen: 166cm x 203cm

  • King: 193cm x 203cm

  • California King: 183cm x 213cm

  • Super King: 293cm x 249cm

Average bed size in EU

  • Single: 90cm x 200cm

  • Small Double: 120cm x 200cm

  • Double: 140cm x 200cm

  • King: 160cm x 200cm

  • Grand King: 180cm x 200cm

Average bed size in Japan

  • Small Single: 85cm x 195cm

  • Single/Twin: 97cm x 195cm

  • Double/Full: 140cm x 195cm

  • Queen: 152cm x 195cm

  • King: 170/180cm x 195cm

  • Super King: 194cm x 205cm

Well, there you have it, beds in the US are indeed bigger. As apartments in Japan are typically smaller than in the US, the beds are generally smaller. Interestingly, the UK has the smallest king size bed, but it makes up for it with the super king.

Does climate play a part in our sleeping habits?

Ever-warmer night-time temperatures force later sleep times and earlier waking times – costing the world valuable sleeping time. Even if it’s just a tad hotter than usual, warmer temperatures can impact your sleep.

Everyone is familiar with the feeling of a stuffy, restless sleep, where no matter how much you toss and turn and whatever position you chose, you’re just too warm. Not only can this impact your tiredness levels the next day, but a lack of sleep increases the risk of disease, mood disorders and much more.

Experts warn that as temperatures rise, global sleep quality falls. In fact, people across the globe may lose 50-to-58 hours of sleep each year by 2099 thanks to the climate crisis.

Research shows that increasing temperatures particularly impact older sleepers, over 70 years of age, who can lose about double the amount of sleep, and women, who are also worse affected at warmer temperatures.

Browse our Eco Comfort™ range, with breathable fibres, perfect for helping hot sleepers enjoy a cooler night’s sleep. Or our summer range, including our Cool Touch Mattress Topper, designed to keep you comfortable during warm nights.

The power of a good night’s sleep should never be taken for granted – no matter where on the globe you’re sleeping. Whether you’re a front-sleeper, side-sleeper or up-all-nighter, Silentnight can help you reach your perfect slumber.