Will Britain beat Germany in the battle of the beds?
A new sleep survey has been compiled to compare the sleeping habits of Germans and Britons, with the researchers hoping to
discover how society and geography can impact sleep rates.
The results will feature at this year's Cheltenham Science
Festival, and will look to examine how society, genes and
light all interact to generate individual sleep patterns. Society
has a particularly large role to play in our attitudes towards
sleep, and in turn, sleep has a large impact on society. That is
what makes this area particularly fascinating for
Sleepiness can cost the economy billions of pounds each year in
sick days and loss of productivity. But despite this generally
recognised trend, many people still believe that working until the
early hours and getting up earlier is better for their jobs.
Professor Russell Foster, head of the Nuffield Laboratory of
Ophthalmology and a Fellow of Brasenose College, University of
Oxford told the Guardian: "Society glorifies "driven" individuals
who succeed on apparently little sleep, whereas those who
prioritise sleep are viewed as weak and not having the "right
stuff". Some professions even demand excessive sleep deprivation as
part of the job or a "rite of passage"."
There are also bedroom factors that are effecting our night's
sleep, such as mattress
quality, temperature, pets, noise pollution, alcohol, drugs and
more. Most of these factors can be dealt with by simply educating
people on what makes the best sleep environments, but two things
that cannot be changed, are genes and sunrise.
Research has shown that choosing the right time of night to go to
sleep is partly encoded in our genes. The natural timing of sleep
patterns is called a persons chronotype, and there are a large
range of these chronotypes across populations. This is an area the
study will look to explore deeper across geographical
It will also take into consideration the sunset and sunrise, with
light being a very important consideration in sleep regulation.
Some of the findings that have been revealed by the study so far
Posted by Michael Ewing