If you get less than seven hours' of sleep a night, you're among the one in three Americans who aren't getting enough zzz's. A team of researchers from the University of Michigan used the data they gathered from an anti-jetlag app they released a few years ago to study the roles society and biology play in our sleep schedules. They got some pretty interesting information out of the app: for instance, people in the Netherlands seem to get the highest average sleep (8 hours and 12 minutes), while folks in Japan and Singapore get the lowest (7 hours, 24 minutes).
The researchers found that those who get more sunlight each day typically go to bed early and get more sleep every night, which is something to keep in mind if you usually have a hard time getting a shut-eye. Women aged 30 to 60 tend to turn in earlier and wake up a bit later, ultimately getting 30 minutes more sleep. Middle-aged men, on the other hand, get the least amount of sleep.
There are many factors why so many people are sleep deprived, including work and kids. Whatever the reason is, the study shows that a lot of adults are building up a sleep debt, affecting not just their performance at work, but also their health.
As Olivia Walch, one of the paper's authors, explains:
It doesn't take that many days of not getting enough sleep before you're functionally drunk. Researchers have figured out that being overly tired can have that effect. And what's terrifying at the same time is that people think they're performing tasks way better than they are. Your performance drops off but your perception of your performance doesn't.