Scientists warn of “global sleep crisis”


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Scientists have said in a new study that social pressure is forcing people to sleep less than needed, and thereby contributing to a “global sleep crisis.

This is contained in a study published on Monday by researchers from the University of Michigan, in the journal Science Advances, in Beijing.

They said they have tracked sleep patterns of some 6,000 people in 100 countries and analyzed connections with age, gender, daily natural light exposure as well as cultural pressures.

“The effects of society on sleep remain largely unquantified,”

“We find that social pressures weaken and, or conceal biological drives in the evening, leading individuals to delay their bedtime and shorten their sleep,’ they said.

The study found that lack of sleep is mostly affected by the time people go to bed.

They said the middle-aged men get the least amount of sleep, less than the recommended seven to eight hours.
Researchers said age is the main factor determining the amount of sleep.

“The research is based on data collected through the free Smartphone app Entrain, launched in 2014 to help users fight jetlag.

“Sleep is driven by an internal “circadian” clock, a cluster of 20,000 nerve cells the size of a grain of rice located behind the eyes, and adjusted according to the amount of light captured, especially natural light,’’ they said.

The study found that people in Singapore and Japan have the least amount of sleep, with an average amount of seven hours 24 minutes, while those in Netherlands have the most with an average of eight hours 12 minutes of sleep.

The researchers, however, said although a difference of 48 minutes may seem inconsequential, while lack of sleep for half an hour can have significant effects on cognitive function and health.

The study said impaired sleep presented an immediate and pressing threat to human health. (Xinhua/NAN)

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