Healthy Sleeping Habits

This Is the Average Sleep Time for the World’s Healthiest Countries

Allie Flinn

Photo: Getty Images/ FG Trade
As anyone who cares about a good night’s zzzs will tell you, it's about quality and quantity when it comes to the elusive chanteuse called sleep. And in terms of the latter, the average sleep time of the healthiest countries clocked in at 413 minutes (6 hours and 53 minutes), according to a recent survey by Zoma Sleep. The study looked at the health grade, based on the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, and average life expectancy of 37 different countries. Then they compared that intel to each nation's average sleep time.

The study found that Spain had the highest health grade, followed by Italy, Iceland, Japan, and Switzerland. Japan also had the highest life expectancy, 84.2 years, followed by Switzerland, 83.5 years. The sleep time of all five of these countries averaged just under seven hours. (More evidence that it's actually not essential to get 8 hours of sleep per night.) Conversely, looking at the data from countries with lower health grades (like, ahem, the United States, which ranks 30th for its health grade and 28th for life expectancy) shows that getting more sleep doesn't necessarily mean better health.

For instance, the US has an average sleep time of 430 minutes (7 hours and 10 minutes). And Mexico, the country with the lowest life expectancy, actually has the highest average sleep time at 540 minutes or 9 hours—that’s over 100 minutes more than the average of the five countries with the highest health grades.

Bottom line: “Sleep is one of many factors that impact society’s health, and this data shows that it’s not always the case that more sleep equals better health," a spokesperson from Zoma Sleep said in an email, adding that the data suggests that it's important to consider that when it comes to quality zzzs, less sometimes really is more.

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