Featured image of the most sleep deprived countries of the world.

What Are The Most Sleep Deprived Countries?

While it may seem strange that your place of residence can affect how you sleep, that is certainly the case. Many factors affect why some countries are sleep deprived, while residents of some other countries are well-rested.

Sleep is one of the things that has the greatest impact on our health, alongside diet and physical activity. While good sleep leads to good health, especially night’s sleep is important, lack of sleep can have very serious consequences for our mental and physical well-being.

When you are sleep deprived you feel very tired and without energy, almost like when you are sick. When that state lasts for a long time, it can cause various diseases. 

Surveys showed that quality and duration of the sleep of the inhabitants of some country is not related to the level of development of that particular country. As you will see in the article, among sleep deprived countries you can find some very developed countries.

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    Top 3 sleep deprived countries of the world

    For many countries, data on how much their residents sleep is not available. The main reason why the data is not available is that very few people in these countries have smart devices used to measure sleep cycles. Therefore, the sample size is too small and it is not possible to reach a valid conclusion. Two Far East countries and one from Western Asia, more precisely located on the Arabian Peninsula, are the top 3 sleep deprived countries of the world. All three countries have large populations and their total GDP is among the top 20 in the world.

    an image of a woman suffering from insomnia problems

    South Korea

    South Korea is located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and has over 50 million inhabitants, although South Korea covers the area of only 100 thousand square kilometers. They are known primarily for their very high level of technological development and world-famous companies such as Samsung and LG. South Korea is at the top of the Human Development Index (HDI) list, and life expectancy is the top 3 in the world.

    Saudi Arabia

    Unlike South Korea, Saudi Arabia covers a huge land area and has only about 35 million inhabitants. The reason is that over 90% of the territory is desert. They have a large economy, Saudi Arabia is member of G20, primarily due to huge oil reserves which has enabled them to develop the country’s infrastructure. Yet many people still live in poverty so they are developing country.

    An image of a man napping on a sofa.

    Japan

    Japan has been on the rise since the mid-1950s, bringing the country to a list of great powers. They are best known for the automotive industry and robotics, but they are also very important in all other fields. By all criteria, they are among the countries with the best quality of life in the world, which is especially interesting considering that they are among the sleep deprived countries.

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    Why do people sleep poorly in these countries?

    Although we can draw a parallel between Japan and South Korea, Saudi Arabia is a completely different country and then the question naturally arises – why these countries are the top 3 sleep deprived countries in the world? To come up with an answer to that question, we need to take a look culture and habits.

    An image of a young and sick asian woman drinking water in bed before sleep.

    If you know that the Japanese government a few years ago had to pass a law requiring employees to take at least a few days off a year, then you are not surprised that Japan is on this list. The vast majority of Japanese are workaholics and never take days off and this is a huge problem for their health as well as for the company’s finances due to overtime, so it is now mandatory not to work at least 5 days a year. Also, many of them sleep at work to waste as little time as possible.

    Such incredible discipline and dedication is imposed in school, so the Japanese sleep the least on average in the world. The term “death by overwork” is recognized in Japan, so it is clear to you that it is an extreme society. The situation is very similar in South Korea. Working week lasts up to 80 hours and nap cafes are becoming very popular. Education is highly valued, so not even children are spared from lack of sleep. Many university students suffer from insomnia.

    Although in Saudi Arabia demands and pressure are not nearly as high as in Japan and South Korea, data show that people only sleep about 15 minutes longer on average. It is certainly less clear why this is the case, but some habits and patterns of life as well as climate can be potential culprits.

    The costs of poor sleep

    There is not a single part of the body which is spared from the ill effects of poor sleep. The first problems noticed by all those who suffer from insomnia or do not get enough sleep are problems with energy, concentration or mood. Over time, other problems occur, such as low libido, high blood pressure, weight gain and a weak immune system.

    These are all very serious health problems and that is why it is believed that countries spend billions every year on treating the consequences of lack of sleep. Therefore, the above-mentioned countries will have to work further to ensure that their inhabitants sleep better and longer, otherwise they will suffer serious economic consequences. And the quality of people’s lives must not be neglected too.

    Who is the sleepiest country?

    Sleep duration is not the only thing that matters. For example, people in the UK sleep on average for a very long time (more than 7 and a half hours), but many complain of poor sleep quality. Low-quality sleep has almost the same effects on our body as sleep deprivation. That is why the UK is not one of the sleepiest countries, but the Netherlands, New Zealand and France are. Among the countries where both the quality and duration of sleep are excellent, we can include Finland and Australia as well.

    Netherlands

    In many European countries, people sleep less than recommended, but the Netherlands is not one of those countries. It is easy to find reasons why the Dutch sleep well. The standard of living is great, the climate is moderate so there are no scorching hot summers that can negatively affect the quality of sleep.

    an image of an image of the Netherlands.

    New Zealand

    Life in New Zealand is simply amazing. Living conditions are good, the country is safe, nature is beautiful because never-ending spring makes everything always green. Also, because they are completely dislocated, not even Australia is close, New Zealand is not in turmoil like the rest of the world. So it’s easy to conclude why they sleep like babies.

    An image of a flag of New Zealand.

    France

    France is amazing. That is why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. But it is not only desirable for a tourist visit, but also to live in. Beautiful cities, the sea, the mountains and food are just some of the reasons why everyone wants to spend at least part of life in France. The French sleep great, and wine and food certainly play a big role.

    An image of a flag of France.

    Who is getting most of the day naps?

    Smart devices are very useful because they not only give us general information such as the duration of sleep during 24 hours, but we can see exactly what time of day we sleep and when we are active. Patterns are noticed in certain countries when we talk about naps. Power naps are recommended for everyone, but the citizens of these three countries sleep longer than that during the day.

    Spain

    You’ve probably heard of “siesta” which means “nap” in Spanish. The Spanish siesta became known all over the world as a break during the day for lunch and rest. The main reason why siesta is important for Spaniards is excessive heat during the day. The climatic conditions are such that it is almost impossible to work in the hottest part of the day. Siesta is popular not only in Spain but also in other Mediterranean countries.

    An image of a flag of Spain.

    Norway

    In Norway, heat is certainly not the reason why napping is popular. It is believed that the reason why most Norwegians sleep during the day is a habit that dates back to childhood. Children in Norway have regular naps and then it becomes a lifelong habit. Whenever possible, Norwegians like to nap in nature.

    An image of a flag of Norway.

    China

    Afternoon nap has a long tradition in China just like in Spain and is called “wu jiao” and not siesta. Regardless of age, the Chinese sleep during the day. Even in most schools, nap is a common part of the routine.

    An image of flag of China.
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