Adult sleep shortages debunked by study

Technology is not affecting our sleep patterns, find researchers. [Image: Flickr/Kevin O'Mara]

(Medical Xpress) -- University of Sydney researchers have debunked the widespread belief that technological devices such as computers and mobile phones are increasingly eating into our sleep.

In a paper just published in the December issue of the , Nicholas Glozier, Associate Professor of , and co-authors apply some scientific rigour to the common perception that Australians were sleeping an hour less than they did a decade ago.

Using Australian Bureau of Statistics data from 1992, 1997 and 2006, they found the average adult slept 8 hours and 20 minutes in 1992, 8 hours and 33 minutes in 1997 and 8 hours and 30 minutes in 2006.

After adjusting the figures to take into account weekends and different seasons, the authors found there was no significant change in average sleep duration between 1992 and 2006.

The exceptions were people aged 65 and over, who on average slept 12 minutes less than they did in 1992. People with no income slept 17 minutes less and male carers slept 31 minutes less than they did in 1992 - though all still averaged more than 8 hours.

The authors also found that:

-- shorter sleep duration was associated with higher education, higher income, longer work hours and having two or more children in the household;
-- adults average 40 minutes more sleep per night on weekends;
-- adults sleep 12 minutes longer per night in winter than they do in summer.

The overall findings were positive, given that is associated with a number of health problems, including , , obesity, accident and injury, and .

"Public health concerns over declining sleep duration do not appear to be warranted", the authors wrote. "The time allocated to sleep by Australian adults appears to have withstood the challenges of societal and technological change during this period."

More information: www.mja.com.au/

Provided by University of Sydney

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Too much or too little sleep increases risk of diabetes

Apr 21, 2009

Researchers at Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine have found that people who sleep too much or not enough are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. The risk is 2½ times higher ...

Teen sleep deprivation related to weight gain

Oct 24, 2011

Sleeping less than 8 hours a night may be linked to weight gain in teens, shows a new study presented at CHEST 2011, the 77th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). Furthermore, obesity was linked ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
not rated yet Dec 12, 2011
"no significant change in average sleep duration between 1992 and 2006" is meaningless without estimates of power to detect significant differences. Not finding a significant difference is not evidence unless one knows the data could allow one to find a difference if it existed. Also the data for 2006 the most recent date is nearly six years old--technological devices such as computers and mobile phones have become much more invasive in the last six years.