Brits get more sleep while Germans faster out of bed

June 13, 2012
Time to get up yet?

(Medical Xpress) -- A survey of the nation's sleeping and waking patterns has revealed that on average, we get over 7 hours sleep a night. But we spend 20 minutes in bed after the alarm has gone off while Germans get up more swiftly.

The found that UK adults sleep on average for 7 hours, 21.5 minutes every night.

On work days, 72.6% of British people use an to wake up, and once awake stay in bed for 20 minutes. Work starts at a mean time of 8.50am (with a peak start at 9am).

At weekends or on free days, only 12.5% of us use an alarm clock to wake up.

The survey was carried out by Professor Russell Foster of the University of Oxford and Professor Dr Till Roenneberg from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Both are experts in chronobiology – the study of the body clock, or the circadian rhythms which govern our waking and sleeping patterns.

In April, they asked the British public to contribute to an international survey looking at the quantity – and quality – of sleep amongst the population. Almost 5,500 Brits completed the survey, which will be discussed today at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival. 

Professor Roenneberg then compared these British results to 5,463 German respondents (matched by age and sex) randomly extracted from a database of the sleeping patterns of 70,000 Germans.

He found that slept 8.5 minutes less each night than the British respondents, and the Brits also stayed in bed five minutes longer once the alarm had gone off.

Russell Foster, head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology at Oxford University and chair of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, said: 'It appears that the UK population and their German counterparts have much the same sleeping and waking patterns.

'On comparing the average British and German "chronotype," there was absolutely no difference. The German and UK graphs describing chronotype could be laid on top of each other. The shows that the mean chronotype (mid-sleep time on free days) differed by half a minute and was 4.25am.'

Professor Dr Till Roenneberg, head of the Munich Centre of Chronobiology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, said: 'When I compared the sleep patterns of the UK respondents with their German counterparts the main difference was in their experience of social jet lag. Social jet lag is the discrepancy between what our body clock wants us to do and what our social wants us to do. It is much smaller for Brits, by more than 30 minutes, which means that the working day starting at 8.50am (compared to the German work day starting at 8.20am on average) better suits the sleep needs of the UK population.'

Professor Foster and Professor Roenneberg will be talking about the regenerative power of tonight at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival.  

Explore further: Smart alarm clock for mobile phones

Related Stories

Smart alarm clock for mobile phones

September 23, 2008

Sleep disorders are very common in modern society. Mild forms are familiar to everyone and up to 10 – 20 per cent of adults suffer from related diseases (organic sleep disorders). Diagnosing sleep disorders often requires ...

Sleep disruption for breastfed babies is temporary

October 17, 2011

While breastfed babies initially awaken more during the night for feedings, their sleep patterns -- falling asleep, staying asleep and total sleep time -- stabilize in later infancy and become comparable to non-breastfed ...

Social jetlag is a real health hazard

May 10, 2012

Social jetlag -- a syndrome related to the mismatch between the body's internal clock and the realities of our daily schedules -- does more than make us sleepy. It is also contributing to the growing tide of obesity, according ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.