The 2023 Global Sleep Health Report Is Here


Sleep matters. In fact, getting your regular 7-8 hours is one of the critical indicators of your long- and short-term health.

And the importance of sleep inspired this latest piece of research from the health experts at PlushCare. 

They used data from to create The 2023 Global Sleep Health Report, focusing on a comparison between the number of hours people sleep and the number of hours they work.

Why Sleep Is So Important

During sleep, the brain consolidates memories, processes information, and regulates emotions. Sleep supports physical health by aiding tissue repair, immune function, and hormone balance.

Prioritizing sleep enhances cognitive performance, emotional resilience, and physical vitality, promoting a healthier, more productive life.

“Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day,” said neuroscientist and sleep researcher Dr. Matthew Walker.

What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Insufficient sleep impairs cognitive abilities, mood, and immune response, leading to increased risks of accidents, chronic conditions, and mental health issues.

It also significantly increases your chances of developing severe medical issues. Studies have shown that sleeping less than six hours a night damages your immune system, doubling your risk of cancer.

Long-term sleep deprivation is also linked to shorter lifespans. “The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life,” said Dr. Matthew Walker. “The leading causes of disease and death in developed nations all have recognized causal links to a lack of sleep.”

Can You Survive on Four Hours of Sleep a Night?

Long sleepers need at least 9 hours to function the next day. Apart from teenagers, only a tiny percentage of humans fall into this category.

Then we have the short sleepers, also known as the “freaks of nature,” who can survive on just four hours a night.

Psychology Today stated that 1-3% of people are short sleepers. But, according to sleep researchers, the odds of being a genuine short sleeper who doesn’t develop sleep-related health problems are the same as being struck by lightning.

Former US President Ronald Reagan and Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, both claimed to be short sleepers. They reportedly slept no more than 4 hours per night, but both developed Alzheimer’s in their later years.

Sleep-to-Work Ratio

The amount of sleep we get and the time we spend working are closely interconnected. Over time, the relationship between these factors has shifted due to various changes, like the introduction of artificial light that extended working hours or the recent phenomenon known as “revenge sleep,” where people delay sleep due to stress or lack of free time during the day.

People from lower socioeconomic statuses tend to face more negative health effects due to irregular sleep patterns and longer worker hours, especially when they’re on shift work.

The PlushCare study found that people in Denmark, one of the world’s most affluent nations, sleep more than twice as much as they work. Yes, you did read that right. Danes sleep double the hours they work. It’s mainly because these lucky folk have one of the shortest workweeks, about 26 hours. Nice.

On the other hand, Mexico has the worst balance between work and sleep. Mexican employees work around 900 hours more per year than those in Denmark, and only 61.41% of Mexicans get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. 

It’s indicative of a wider trend in developing countries, where people work more, but earn and sleep less.

You can see the rest of the globe’s work/sleep ratio in the table below:

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