A new study has revealed that social pressure is forcing people to sleep less than required.

This is contained in a study published in the journal Science Advances, in Beijing. The research was conducted by a team from the University of Michigan.

The researchers, who warned that the development could lead to global sleep crisis, have tracked sleep patterns of some 6,000 people in 100 countries and analysed connections with “age, gender, daily natural light exposure as well as cultural pressures”.

“The effects of society on sleep remain largely unquantified,” they said.

“We find that social pressures weaken and, or conceal biological drives in the evening, leading individuals to delay their bedtime and shorten their sleep.”

The study found that lack of sleep is mostly affected by the time people go to bed.

They said the middle-aged men get the least amount of sleep, less than the recommended seven to eight hours.

The researchers added that age is the main factor determining the amount of sleep.

“The research is based on data collected through the free Smartphone app Entrain, launched in 2014 to help users fight jetlag,” they said.

“Sleep is driven by an internal ‘circadian’ clock, a cluster of 20,000 nerve cells the size of a grain of rice located behind the eyes, and adjusted according to the amount of light captured, especially natural light.”

The study said people in Singapore and Japan spend an average amount of seven hours 24 minutes sleeping – the least amount – while those in Netherlands have the most with an average of eight hours 12 minutes.

The researchers, however, said a difference of 48 minutes may seem inconsequential, while lack of sleep for half an hour can have significant effects on cognitive function and health.

The study said impaired sleep present an immediate and pressing threat to human health.



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