Global Sleep Patterns

Sleep is one of the most interesting aspects of life: during sleep we don’t act consciously (apart from a few natural processes inside our body) and therefore some people try to minimize sleep to get most out of their lives. Others maximize their sleep: for them sleep simply is the greatest activity they could think of. The Quantified Self folks try to optimize their sleep; i.e. to maximize their sound sleep phases and minimize light sleep and times of being awake.

The guys from Jawbone looked at their UP band user’s sleep data and could provide us with this interesting global sleep pattern. Since Jawbone’s data are more detailed and accurate than the American Time Use Survey, this view on the different sleep patterns provides great insights in how inhabitants of cities behave, or how active a city is, seen as a whole. The average hours of sleep shown in the feature visual above do not include time awake in bed.

Science tells us that we should sleep between 7 to 8 hours per night and we should sleep during the same cycles in order to maximize recovery and relaxation from our daily routines. Now look at people living in Tokyo: with 5h 44min they sleep least, whereas Melburnians (yes, without the “o”) sleep most with 6h 58min – which is just the bottom end of the recommended length. Again Australians, this time the folks in Brisbane, go to bead earliest, at 10.57pm. The night-owls in Moscow hit the pillow almost 2 hours later, at 12:46am. But Muscovites (rise latest at 8:08am) sleep only 29 min less than the Brisbanian who raise at 6:29am.

sleep cycle

Image: The author’s sleep pattern on August, 19 – provided by the Jawbone UP app

How about you? Do you know how long you sleep? Do you know about the quality of your sleep?

Above, you see a snapshot of my own sleep: On August, 19, I had 5h 22min of sound sleep and 1h 52min of light sleep – which is a pretty good ratio. I reached my goal of 7 hours of sleep as well, which is partially due to the fact that we are in the middle of school vacation and there is no need to mange kids in the mornings. So, don’t worry if your sleep looks less sound – I wake 1 time every 3-4 nights.

The most relevant criteria defining my personal sleep are
– duration
– cycle; i.e do I go to bed and rise at roughly the same times?
– alcohol input
– time without staring at a display before going to bed
– general family mood during the evening

I’d love to know about your experiences with your sleep. Do you track? What makes you sleep sound or light, short or long?

3 Replies to “Global Sleep Patterns”

  1. Although I was owning a Fitbit One I never really tracked my sleep with this device. Now I am more active with my measurements, using a Pebble Smartwatch and Android App called “Sleep” in combination with “SleepStats”

    I was very suprised about my snore frequency (around 12% in a night). This was recorded and tracked. Obviously it is interesting to hear my own snore sounds.

    I enjoy modifying my behaviour (far more than 7 hrs of sleep, sleep less, work until sleeping, do sports before sleep, drink/prevent alcohol) and see how the measurements looks like. But I am far away from delivering new theories.

    Nevertheless my main lessons learned were:
    1) go to bed early and make sure to have 7 hrs of deep sleep (approx. 8 hrs in bed).
    2) dont work until you go to bed, stop reading business emails in the nights. Too much stuff is going to keep you awake in the middle of the night and make you nervous. Or you know how to filter out these kind of mails… !
    3) use the time before diving into sleep to meditate and thank God for a few things which happened or did not happen today

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