We all use the internet for many things. Whether it’s stalking that ex-boyfriend from years ago, shopping in your pyjamas or looking up cute cat videos to cheer yourself up – everyone had a use for the internet. And no more so than when it comes to science studies! In 2016 it was calculated that 3.5 billion people had access to the internet, which is nearly half of the world’s population (compared with just 40 million in 1995), which makes it a great platform on which to conduct large scale demographic studies.

Which is exactly what Klaus Ackermann at the University of Chicago though too when he decided to conduct a massive, worldwide study about our sleeping patterns based on our internet use. The study, which was conducted between 2006 and 2013, studied how devices connected to and disconnected to the internet across 122 countries globally. Indeed, with checks every 15 minutes this study ended with an astonishing one trillion observations about our habits. Making a lot of data to sift through!

But what did the study show? Well, in a nutshell, it showed us that we are sleeping less and staying on technology longer. Which is hardly surprising when you consider the average person will own a smartphone, laptop and tablet. These devices can become very addictive. Whether it’s snapping your friends, reading the news or streaming your favourite TV show – at night time it can be hard to put down our technology and get to sleep.

So, from the study, who got the most and least sleep?

Top 5 Least Sleep

Sleeping coupleJapan – 7 hours and 16 minutes

Slovenia – 7 hours and 28 minutes

Suriname – 7 hours and 55 minutes

Poland – 8 hours and 13 minutes

Top 5 Most Sleep

Argentina – 10 hours and 16 minutes

Spain – 9 hours and 58 minutes

Ukraine – 9 hours and 50 minutes

Turkey – 9 hours and 46 minutes

Mexico – 9 hours and 45 minutes

The UK came in with an average of 8 hours and 40 minutes a night, while the USA had a nightly average of 8 hours and 31 minutes. Which makes sense as we are both big nations obsessed with our technology – although not quite as bad as Japan are with their astonishing 7 hours and 16 minutes.

Of course, these figures might not be wholly accurate as the entire data set presumes that the switch between a device being connected to not-connected meant that we were asleep. However, we all know that technology actually hinders our sleep, so if you are scrolling through Facebook at 10.30pm at night, you’re unlikely to put your phone down and instantly fall asleep. Indeed, we are far more likely to sit and ponder over what we’ve seen. This can be much worse if we look at upsetting things before bed. A scary film, the news or, worse, your work email can all stir up negative emotions like stress that will leave you lying awake unable to sleep.

The Trillion Observation study certainly has some interesting observations, but it’s biggest highlight is surely that we are spending too much time on technology at night. For the benefit of your mind and body try to ditch all technology at least 30 minutes before bed. It will definitely get you to sleep quicker and more soundly.

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