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Young Adults in Asia Get the Least Sleep Due to Cultural Habits – Vulcan Post

For quite a long time, we were led to believe that we’re the ones responsible for our lack of sleep or for its poor quality if that was the case. Students, on the other hand, slept less because they had more things to do and experience – either study or party late in the night.

In short, there are many reasons why we may sleep less. In most cases, especially Asian countries like Singapore, our very society and culture literally force us to sleep less. Some is due to sleeping disorders and related illnesses, or lack of a comfortable bed. But fret not because this can be solved with the purchase of a fantastic mattress in Singapore.

Let’s take a closer look at how many hours people sleep on average throughout the world and, most importantly, at why a significant difference can be seen!

Studying Sleep

The following information is based on a study made by the University of Helsinki and Flinders University in collaboration with Polar, a Finnish company. Overall, they analyzed the 2-week sleep patterns of over 17,000 people.

When we say sleep patterns, we mean – duration, midpoint, as well as weekend catch up. The participants were between 16 and 30 years old so that the results of the study provide us with a clearer picture of sleep.

The Results of the Study

Naturally, the main and most important results of the study stand from the fact that culture and society can affect sleep habits – significantly. But, before we talk about that, let’s take a look at other data as well.

Dramatic Shift of Sleep Duration

Another interesting key point of the study was information/data showing that adolescence and adulthood come with dramatic shifts in sleep duration.

Most would be tempted to think that, as we get close to our 30s, we’d experience a more hectic lifestyle and, as a result, sleep in an irregular manner. Moreover, those who have children would be affected by irregular sleep duration even more.

However, the study showed that our sleep actually stabilizes towards the 30-years-old mark, and its most dramatic shifts are seen in adolescence, after the 16-years-old mark.

Average Sleep Duration

Furthermore, even though teenagers are more energetic and not as busy as adults, the study showed that, on average, they sleep more than adults!

People aged 30 sleep 7 hours and a half on average while teenagers are really close to eight hours per night. This may not seem much, but keep in mind that 30 minutes of good sleep can feel like an entire night!

Longest Sleep Duration

Young adults living in Europe and Oceania apparently sleep the most – roughly seven hours and ten minutes (7h 14 min for Oceania and 7h 7min for Europe). What does this mean?

Well, paired with the information that we’ll soon present, we could say that Oceania and Europe come with more relaxed lifestyles and a social culture that’s not so harsh on its younger population.

One could say that, despite the former grasp of communism over many European countries, people there don’t feel like putting a lot of pressure on their young adults.

Shortest Sleep Duration

On the opposite pole, we have Asia, Middle East, and Central and Southern America. Young Asian adults sleep as little as 6 hours and a half a night, while Central/Southern American and Middle Eastern ones sleep 6h and 40 minutes a night.

This shorter sleep duration is mainly caused by educational and work demands, which are significantly higher in these parts of the world. Moreover, Central America is also facing a depreciation of the infamous American lifestyle, as more and more people struggle with unemployment, and so on.

Why do Young Adults in Asia Get the Least Sleep?

While the Americas and the Middle East face other issues, young adults in Asia have, overall, a good and care-free lifestyle – depending on the country, of course. So, why is it that they sleep the least?

As mentioned above, it’s because their work and educational environments are much more demanding than the European or American ones.


Education is golden for many Asian people, especially if they come from poor areas and have the chance to study at a prestigious university.

On the other hand, higher education is often ignored in Europe/America – usually because it is expensive. As a result, many Asian countries have the lowest unemployment rate in the world.


The workplace and work environment are much more cherished in Asia. The wide availability of jobs – especially in Singapore, for example – gives people there the opportunity to work in the field they want. As such, they do enjoy their job and wouldn’t call in sick just to have a day off.

However, this comes with responsibilities as well, because getting fired or losing your job may influence future interviews. A scientist involved in the study mentioned how, when he visited Hong Kong during the Mangkhut Typhoon, his colleagues were forced to go to work the day right after the typhoon struck.

Their excuse was that their city doesn’t sleep and that, in fact, the region they were in doesn’t sleep that much either.

Overall Cultural Habits

Asian countries are also known to have more demands from their young adults than any other country or continent. In those countries, one cannot find a well-paid job without a degree or experience that easily.

Europe and the Americas, however, come with readily available jobs in any sector, and, most of the time, no paperwork is required.

Given the above, Asian young adults are required to study hard and work even harder in order to ensure themselves and their families with a future.

The Bottom Line

In the end, it all boils down to culture, society, education, and workplace satisfaction (including payment). Asian countries have, on average, a more developed culture, a more demanding society, better available education, as well as more demanding workplaces – justifying the higher pay compared to Europe and the Americas.

What is the result?

The result is that young Asian adults have to struggle to achieve everything and sacrifice precious sleep hours. Moreover, the study also found that, while Europeans tend to take advantage of weekends to catch up on sleep, Asians often don’t do that.

As such, before moving to a foreign country because of better pay, take a look at its society and culture as well. It might affect your sleep schedule in the long run!

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