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The World Sleep Trends Report 2023

PlushCare Content Team

Written by PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

The PlushCare team is composed of medical doctors, registered nurses, and health experts who enjoy writing about health topics. Our content is reviewed by our team of medical professionals to ensure accuracy.

August 15, 2023 / Read Time 7 minutes

It’s been a big year for sleep.

After a tiring decade of crises and meta-crises, getting a solid 40 winks is positively trendy. “Sleep is the new sex,” claims a recent article in Harper’s Bazaar. “Everyone, everywhere, is discussing who’s getting it, who needs more, and whether theirs is better than anyone else’s.”

Case in point: the big travel trend of 2023 is sleep tourism — fully-optimized sleep experiences in dozy, languorous destinations. There must be a sleeplessness pandemic when articles have headlines like ‘How to create a sleep retreat at home’ — remember when we used to call it ‘going to bed’?

Meanwhile, sleep syncing has emerged as a benefit of the work-from-home epoch since employees now have greater control over mealtimes and personal schedules. This allows night birds to maximize their creative time and early birds to match their circadian rhythms to the rise and fall of the sun, and both sets of remote workers to eat their main meal a little earlier so as not to disrupt their natural sleeping pattern.

And you know a topic is serious when it has its own associated ‘dangerous TikTok trend.’ In October 2022, the dangerous sleep trend to emerge was the idea of taping your mouth shut at bedtime to prevent snoring, thirst or bad breath. “There is limited evidence on the benefits of mouth taping, and I would be very careful — and even talk to your health care provider before attempting it,” warns USC sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, who also points out that safer, proven solutions to these issues exist.

But how is this playing out in the bedroom? To paraphrase Harper’s Bazaar, exactly who is getting more sleep in bed? PlushCare analyzed vast reams of data to find which countries are sleeping the most and the least and which are buying the most sleep aids in 2023.

What We Did

PlushCare used data to calculate the percentage of people in each country who are long sleepers (> 10 hours/night), short sleepers (< 5 hours/night) and who get the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours/night). Next, we compared this data to OECD annual working hours data to determine the annual ratio of sleep hours to working hours in each country. We then built a list of popular sleep aids and analyzed search data to find which countries are implicitly those that suffer the most from insomnia. 

Key Findings

  • Australia has the highest percentage of long sleepers (8.60%), and Iran has the lowest (1.32%).

  • Qatar has the highest percentage of short sleepers (36.64%), and the Netherlands has the lowest (6.34%).

  • In the U.S., just 70.14% of the population achieves the recommended level of sleep.

  • Denmark gets the most sleep per hour worked, and Mexico gets the least.

  • Sweden, Norway and Denmark are the countries that search the most for sleep aids — at a rate at least 61% higher than fourth-placed Singapore

The Countries That Sleep for the Longest and Shortest Times

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society suggest that adults over the age of 18 should get seven or more hours of sleep each night. “A healthy adult usually needs around seven to nine hours of sleep,” agrees the UK’s National Health Service. “However, age, health and personal circumstances affect how much sleep we need, plus some people naturally sleep more than others.”

So, who is getting a good night’s sleep?

Citizens in Northern European countries, Australia and New Zealand have the highest proportion of people getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours sleep a night. However, even among these top hitters, around a quarter of people aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep. That fraction rises to half or more for the Middle Eastern and East Asian countries that are home to the world’s worst nights’ sleep.

Some people don’t follow recommendations. For the purposes of our study, we categorized those who sleep ten hours or more as long sleepers and those with five hours or less as short sleepers.

Australia and New Zealand are notable neighbors at the top of the long sleeper chart. According to a 2016 study, along with Belgium, these countries are the earliest to go to bed each night. But unlike the Japanese, who are also early to bed, Australians are in no hurry to jump out of bed in the morning — turning in a little before 11 and rising just before six.

Asian, South American and Middle Eastern countries dominate among those with the fewest long sleepers. Another study found that in “Iran and China, sleep duration was higher in females; however, males slept for longer hours in Hong Kong and South Korea.” Different employment status and social contexts likely explained these differences, according to the study.

The Middle East’s lack of long sleepers is more than matched by its surplus of short sleepers. One issue may be that during Ramadan, people tend to cram their social lives and extend certain working hours into the non-fasting hours after sunset. Across the 29-30 days of the festival, this reduced window of sleep may be enough to bring down the annual average.

Meanwhile, northern Europeans tend not to be short sleepers. Curiously, Sweden and Denmark are among the bottom three countries worldwide for short sleepers — despite, or perhaps because of the fact that they are the countries that search online the most for sleep aids, as we’ll discuss below. 

Danes Sleep Twice as Much as They Work; Mexicans Have the Worst Sleep:Work Ratio

Work and sleep are perversely symbiotic life factors — and their relationship changes all the time, be it with the extension of working hours that came with artificial light or the recent trend of so-called revenge sleep: “the decision to delay sleep in response to stress or a lack of free time earlier in the day.” It is also known that those of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to suffer the negative health effects of a less-than-optimal sleep routine, with long hours and shift work being particularly disruptive. So, we looked at how many hours of sleep each OECD country gets compared to the hours they work.

The Danish sleep more than twice as much as they work. The country enjoys one of the shortest work weeks in the world, averaging around 26 hours per week. Denmark appears in our chart of top countries for recommended sleep time, although not for long sleepers. By contrast, Mexico has the worst work:sleep ratio, with employees putting in around 900 hours extra per year compared to those in Denmark. Just 61.41% of Mexicans get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. 

Scandinavian Searches for Sleep Aids Eclipse Those of Other Countries

Sleep should be the most natural thing in the world. But getting that 40 winks is not always as easy as it sounds. Women, people of color and those with other health conditions struggle more than average to nod off — but sleeplessness can affect anyone, and some 50 to 70 million Americans may have chronic (ongoing) sleep disorders, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

It is understandable that many are looking for artificial solutions, but these can backfire: orthosomnia, for example, is a relatively new condition where a patient’s obsession with sleep tracker data actually makes it harder for them to sleep.

We found that people in Sweden, Norway and Denmark make upwards of 80,000 searches per million people per year for sleep aids such as melatonin, magnesium, lavender and CBD (cannabidiol) — 30,000 more searches per year than any other country. This is despite (or perhaps why) these countries have relatively healthy sleep patterns, according to our other data.

In the summer, parts of these Scandinavian countries get little (if any) full nighttime darkness due to the tilt of the Earth in relation to the sun. But this means that sleep is a very mindful part of Scandinavian life. Locals prepare for the midnight sun by blacking out windows, sleeping on natural fibers and in minimal clothing and preparing “divorce duvets” — two separate blankets — when sleeping with a partner.

Alexa, Please Let Me Sleep

In an age of AI companions and virtual lovers, those who are too tired to talk are turning to a $600 ‘sleep robot’ — essentially, a cuddle pillow that breathes — for relief. But as the examples of sleep revenge and orthosomnia suggest, gadgets are not always the most sensible introduction to the nighttime routine. Instead, consider these evergreen tips: 

  • Get plenty of daytime exercise.

  • Avoiding big meals shortly before bedtime.

  • Cutting down on alcohol and late-day caffeine.

  • Prepare a dark room to sleep and wind down without the use of electronic devices.

  • If you can’t sleep, don’t just lie there: get up for a while to read or meditate elsewhere.

Be disciplined and consistent, and perhaps you’ll be a sleep champion by 2024. In the meantime, you can check through our full international sleep data in this interactive table. 


For each country, we used data to calculate the percentage of people who are long sleepers (people who sleep 10 or more hours), short sleepers (people who sleep for five or fewer hours) and people who get the recommended amount of sleep (people who sleep either seven, eight or nine hours).

For each country, we then determined the ratio of annual sleep hours to annual working hours based on the average hours of sleep in each country (using data from the previous step) and OECD annual working hours data. We multiplied the figure by 365 to get average annual sleeping hours and divided it by working hours by country.

To discover where sleep aids are used the most and least relative to a country’s population, we first built the following list of sleep aids from this list: melatonin, valerian root, magnesium, lavender, passionflower, glycine and CBD (cannabidiol). We then translated these terms into each country’s first language, as listed here.

We could then retrieve the monthly search volume for all sleep aids terms in English AND the primary native language (or just English if the primary language from the source is given as English) for all countries and convert them to annual values by multiplying by 12. Finally, for each country, we calculated the yearly search volume across all sleep aids relative to the population.

This analysis is correct as of July 2023.


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