People Sleep Least From Early 30s to Early 50s

People in mid-adulthood get less sleep than they do in late adulthood, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. 

In this study, led by UCL, researchers assessed 730,187 participants from over 63 countries. The population of interest were all playing the Sea Hero Quest mobile game, which is designed help enhance Alzheimer’s research by elucidating differences in spatial navigational abilities. In addition to performing tasks that analyzed navigational ability, game participants were asked questions regarding their sleep patterns.

The study found that people sleep on average 7 hours per night, with women sleeping 7.5 minutes longer than men on average. The researchers observed found that the youngest participants in the sample (minimum age 19) slept the most, with sleep duration decreasing throughout people’s 20s and early 30s before plateauing until their early 50s, and increasing again. The pattern was observed to be the same for men and men, independent of geographic location, and education level.

Lead researcher Professor Hugo Spiers (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences) concluded via a press release that: “Previous studies have found associations between age and sleep duration, but ours is the first large study to identify these three distinct phases across the life course. We found that across the globe, people sleep less during mid-adulthood, but average sleep duration varies between regions and between countries.”