Sleep deprivation a particularly Japanese problem

A survey conducted this year using fitness trackers in 28 countries found that Japanese men and women sleep, on average, only six hours and 35 minutes a night, 45 minutes less than the international average, making them the most deprived sleepers in the world.   92.6% of Japanese over 20 said they were not getting enough sleep. In contrast, Finnish women sleep 7.45 hours, and Estonians, Canadians, Belgians and Austrians average a good deal more.

The cost of the sleeplessness is estimated at $138 billion a year. Napping seems to be the answer in Japan, where the health ministry recommends working-age people take 30 minute naps in the early afternoon

My nephew recently returned from Japan, where he installed a state-of- the- art TV studio.  I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to him face-to-face yet, but I gather working in Tokyo with a bunch of people who are all workaholics has been totally exhausting.  The hours are long, very long, and the time for relaxing correspondingly short.  My nephew contrasts the Japanese ( very professional, if sleepless, approach) with his French experience.  There time-keeping is casual until it is time to go home.  Then everyone down- tools and walks out,  regardless of deadlines or commercial  needs.  His (British) team frequently had to work into the night to keep the project on an even keel, abandoned by the clock-watching French techies.

But regardless of cultural gulfs, it is really bad news to expect your workers to cut into their downtime and get so exhausted that thay cannot sleep anyway.  The writer has an inherited difficulty with sleep, so he knows whereof he speaks.   What is needed is moderation, that great contribution to civilisation expounded by Epicurus.  Work hard, play hard, but get at least 7 hours – if you can.


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