Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people all over the world have been prioritizing their health and wellbeing more than ever. A big part of this involved gaining a greater awareness of the health benefits of sleep.
Sleep is a reset for the mind and body. A good night’s sleep strengthens both physical and cognitive health and helps people better perform tasks that require long periods of concentration. Being well rested can, for example, help people work more productively, drive more safely and think more clearly.
Given the impact that the pandemic had on our daily habits, it is worth exploring how our sleep may have changed as a result.
Let’s take a closer look at how sleep duration and efficiency changed across the globe since the start of the pandemic through the sleep patterns of global Samsung Health users.
Sleep Duration Versus Efficiency: Why It Matters
When it comes to sleep, longer duration does not necessarily mean better quality. For the purpose of this analysis, duration refers to the amount of time in bed trying to sleep, while sleep efficiency measures the percentage of time in bed that we actually spend sleeping.
While changes in lifestyle habits during the pandemic saw individuals globally sleeping longer, there seems to be no correlation between sleep duration and sleep efficiency.
In fact, despite people in all countries enjoying longer sleep times on average than before the pandemic, we actually experienced an overall decrease in sleep efficiency.
What’s more, the results varied by sex. While both males and females are resting more than they were prior to the pandemic, males are not only seeing a longer increase in sleep duration, they are also seeing a larger decrease in sleep efficiency compared to females.
Age is another factor providing interesting insights. While all age groups slept longer, sleep efficiency in fact decreased as age increased. The exception here is people between the ages of 20 and 39, who actually experienced a jump in sleep efficiency. Furthermore, this age group was the only one showing a significant increase in both duration and efficiency.
How the Pandemic Changed Regional Sleep Habits
We also undertook a deep dive into the 16 countries where individuals use Samsung Health the most to see how sleep habit trends varied by region. While all 16 countries saw an increase in sleep duration — with people, on average, waking up later than they used to — the effect on sleep efficiency was mixed.
Region-specific changes in global sleeping habits can be seen as follows:
- While sleep duration remained the longest — both pre- and post-pandemic — in France, the country’s sleep efficiency decreased.
- Users in Korea recorded one of the biggest increases in sleep duration and efficiency during the pandemic but still remained under the global average.
- The U.S. saw the biggest dip in sleep efficiency out of all the regions measured.
- While Germany saw the highest global sleep efficiency scores before the pandemic, it has since witnessed one of the most significant decreases in sleep efficiency.
- Argentina recorded the highest sleep efficiency following the start of the pandemic.
- While Indonesia was the region with the lowest sleep efficiency before the pandemic, this distinction now belongs to Vietnam. Furthermore, out of the 16 countries studied, Indonesia saw the highest increase in sleep efficiency from pre- to post-pandemic levels.
- Indonesia also saw a wake-up time delay of 11 minutes on average following the start of the pandemic. It was and remains the region recording the earliest wake-up times.
- Mexico is the region that has seen the biggest change in wake-up and sleep times. Going-to-bed time changed by 11 minutes on average, and wake-up time was delayed by 17 minutes.
How You Can Improve the Quality of Your Sleep
It is often said that healthy sleep for the average adult is 8 hours a night.1 However, as the results show, sleep quality may also be an important factor to consider. Sleep tracking is one way we can better understand our sleep patterns to ensure that we are getting a better night’s sleep.
Many Galaxy customers take advantage of this, with 50% of Galaxy Watch users keeping track of their sleep at least once a week. Of those, 40% do so more than three times a week.2 In order to manage your sleep better, take a look at these tips for using the Galaxy Watch series3 and consider adopting some to ensure each night of sleep is as restful as possible.
- Keep track of your sleep patterns: Sleep Score provides you with detailed data on when you enter deep sleep, REM sleep, and how your sleep and wake-up times vary.
- Understand your sleep quality better: With Blood Oxygen monitoring and Snore Detection, you can learn more about your sleep patterns as well as your overall health.
- Try a sleep training program: With Sleep Coaching, receive a tailored sleep guide program based on your actual habits, represented by one of eight dedicated sleep symbol animals, in order to help you understand and improve your sleep.
- Set up an ideal sleep environment: Given that where you sleep is just as important as how, consider adding an auto-setting on the temperature and light controls in your home to ensure the environment is ideal for rest.
1 The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for the typical adult.
2 Based on Samsung Health weekly active users with Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch5.
3 Availability may vary depending on market, model and the paired smartphone.