Sunday, June 28, 2009

“Bonne Nuit”: Sleep Lessons from France

In May the Sleep Education Blog reported that people in France rank first in the world in getting the most sleep. One reason they get more sleep than Americans may be that they work four fewer hours per week.

Mireille Guiliano recently offered her own perspective on the sleeping prowess of the French. Guiliano grew up in provincial France and was educated in Paris. Currently she resides in Manhattan.

She has observed that Americans “seem to think it’s a badge of honor to sleep five or six hours a night.” As a result, she believes that, “Sleep…is the most neglected state of being in American life.”

How do people in France get more sleep than Americans? One key difference Guiliano noted has to do with TV.

“The French don’t watch much television,” she wrote. So while Americans are up watching late-night TV, the French are likely to be in bed by 11 p.m.

study in the June 1 issue of the journal Sleep examined data from the 2003 to 2006 American Time Use Survey. Results show that watching TV was the primary pre-bedtime activity. People watched an average of 56 minutes of TV in the two hours before going to bed.

Guiliano added that instead of watching TV, the French tend to enjoy a relaxing dinner after work. And in addition to turning off the TV, they shut the computer down too.

What do you think? Do we have some sleep lessons to learn from the French?

sleep tips from the AASM on

Image by Baloulumix

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