11/01/2010 09:34 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Sleep Deprivation: It's Not Just An American Thing

Turns out we're not the only ones saddled with sleeplessness and too much stress. And we're not the only ones living in a perilous job market and economy that takes its toll on our sleep habits.

According to a new study looking at sleep problems in Luxembourg as compared to the rest of the world, insomnia, nightmares and restlessness are a global problem. And though this latest study was aimed at showing how well (or not) the people of Luxembourg sleep, its findings are telling:

  • A whopping 75 percent of Luxembourgers claim to suffer from insomnia due to work anxiety. But the worldwide average? It's 85 percent; that's breathtaking!

  • Monday-morning anxiety prevents 78 percent of workers around the world from getting a decent sleep on a Sunday night. But again, Luxembourgers claim to have it better: only 49 percent of them complained of this problem.
  • The pressure of finding a new job accounted for 34 percent of Luxembourg's restless sleepers.
  • So should we move to Luxembourg? Maybe not. The Luxembourgers lose when compared to their peers around the world on handling day-to-day demands and pressures, which accounted for 32 percent of insomnia cases. On a global scale, the day-to-day job stress leaves, on average, 23 percent of workers struggling to sleep.

    Other findings that the recruitment company Monster found in the past:

    • Finland had the lowest rate of sleeplessness related to workplace stress, with 26 percent of workers saying they experienced no problems.

  • Spanish workers appear to be the most anxious, with 96 percent of workers losing sleep because of work. Don't they at least get permission to take a nap -- siesta -- in the afternoon?
  • For 15 percent of people worldwide, work does not stop them from sleeping.
  • This last statistic is interesting. Does that factor out all the unemployed people? If you're not working, technically "work" cannot affect your sleep, right? Okay, so I'm probably getting a little too nit-picky. Those folks are likely looking for work (and count that as work) instead of tossing and turning in their beds at night thinking about it.

    The point is that our daily stresses have a profound affect on our sleep and whether or not we can achieve restful sleep on a nightly basis. Cultures, traditions, geography, and economic climates aside, we all need sleep. We all feel the pressure of our challenges and struggles in our bedrooms. We all suffer from sleeplessness when things don't go our way.

    And those collective experiences alone create a common denominator. A global village, if you will.

    Sweet dreams,

    Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.
    The Sleep Doctor™