Study: Germans sleep less, get up earlier than Brits
Why Germans get their lounge chairs and beach towels first
Germans sleep less and get up earlier than the British, according to a new study which suggests why holidaymakers from Germany get their beach towels on sunloungers first.
British scientists found that an average Briton slept for 7 hours, 21 minutes a night, before starting work at 8.50am.
In contrast, Germans citizens, famed for getting up early to secure their sunloungers with a towel, had an average eight minutes less sleep every night and started work 30 minutes earlier.
The University of Oxford study also concluded that when Teutonic alarm clock went off it was rarely silenced by a ‘snooze button’, unlike its British counterpart.
It found that Germans got up 15 minutes after their alarm went off compared to those in Britain, who lazed under the duvet for an average 20 minutes.
It could explain the two mysteries of Anglo-German relations: how do Germans get their beach towels on the sunloungers first and how does their country's economy continues to outperform British .
The findings of the study, which reviewed the sleeping habits of 75,000 Germans and Britons, were due to be presented on the opening day at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival on Tuesday.
Prof Russell Foster, a neuroscientist who led the study, said it was not all bad news for the British.
He said British respondents had less "social jet lag" – the time difference between when a person gets up with and without an alarm – meaning they were more likely to understand their bodies better.
"This may be something to do with more flexible start times," he said ahead of his presentation.
"Many more people have to start work at 8am in Germany.
"The fact Britons are sleeping more and have less social jet lag would promote more creativity. In terms of quality wake time at work, this is good news.”
Prof Till Roenneberg, from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, who also took part in the research, added: ''When I compared the sleep patterns of the UK respondents with their German counterparts the main difference was in their experience of social jet lag.
''Social jet lag is the discrepancy between what our body clock wants us to do and what our social clock wants us to do.
"It is much smaller for Brits, by more than 30 minutes, which means that the working day starting at 8.50am (compared to the German work day starting at 8.20am on average) better suits the sleep need of the UK population.''
The survey also considered factors known to affect sleep including obesity and alcohol consumption. The study found that Germans were less overweight than Britons and drank less wine and spirits.
At present, 6,000 British people have responded to the survey compared with more than 70,000 Germans.
Researchers hope to extend their work to other countries.