SleepCloud study

How do we sleep post-brexit?

Do politics get on your nerves? Or are you the type who cannot be bothered by just another corruption affair or election campaign?

Turns out that a lot of people are so concerned with political events that it affects the way they sleep. Scientists from National Institute of Mental Health turned their attention to United Kingdom leaving the European Union, or the Brexit.

The Brexit research was done thanks to users of Sleep as Android – a sleep monitoring Android app – and scientists from National Institute of Mental Health. Users of the app can choose to provide their anonymized sleep records to aid global sleep research. More about the sleep research.

The Brexit referendum took place on 23 June, 2016, results were announced the morning after. Comparing the sleep duration of British citizens with other European citizens, Britons slept distinctly less. Along with British people, also people in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands have a similar drop in sleep duration on the Brexit night.

On the chart below, you can observe a classical pattern, where people sleep less on workdays than on weekends, and you can also see a drop in sleep length on the marked Brexit night.


Britons have slept on average 6.65 hours on the Brexit night, which is about 15 minutes less than their average Thursday sleep. (Geeky statistician note: The result is statistically significant for p=0.05)

On the other side of the spectrum are people from Portugal, Norway, Sweden, also Romania, Finland and Russia. They slept significantly more on that night than on their average Thursday night. Seems that they were comforted by the thought of a hard decision being made somewhere else!

aa-use-port-nor-swe aa-use-rom-fin-rus

The question of course remains – what is the reason? With citizens of the United Kingdom, it is pretty understandable that they are concerned with the fate of their country. But in case of other countries – and some distant ones, such as the Czech Republic – the consequences of foreign political events might be negligible. Yet still, people sleep as if something very bad was going to happen.

It seems that technology really makes the world smaller, in its own ironic way.

This article is one of the outcomes of our SleepCloud study. Want to know more? Check it now!


Other articles in SleepCloud study series<< A case for the smart alarmWant to stop snoring? Have a beer! >>

One thought on “How do we sleep post-brexit?

  1. Well, since June 24 2016 was midsummer’s eve, did you also compare the sleep durations to previous midsummers? For countries where this is an important holiday (e.g. Sweden, Finland and Norway) and many have the day off from work that may give other insights than simply comparing it to normal Fridays.

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