Travel is expected to have a deleterious effect on sleep, but an epidemiological-scale understanding of sleep changes associated with travel has been limited by a lack of large-scale data. Our global dataset of ~20,000 individuals and 3.17 million nights (~218,000 travel nights), while focused mainly on short, non-time-zone-crossing trips, reveals that travel has a balancing effect on sleep. Underslept individuals typically sleep more during travel than when at home, while individuals who average more than 7.5 hours of sleep at home typically sleep less when travelling. The difference in travel sleep quantity depends linearly on home sleep quantity and decreases as median sleep duration increases. On average, travel wake time advances to later hours on weekdays but earlier hours on weekends. Our study emphasizes the potential for consumer-grade wearable device data to explore how environment and behaviour affect sleep.
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The code used to generate the results of this paper is available for download on GitHub (https://github.com/siggasvala/Travel-and-sleep).
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S.L. thanks the DISTRACT project (European Research Council) and the Nation-Scale Social Networks Project (Villum Foundation) for support of this work. J.B. acknowledges support from Google Open Source under the Open-Source Complex Ecosystems and Networks (OCEAN) project. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.
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Jonasdottir, S.S., Bagrow, J. & Lehmann, S. Sleep during travel balances individual sleep needs. Nat Hum Behav 6, 691–699 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01291-0