I’m used to the Beeb telling me inanities about sleep and lifestyle in general. And I have for a long time suspected that a lot of modern ‘research’ consists in statistics done by people who don’t fully comprehend the importance of apropriate sampling. The other day I’ve come across something which possibly takes the biscuit: a study which allegedly revealed the world’s sleeping patterns by analysing data collected from an app.
The important thing to notice is, of course, that the app was released “to help people overcome jetlag [but users could share data on their sleeping habits with the research]”. In other words, the ‘scientists’ believe that if a Dutch businessman sleeps on average more than eight hours a day and a Japanese businessman less than seven and a half, a Dutch farmhand likewise sleeps more than eight hours a day and a Japanese farmhand less than seven and a half.
If those studies telling us how Britons are the fattest nation in Europe are done as scientifically as this, perhaps we have no reason to be all that worried.