The proportion of Japanese working adults who sleep five hours or less a day stands at 11.5%, down by roughly half from 25 years ago, according to a recent survey by Citizen Watch.

The share of such people stood at 22.8% in the 1999 survey.

The health ministry recommends at least six hours of sleep for adults. The company, which released the latest survey results on Thursday, believes that sleep deprivation has been reduced thanks to the correction of long working hours and the spread of flexible work styles.

In the survey conducted via the internet in April on 400 working people in their 20s to 50s across Japan, 36.3%, or the largest group, said that they sleep six hours, followed by 36.0% who said they sleep seven hours.

The combined proportion of respondents who said they sleep seven hours or more reached 52.4%, a significant increase from 27.0% in 1999 but still below 67.6% in 1974.

When the company asked 200 married people about the length of time they spend talking with their partners, 15.5% said they spend at least two hours, more than double the 6.4% in 1999 and 6.9% in 1974. "As remote work became widespread due to the promotion of work style reforms and the COVID-19 pandemic, people may be spending more time at home with their family," the company said in a report of the survey.

On the contrary, the proportion of those with no time to talk with their partners rose to 12.0% from 10.2% in 1999 and 0% in 1974, apparently reflecting an increase in the number of dual income households.