First Ever Great British Bedtime Report Launched

Report front coverThe number of Britons getting just five to six hours sleep a night has risen dramatically in the past three years, with 40% not getting the NHS recommended six to nine hours. According to a major new report being published today (March 1) by The Sleep Council: • A third of the population (33%) now get by on five to six hours sleep a night compared to 27% in 2010. And the majority of people (70%) sleep for seven hours or less. • Almost half of Britons say that stress or worry keeps them awake at night. • As many as 7.9 million have used alcohol to help them get to sleep at night while 6.8 million self-medicate with over-the-counter tonics. • High earners (£65 – £75,000) get the best sleep of all. The findings – being announced at the start of National Bed Month (March) – come from The Sleep Council’s biggest ever research project. Some 5000 people were surveyed in January 2013 to provide an overview of British sleeping habits. The results are published in an in-depth report – The Great British Bedtime Report – which is being sent to leading government health officials. It found the average Briton goes to bed at 11.15pm and gets just six hours and 35 minutes sleep per night. Said Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council: “Sleeping well is as crucial to our health and wellbeing as eating a healthy diet or exercising regularly. But while we’re frequently exposed to government campaigns that encourage us to eat ‘Five a Day’, ‘Live Well’ or ‘Change4Life’, the nation’s sleeping habits are largely ignored. We want to see sleep moved up the political agenda and a public information campaign launched to encourage people to understand the importance of good sleep and how to achieve it.” The Sleep Council’s Great British Bedtime report is intended to provide a full audit into the nation’s sleeping habits and will be repeated on a regular basis in order to monitor any changes. One significant change – benchmarked against a Sleep Council survey in 2010 – shows a worrying increase in the number of people sleeping just five to six hours with 7% more people now getting by on this a night. Although current NHS guidelines indicate that we don’t necessarily need eight hours sleep, experts believe that most adults require somewhere between six and nine hours in order to feel refreshed and to function well both mentally and physically. “The rise in the number of people getting less than six hours sleep is certainly a concern – research would suggest that mental and physical problems become more pronounced in those sleeping for less than six hours,” said Jessica Alexander. “Just one bad night’s sleep affects our mood, concentration and alertness while long-term sleep deprivation has far more serious consequences: it’s been linked to a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.” With Britain in the grip of a serious economic downturn, The Sleep Council’s research found that many of us are too anxious to sleep: almost half of us now say that stress or worry keeps them awake at night (47%) rising to 54% of women (compared to 40% of men) and 57% of singles. The Great British Bedtime Report says 22% of Briton’s sleep poorly most nights and that men appear to enjoy better quality sleep than women (30% sleep very well, compared to 22% of women). High earners get the best sleep of all, while those on low incomes sleep the worst. More than a third (34%) of those earning £65,000 – £75,000 sleep very well, while 10% of those earning less than £15,000 sleep very poorly. 8% of those who don’t work also sleep very poorly most nights. 38% of respondents believe that changing their bed time and wake up time would improve their sleep while 17% have taken medication and 14% have tried over the counter remedies in an attempt to relieve the problem. Drinking alcohol (16%) is another worryingly common method people use to help them drop off. As a percentage of the adult population, that equates to 7.9 million turning to alcohol to help them sleep while 6.8 million self-medicate with over-the-counter tonics. People who exercise five to six times per week are the least likely to take medication (12% compared to a national average of 17%) which suggests this could be the optimal amount of exercise needed to improve sleep. The most popular time to go to bed is between 10pm –11pm. Just over a third (34%) of us go to bed at this time but there are a lot of night owls about as nearly half (48%) go to bed later than this. Women tend to go to bed earlier than men: 11% go to bed at 9pm –10pm (compared to 8% of men) and 37% got to bed at 10pm –11pm (compared to 30% of men). Sleeping together remains a key aspect of British relationships across all age groups: more than three-quarters of Briton’s in a relationship or married (78%) share their bed with just 8% saying they never do and 14% saying that they do sometimes. Older couples are least likely to share: 13% of those aged 55+ sleep alone. The most popular way to wind down at the end of the day is to go to bed with a book: more than four in 10 (41%) of people do this. Watching television is also popular (38%). The tech-savvy generation (16 -24-year-olds) is most likely to use a laptop or tablet (22%) and check social media (17%) before they go to sleep. While the importance of the bedroom environment (heat, light, noise) was underestimated, the value of a good bed is recognised, with more than one in five respondents saying they could improve their sleep simply by buying a new bed. And seven out of 10 (72%) follow Sleep Council advice and have had their bed for less than seven years. The average people spend on a new bed is £583.05 and the divan is the most widely bought type with 63% of us sleeping on one. King size beds are popular with 31% choosing this size. Said Jessica Alexander: “What’s clear is that one of the best ways to improve sleep is simply to take more exercise. For many of us, that plus a sensible, regular bedtime and a comfortable bed, are key to sleeping well. “Improving ‘sleep hygiene’ by keeping electrical devices like TVs and laptops out of the bedroom, giving ourselves time to wind down before bed and keeping our bedroom dark and quiet can also help. “Given that more than four in 10 Britons (41%) feel positive after a good night’s sleep, a third feel happy and almost a quarter (24%) feel productive, it’s well worth making the effort to improve our sleeping habits.” Note to Editors: The research for The Sleep Council was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 02/01/2013 and 23/01/2013 amongst a panel resulting in 5007 respondents (UK adults). All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998). REGIONAL RESULTS National 11:15pm – time average Briton goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 35 minutes of sleep per night 16% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep, whilst 47% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 33% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 7% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. East 11:08pm – time average person in the East of England goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 42 minutes of sleep per night 13% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep, 49% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 31% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 7% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. London 11:25pm – time average person in London goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 46 minutes of sleep per night (HIGHEST) 14% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep, 48% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 34% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 5% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. Midlands 11:07pm – time average person in the Midlands goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 28 minutes of sleep per night 18% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep, 47% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 37% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 7% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. North East 11:10pm – time average person in North East goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 30 minutes of sleep per night 18% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep 50% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. (HIGHEST) 36% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 8% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. North West 11:31pm – time average person in North West goes to bed. (LATEST) Average person gets 6hrs 36 minutes of sleep per night 19% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep 47% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 33% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 7% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. Northern Ireland 11:28pm – time average person in Northern Ireland Briton goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 19 minutes of sleep per night (LOWEST) 26% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep (HIGHEST) 46% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 31% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 14% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. Scotland 11:20pm – time average person in Scotland goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 28 minutes of sleep per night 15% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep 41% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. (LOWEST) 31% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 10% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. South East 11:04pm – time average person in South East goes to bed. (EARLIEST) Average person gets 6hrs 36 minutes of sleep per night 14% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep 50% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 34% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 6% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. South West 11:10pm– time average person in South West goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 39 minutes of sleep per night 13% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep (LOWEST) 45% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 31% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 7% get under 5 hours of sleep per night.  Wales 11:29pm – time average person in Wales goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 29 minutes of sleep per night 17% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep 44% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 32% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 10% get under 5 hours of sleep per night. Yorkshire 11:15pm – time average person in Yorkshire goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 33 minutes of sleep per night 18% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep 47% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night. 30% of people only get between 5-6 hours sleep per night, whilst 9% get under 5 hours of sleep per night.

, , , , ,

5 Responses to First Ever Great British Bedtime Report Launched

  1. Ethan Green March 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    This is a really interesting survey, and it somehow fits that we British like to use alcohol to sleep! I guess people believe it helps because it has been shown to help you fall asleep quicker, even though it disrupts REM sleep. It’s also interesting that Londoners report the most sleep time. Maybe it is somehow related to the high earners concept.

  2. Help My Mobility March 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Very interesting stuff. We wholly agree with Ethan; it’s interesting that people turn to alcohol to aid sleep despite studies showing that this does not work effectively. Certainly not something we would advocate!

  3. In2beds April 28, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    This post is very well put together and should be a wake up call for the government to realise that a huge majority of people rely on alcohol to sleep.

    The survey proves we are living in a world, where the stress and strains of life are having an impact on our nature sleep.

    To maintain a normal sleeping pattern you would have to be in the perfect world of no money or health worries. This is never going to happen and if the same survey was taken 5 years from now we think the alcohol use would rise tremendously.

  4. Richy B March 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    This clearly indicates that I go to bed way too late. The trouble is I think I have done it for so long my body clock is broken!
    I’m also a very light sleeper and tend to focus on the slightest noise which keeps me awake.
    I’m going to have to try and alter my bed time and see if I can start feeling more refreshed.

  5. Mobility Wise July 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    As we all know greeting a good nights sleep is vital for our well being and general health, but this post fills in some important points.

    Getting in to a regular pattern and time can certainly help.

Leave a Reply

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Contact us