31 DAYS OF SNOOZING FOR NATIONAL BED MONTH

With 31 days dedicated to highlighting improved sleep, National Bed Month in March is the ideal time to get it right between the sheets.

And, obvious though it might be, the best place to start when working towards a better night’s sleep is your bed.

Said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council: “It’s about reassessing your sleep quality and comfort levels and our simple bed MOT (Mattress Obsolescence Test) can help to determine if your bed has had its day – and night! It’s a two-minute-test that should be done every year after the first three to five years; and every six months after that.

“If you answer ‘Yes’ to three questions, you’re not getting the best possible night’s sleep. Five or more ‘Yes’ answers and it’s time to buy a new bed.”

  • Is the mattress seven years old or more?
  • Would it be embarrassing if neighbours saw it without its covers?
  • Does it make suspicious noises in the night?
  • Did you have your best recent night’s sleep in a bed other than yours?
  • Are you waking up more frequently unrefreshed and aching?
  • Do you and your partner roll towards each unintentionally in the middle of the night?
  • Do you have enough space to sleep comfortably?
  • Is it sagging?
  • Does it feel lumpy in the night?
  • Is the bed too small to give an undisturbed night’s sleep?
  • Is the divan or base uneven or sagging?
  • Are the legs and castors worn out?

Said Lisa: “Research shows buying a new bed can lead to a real improvement in sleep – up to an hour extra – and if you sleep better you feel much better. Remember to buy as big as you can, spend as much as you can afford and look out for the National Bed Federation’s Approved big tick logo to ensure you’re buying a product that is safe, clean and honest.

“The right bed is extremely important to health and wellbeing because our sleeping environment will affect the quality of our sleep – which in turn has a big effect on how well we feel, both physically and psychologically.  A bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching.”

Ideally try before you buy, as comfort and support are very individual assessments. Take your time, spending at least 10 minutes lying down in your natural sleeping position – together if the bed’s for two – it needs to be right for both of you.

Said Lisa: “Too often, people rush the bed buying experience – some spend less than two minutes trying them out! It’s a huge investment and time needs to be taken to choose the right bed.”

Two free leaflets from The Sleep Council – the Bed Buyer’s Guide and the Good-Night Guide – provide more information on how to improve the quality of your sleep and the different types of beds available. Call freephone 0800 018 7923 or visit the web site at www.sleepcouncil.org.uk.

 

MARCH-ING ORDERS FOR OLD BEDS

Bed Month 2013 low resThe Sleep Council has for many a year designated March to be National Bed Month. As Spring approaches and we get into spring cleaning, ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mode, it’s an appropriate  time also to be thinking about giving grotty old mattresses their marching orders – and invest in a better night’s sleep with a comfortable new bed.

The Sleep Council’s simple bed MOT (Mattress Obsolescence Test) can help to determine if your bed has had its day – and night! It’s a two-minute-test that should be done every year after the first three to five years; and every six months after that.

If you answer ‘Yes’ to three questions, you’re not getting the best possible night’s sleep. Five or more ‘Yes’ answers and it’s time to buy a new bed.

• Is the mattress seven years old or more?
• Would it be embarrassing if neighbours saw it without its covers?
• Does it make suspicious noises in the night?
• Did you have your best recent night’s sleep in a bed other than yours?
• Are you waking up more frequently unrefreshed and aching?
• Do you and your partner roll towards each unintentionally in the middle of the night?
• Do you have enough space to sleep comfortably?
• Is it sagging?
• Does it feel lumpy in the night?
• Is the bed too small to give an undisturbed night’s sleep?
• Is the divan or base uneven or sagging?
• Are the legs and castors worn out?

SLEEP SAFE. SLEEP SOUND. LOOK FOR THE BIG TICK LOGO.

LOW RES NBF APPROVED LOGO - for pressBuying a new bed? Then look for the new National Bed Federation’s (NBF) ‘big tick’ mark of approval to be sure you’re buying a safe, clean and honest product from a reputable manufacturer.

That’s the advice from The Sleep Council as National Bed Month (March) gets underway. It comes in the wake of recent horror stories about fake fire labels being found on non-compliant beds in well-known retail stores; and rip-off traders selling grotty old mattresses in cheap new covers from the back of vans. At worst these so-called ‘bargain beds’ could be potentially lethal fire hazards  – and at best uncomfortable and dirty.

The new NBF Approved ‘big tick’ logo is only awarded to British manufacturers who pass rigorous independent testing to ensure the mattresses they produce meet the UKs stringent flammability regulations, are hygienic – and exactly what they say they are.

“There have been a number of scare stories in the media recently highlighting some dangerous and illegal practices,” says Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council. “Mattresses which don’t meet UK flam regs are highly dangerous and potentially lethal. If ignited they quickly burst into flames and give off a deadly black smoke.

“Add that to the fact that there are now hundreds, possibly thousands of people being conned into buying rip-off mattresses from the back of vans which tour neighbourhoods looking for opportunist sales and it’s no wonder people no longer know who they can trust.

“Some of the more brazen traders are even using the logos of well-known manufacturers and retailers on their vans to further fool consumers into believing they are ‘bagging a bargain’ In fact, these unscrupulous dealers are usually selling discarded old mattresses, intercepted on their way to disposal and then recovered so they can be passed off as new.

“The new NBF mark of approval will only be found on beds being sold by reputable retailers and is one way the public can be sure they are buying a product which is safe, clean and honest.” As well as endorsing the new NBF Approved initiative, The Sleep Council is further helping consumers buy the right bed with the launch, in time for Bed Month, of its brand new Bed Buyers Guide. The indispensable guide includes advice on the latest types of bed available – and the latest ways of buying them.

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.

LACK OF SLEEP DEVASTATES THE SCHOOL DAY

Lack of sleep among primary school children is having a devastating effect in schools with nine out of 10 teachers (92%) complaining that pupils are so tired they are unable to pay attention in class. More than a third (38%) said lack of sleep among youngsters is a daily problem for them.

Nearly nine out of 10 teachers (88%) felt that too many distractions in the bedroom (games machines, TVs etc) were at the root of the sleep related problems along with the fact parents are simply not strict enough about enforcing bedtimes (82%).

And more than half (55%) of those questioned agreed that the brightest children in the classroom are the best slept and most wide awake.

The poll of 250 primary school teachers was conducted for The Sleep Council which is launching its first ever ‘sleep awareness’ project in schools – “Better Brains with More Sleep” – as part of National Bed Month (March). It aims to teach primary school children the importance of a good night’s sleep and the factors – such as regular bedtimes and a good bed – that can affect it.

“As part of our project we wanted to establish just how much of an issue lack of sleep has become among young school children,” said Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council. “Even we have been taken aback by the sheer scale of the problem.”

It would seem lack of sleep has now become so widespread in primary schools that nearly a quarter (24%) of the teachers questioned admitted that they had had to resort to letting children who are very tired sleep in a corner of the classroom.

For two thirds of teachers (65%) the problem is so serious they consider that the long term progress of their pupils can be affected while nearly half (48%) said lack of sleep made children unruly and badly behaved.

Commenting on the survey results, Siôn Humphreys, Policy Advisor for the National Association of Headteachers said: “NAHT is pleased to support this important initiative, drawing attention as it does to an oft-hidden yet significant matter. Schools cannot succeed without effective partnerships with the home. A tired and irritable child will not thrive, particularly in the active and pacey modern classroom. NAHT is particularly concerned about the still small but rising numbers of pupils who stay up late engaged in online gaming.”

And it’s not just academic performance that can be affected by youngsters who stay up too late. More than four in ten (45%) of those polled said lack of sleep made young children more susceptible to colds and other minor ailments.

When asked how they dealt with the problem of tired children in the classroom, more than six in 10 (66%) said they contacted the parents. But rather worryingly a small minority (6%) of teachers said they just ignored the problem as they simply didn’t have time to deal with it.

Proving that a good night’s sleep is key to academic achievement, more than two-thirds (68%) of teachers questioned said up to a quarter of their pupils regularly came in to school looking tired – a further one in five said between a quarter and half the class regularly seemed tired.

Less than four in 10 teachers (38%) felt a poor diet was to blame for sleep-related problems.

Said Jessica Alexander: “Lack of sleep would appear to be an issue across all primary school age groups which is a real concern. Our schools project will be looking to raise awareness among schoolchildren themselves but will also involve them monitoring the sleep habits of their parents.

“Hopefully this will in turn remind parents that they need to ensure their children get a decent night’s sleep if they are to do well at school.”

The Sleep Council’s free ‘Good-Night Guide for Children’ booklet is filled with hints and tips for parents on how to help their children get a good night’s sleep. It can be downloaded from www.sleepcouncil.org.uk or requested by calling the leaflet line on 0800 018 7923.

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Notes to editors
1. The Sleep Council survey – Time To Learn – was carried out between February 8 and February 14 by Opinion Matters via an online survey. A total of 251 UK primary school teachers (teaching pupils aged between 4 and 11-years-old – reception to Year 6 classes) took part.
2. A copy of the full survey results is available on request.

TOXIC SLEEP: THE SILENT EPIDEMIC

Nearly half of us are getting just six hours sleep or less a night. And an alarming four out of five people complain of disturbed or inadequate – or ‘toxic’ – sleep.

The solution could be shockingly simple. According to the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), a bed may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from its ‘as new’ state after 10 years.

Yet, a new Sleep Council survey* for National Bed Month (March) shows people are simply not making the connection between toxic sleep and the state of their bed.

It found four fifths of those questioned regularly experience interrupted sleep or always wake up tired. And a whopping 47% achieve just six hours sleep or less a night.

67% said they wake up with back or neck ache: a classic symptom of a bed that no long offers the right level of support.

Yet incredibly, nearly nine out of 10 people said they were reasonably or very happy with the comfort of their bed.

“People simply do not seem to make the connection between lack of sleep and the state of their bed,” said Professor Chris Idzikowski of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service and Edinburgh Sleep Centre. “It is surprising to find that 67% of the sample were waking up with neck or back pain and not connecting their poor sleep with their, presumably old, bed. The sheer scale of sleep deprivation is worrying.

“The average person needs a good seven to eight hours sleep a night to function properly but what we are seeing here is nearly half the population suffering from quite significant sleep deprivation. An even higher proportion are reporting disturbed, interrupted or ‘toxic sleep’ – that is, sleep that leaves you still feeling tired in the morning.”

Said Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council: “As well as reporting a lack of sleep and waking up with neck or back-ache, our survey also found more than a quarter of us would be embarrassed for other people to see the state of their mattress and one in six couples experience roll-together which is caused by a dip in the bed.

“What they are reporting are the classic symptoms of worn out or unsuitable beds.”

Such symptoms of wear and tear are confirmed in the just-published results of a scientific ‘autopsy’ undertaken by FIRA – the UK’s leading furniture testing and research centre – for The Sleep Council.

Laboratory tests on four different mattresses (one new and three between six-and-a-half and eight years old) found all had lost a degree of ‘height’ due to compression and in one, a spring frame which had penetrated the fabric could potentially have gone on to cause someone an injury.

On another, the outline of the springs was not only visible on the surface but the entire top ring of the springs could easily be felt through the cover.

So despite more than 50% of survey respondents saying they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years, the FIRA autopsy clearly demonstrated that beds as little as six years old could offer significantly less support and comfort than a new one.

Other signs of deterioration shown up by the tests included compressed and rusting springs, compacted fillings, split seams, frayed edging, musty smelling fillings, indentations, severe discolouration, baggy covers and loose or missing tufts.

Said Phil Reynolds, senior manager, technical services at FIRA who conducted the testing: “When we disassembled the used mattresses, all of them showed a loss of height and although it was not possible to see any dust mites or allergen as these are not visible to the naked eye, a covering of dust, skin cells and fibre on the back of one insulator was clearly visible.”

The mattresses were also tested for dust mites and, more importantly, their allergen. Just two micrograms per gram (mcg/g) of dust mite allergen can cause hypersensitivity in asthma sufferers, while ten mcg/g can pose a serious health risk.

According to the Medical Entomology Centre, Cambridge, around one in five aged mattresses can contain between two and 10mcg/g of the dust mite allergen and one in 20 has above 10mcg/g.

Said Jessica Alexander: “The research serves to confirm what we all know but few consumers seem to recognise: beds do deteriorate in time and that is bound to have an effect on the level of support and comfort they offer which will, in turn, affect the quality of sleep.

“Four out of five people in our survey said they were not getting a good night’s sleep and it is our belief that the problem for a large proportion of them is that they are sleeping on unsuitable or worn out beds.”

*Research for the Sleep Council ‘Toxic Sleep’ survey was conducted online by Pollab Ltd between January 26 – 27 2011. A total of 1,030 UK adults (aged 16+) were questioned, the sample being broadly representative of the UK population and demographically broken down by age, gender, region and marital status.

ADDITIONAL SURVEY FINDINGS

• Over three-quarters (75.79%) of women wake up with neck or back ache

• Almost a quarter (23.11%) of people living in the UK are sleeping on mattresses over 8 years old

• Nearly a quarter (23.79%) prefer the beds they sleep in when they go away to the ones they have at home

• The ‘made to last generation’ of people aged 55 – 64 (46.98%) and over 65 (43.24%) are more likely to expect a mattress to last up to 12 years, as opposed to the national average of 35.83% who believe a mattress should last the same amount of time

• The older you are, the more likely you are to be happy with your mattress, in all likelihood because you have spent more money on it. 31.54% of people aged between 55 – 64 and 40.54% of people over 65 said that they found their mattress very comfortable as opposed to the national average (21.94%). A survey conducted last year* showed that 12.1% of people over the age of 55 had spent more than £800 on their mattress, a figure nearly twice as high as the national average (6.3%).

• A hefty 46.88% of people aged 25 -34 would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress without covers or sheets on, compared to the 93.24% of people over 65 who said that they wouldn’t be. A reflection on differing standards of housekeeping, perhaps?

• Co-habiting couples are the least likely to find their mattress very comfortable (12.58% as opposed to the national average of 21.94%).

*The Sleep Council ‘Bed Time’ survey was conducted online by Opinion Matters between September 24 2010 and October 11 2010 among a sample of 1040 working respondents

 

REGIONAL RESULTS

East

50.79% of people living in East Anglia say they their sleep is usually disturbed during the night (national average 47.86%) 43% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 8% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 75% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 48% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 18% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

London

People living in London are the most likely to wake up with back or neck ache – 77.8%, as opposed to the national average of 67.28% 45% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 24% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 43% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 31% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

South East

People living in the South East are among the least likely to say they wake up each morning feeling refreshed (16.67%, as opposed to the national average of 19.51%) and among the most likely to say that they always wake up feeling tired (28.33%, as opposed to the national average of 26.70%) 46% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 62% wake up with neck ache or back ache 35% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 27% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

East Midlands

9.64% of people in the East Midlands get no more than four hours sleep each night – almost twice as many as the national average of 4.85% 45% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 18% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 66% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 47% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 36% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

West Midlands

People in the West Midlands are more likely to wake up tired (28.85%) than the national average (26.7%) 46% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 13% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 62% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 31% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 30% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

North East

Over half of people living in the North East (51.31%) get six hours sleep or less each night (national average 46.98%) 20% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 71% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 32% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 25% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

North West

One in four people (24.99%) of people in the North West get just five hours sleep or less each night (national average one in five – 19.02%) 16% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 77% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 36% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years 24% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

Northern Ireland

Couples sleeping on the same bed in Northern Ireland are the most likely (40%) to unintentionally roll towards one another in the night because of a dip in their mattress – the national average is 15.92% 70% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 40% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years 30% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

Scotland

One in seven (14.47%) of people living in Scotland get just five hours of sleep each night (national average 11.84%) 40% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 16% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 63% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 40% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 25% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

South West

On average, people living in the South West are the nearly twice as likely to be woken by their partner in the night – 10.20% as opposed to the national average of 5.92% 46% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 21% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 61% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 45% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 29% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

Wales

People in Wales are the most likely to have their sleep disturbed during the night – 55%, in comparison with the national average of 47.86% 51% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 11% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 62% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 35% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 15% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

Yorkshire

More people living in Yorkshire wake up feeling refreshed than those living in any other part of the country – one in four of them (25.27%) as opposed to the national average of 19.51% 48% of people are getting just 6 hours sleep or less a night 15% of couples experience roll-together which is cause by dip in the bed 64% of respondents said they wake up with back or neck ache 37% said they thought a bed should last between up to 12 years and over 20 years 27% of people would be embarrassed for people to see the state of their mattress

 

SLEEP COUNCIL UNVEILS WINNERS OF FIRST EVER ZOMBIE AWARDS

A host of top celebs, politicians and media personalities are named in the first ever Sleep Council Zombie Awards.

The ‘Oscars’ of the sleep underworld, the ‘Zombies’ are designed to illustrate the perils of a poor night’s sleep. The inaugural 2010 awards go to a star-studded cast of worn-out well-knowns and are being announced for the start of National Bed Month – March.

An all-in Obama and bushed-out Brown are among the Ten Most Tired qualifying for a Sleep Council Zombie. Judging was based on recent photographs and others ‘caught napping’ include a haggard Prince Harry, knackered Chris Evans and spectacularly fatigued Judy Finnigan.

Alex Reid, the new Mr Katie Price, makes it into the Sleep Council’s Top Ten, as does a shattered Simon Cowell and weary Katie Holmes. A pooped Pammy Anderson and sleepy Fearne Cotton complete the line-up.

Says Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council: “It just goes to show that no matter how rich and famous, everyone needs a good night’s sleep to look and feel at their best. It’s not as if these people can’t afford a decent bed on which to get a good night’s sleep.”

And ‘sleep zombie syndrome’ isn’t confined to the rich and famous. A survey* by The Sleep Council shows the nation is overrun by people struggling to get enough sleep: the average amount is almost 90 minutes short of the recommended eight hours – just 6.6 hours sleep per person. Those working in the legal or transport professions are most at risk of becoming sleep zombies: and nearly three in ten people (29%) say getting a new bed would improve their sleep.

Here then, and in no particular order, are The Sleep Council’s 2010 Zombie Award winners:

PRINCE HARRY (during his January 2010 visit to Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies). Prince Harry is caught, eyes shut and thumb on forehead, at a garden party at the Garrison Museum in Barbados. The third-in-line to the throne was probably feeling the strain of his eventful weekend during which he showed off his dancing talents alongside Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, attended a garden party for Barbados’ orphaned and vulnerable children, played polo and touched the lives of patients at The Queen Elizabeth II hospital. The Prince had earlier challenged fans and TV viewers to donate £1,500 to the Haiti earthquake fund in 25 minutes.

BARACK OBAMA (at a meeting with the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board at the White House, Washington DC, America – November 2009). A man who clearly has a lot on this plate, Obama’s approval rating is dwindling – lower at this stage than for any US president since Eisenhower –  and optimism surrounding his victory has disappeared. He has had to address criticism over national security, climate change, sending more troops to Afghanistan, health care reform and his call for a fee to be levied on major U.S. financial institutions. Latest reports project that unemployment will be 8.2% in 2012, not dropping below 6% until 2015. And new forecasts indicate his $747 billion stimulus package has not fulfilled its promise of restarting the economy and creating or saving 3.5 million jobs.

PAMELA ANDERSON (arriving at the New Wimbledon Theatre, south west London, December 2009). US former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, 42, arrives for her role in panto, (Genie of the lamp in Aladdin) looking tired, dishevelled and without make-up. The mum-of-two has been having a busy time trying to reinvent her career with the recent launch of a perfume called Malibu and an eco-friendly clothing line called A*Muse. According to reports she has also agreed to be a contestant on the hit ABC ‘Dancing with the Stars show’ next season, while to top it all, she’s said to want to purchase two houses: one in London and one by the sea. Clearly this means more flying back and forth for this Malibu beach babe.

GORDON BROWN (waiting to address the United Nations Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York in April 2008). Gordon Brown is often accused of looking tired but was literally ‘caught napping’ during an official visit to New York for talks with senior Wall Street bankers and financiers during the height of the global economic crisis. Ruby Hammer, make-up artist behind brand Ruby and Millie, has said the Prime Minister “could benefit from a bit of make-up’’, while the BBC’s Andrew Marr once asked him whether he took pills to help him “get through” –  something he denied. When asked about his tendency to look tired during a recent TV interview with Piers Morgan, the PM put it down to having two young children – one late to sleep, the other early to rise.

JUDY FINNIGIAN (with husband Richard Maddeley shopping in Hampstead in February 2009). Snatched looking spectacularly tired, Judy Finnigan was once the undisputed queen of daytime TV and graced the small screen for more than 20 years. Along with husband Richard the couple attracted three million viewers a day presenting This Morning on ITV. From there they moved to Channel 4 to present the Richard and Judy show but were dropped in 2008 due to waning figures and phone-in scandals. They were then signed to appear on cable and satellite channel Watch for £1million each – but this was also axed in May 2009. In more recent years Judy has become a regular victim of unfortunate photography, ‘papped’ many times looking tired or less than her best.

KATIE PRICE AND ALEX REID (shopping together in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 2010).  Looking distinctly worn out and weary, could martial arts fighter Alex Reid’s whirlwind romance and quickie marriage with Queen of Spin, Katie Price, be taking its toll? Price, who ended her marriage to hubbie of four years Peter Andre in May 2009, met Reid at a party last June. Earlier this month the couple married in Las Vegas: but there has been no honeymoon for the newly-weds so far. Price is starring in a reality TV show, What Katie Did Next, on ITV2, while Reid is in India filming a new reality show. Being in the limelight can clearly be tiresome.

CHRIS EVANS (picking up some organic prune juice in a health food shop in London, November 2008).   Chris Evans has been having sleepless nights. First, he became a dad last February to Noah Nicholas (wife Natasha Shishmanian is a professional golfer and part-time model).Then, in January, he took over from Sir Terry Wogan as the new host of BBC Radio 2’s flagship breakfast show, between 7.30am and 9.30am. Hanging on to Sir Terry’s fanatically loyal fanbase would be enough to cause anyone a few sleepless nights, though Evans is hoping to regain any lost listeners within a year with his new format show.

SIMON COWELL (at the X Factor Glasgow auditions in the Hotel-Du-Vin, June 2009). Handling his multi-million dollar empire and raft of hit TV shows (American Idol, the X Factor) involves much travelling back and forth between the US and the UK for Simon Cowell. He may be looking tired here, but Cowell doesn’t want his fans to get ‘tired’ of him. That’s why last month his exit from American Idol was made official and the 2010 season will be his last on the show. Instead he has decided to focus on his other popular project, The X Factor, which he is also taking to US TV channel, Fox. The American version is due to begin production in autumn 2011.

KATIE HOLMES (with Suri Cruise outside the American Girl Place boutique in Los Angeles, California in June 2009).For the past two years, US actress and wife of Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes has been pictured looking exhausted as she tries to juggle her career (her 2008 Broadway stint and filming new movies) with motherhood. Perhaps her A-list lifestyle fuelled by a reported ‘obsession’ with dieting could be to blame? Or as another source would have it: “She’s tired and drained much of the day because Tom is so wired, and they stay awake until after midnight. He has boundless energy, and she just can’t compete.”

FEARNE COTTON  (pictured leaving the BBC Radio 1 studios wearing no make-up, London, August 2009). Cotton has a full-on programme. Besides doing her usual stint as a BBC Radio 1 DJ she’s been presenting jobs on TV along with training for Sport Relief next month. For this she has to cycle 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End. No wonder she recently twittered, ‘I’m so hungry but have eaten brekkie. This is what lack of sleep does to you. Elevensies anyone????’

*Details of The Sleep Council survey are provided in point 2 below.

Notes to Editors:

1. Hi res images are available contact Lisa at The Sleep Council 0845 058 4595

PLEASE NOTE: These pictures are supplied for once only use with the accompanying Sleep Council editorial. Please ensure that any images used are credited accordingly.

2. The Sleep Council survey – A Good Night’s Sleep – was carried out between January 29, 2010 and February 8, 2010 by Opinion Matters via an online survey. A total of 2044 UK adults took part.

3. The Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines ‘zombie’ as: 1: a person who acts mechanically or lifelessly; 2: corpse said to have been revived by witchcraft (West African).