A recent survey revealed that over 4 in 10 Brits don’t sleep well on an average night, but why?
The study, by And So To Bed, asked 1000 Brits about their sleeping habits to reveal what is most likely to keep them awake at night, the study revealed that over half of the UK (55%) can’t hack the heat when attempting to sleep. This was followed by a third being kept awake by anxiety (36%). 1 in 10 admitted that their job and the dread of going to work kept them awake at night.
These are the 10 things keeping the UK up at night:
- Being too hot 55%
- Anxiety 36%
- Needing the toilet 30%
- Partner snoring 23%
- Your phone 20%
- Depression 17%
- The light (street lights or brighter mornings) 16%
- Being too cold 16%
- A headache 15%
- Pain 14%
A third of the UK rely on sleeping aids for a restful night- and some are eating kiwis…
So, how are Brits managing to get some shut-eye? A third turn to sleep aids, with two in 10 opting for a herbal remedy and over one in 10 relying on prescribed medication to get some kip.
The study also revealed that nearly a third of Brits are taking naps during the day while working from home in order to catch up after a night of poor sleep.
The things Brits have admitted to doing as a result of poor sleep
- Slept elsewhere, such as the sofa, to sleep better 54%
- Had a nap while working from home 29%
- Fallen asleep on public transport 28%
- Recorded your partner snoring as evidence 23%
- Hit your partner to stop them snoring 22%
- Kicked a partner out of bed to get a better night’s sleep 15%
- Tried a ‘hack’ to sleep better 11%
- Nodded off behind the wheel when driving 7%
- Broken up with or considered breaking up with a partner because of their snoring 6%
Six expert tips for better sleep
Dr Lindsay Browning, psychologist and sleep expert at And So To Bed, shares these six tips for better sleep:
1. Have a regular bedtime and wake time
Keeping a regular wake and bedtime seven days per week will help you sleep better. When you keep a regular sleep schedule your body develops a robust circadian rhythm which helps you to sleep at the right time at night. If you go to bed early and wake up early on weekdays, but stay up late and have a lie-in on the weekend, you are giving yourself weekend “jet-lag” – making it much harder to go to sleep early on a Sunday night ready for another early start on Monday morning!
2. Increase your exercise levels
As well as being essential for overall health, exercise directly impacts your need for “deep sleep” at night. The more you exercise, the more deep sleep you will have. Deep sleep helps you to feel refreshed when you wake up, and helps with sleep continuity.
Make sure that you exercise during the daytime and not too close to bedtime, as exercise in the evening can sometimes be disruptive to sleep, due to the release of endorphins and adrenaline.
3. Stop your caffeine intake at 11 am
Caffeine has an average half-life of 5-7 hours. That means that 5-7 hours after your cup of coffee, half of the caffeine is still in your system! Caffeine is not only found in tea and coffee, but also in chocolate and in soft drinks such as cola and energy drinks, including the sugar-free variety. If you have trouble sleeping then it is recommended for you to have your last cup of caffeine of the day at around 11am.
4. Night time digital detox
Make sure that you switch off your electronic devices an hour before bed, in particular, your phone. Smartphones emit blue light which is the same as daylight. This tricks the brain into thinking it is day time which can make it difficult to transition into sleep mode when bedtime rolls around. Try reading a book or meditating before you sleep instead.
5. Have a warm bath before bed
Having a relaxing warm bath before bed, will not only help you to wind down after a busy day but also the temperature of the bath will help you sleep. When you go to sleep, your body temperature naturally decreases, which is why 55% of the UK find it so difficult to sleep in the heat.
If you have a warm bath, then you artificially raise your body temperature and when you come out of the warm bath, your body temperature will naturally start to drop, mimicking the drop in temperature that happens as you fall asleep, making you feel sleepier.
6. Don’t lie in bed for long periods if you can’t sleep
If you can’t sleep, then lying still in bed trying to sleep is one of the worst things you can do. The longer you lie in bed trying to sleep and clock watching, paradoxically the more anxious you are likely to get about not sleeping.
It is much better to get out of bed and do something else for a while instead of lying in bed not sleeping for hours, grab some warm milk or read another chapter of a book- just resist reaching for your phone!”
Amy Downes, freelance social media coach at The Content Planning Wizard, speaks about her time as a marketing coordinator for a major retailer and how it affected her sleep.
“I got promoted to a job I really loved, but I was overwhelmed with the amount of work and kept making little mistakes. It dented my confidence massively and I think that became a vicious circle. I remember my manager having a chat with me and asking if anything was wrong, she kindly said she had trust that I could do this and that I just needed to be more consistent. The cycle continued.
“I’d work late and worry so much that I started to struggle to sleep. I would struggle to get to sleep because I’d be thinking of all that needed to be done and kept questioning everything I was doing. I was consistently late because I’d be so tired I’d leave it as late as possible to get up in the morning. Eventually, I was put on review, leading to me missing out on a much needed yearly bonus, and piling on more pressure.
“As part of the process, I was referred to occupational health and it was them that mentioned that they thought I was struggling with anxiety. It was too late by then, I’d managed to help myself through it, I still wish they’d helped me earlier instead of punishing me for struggling.
“Since then, I have gone on to become a freelancer, I love being able to focus on work that I know I am good at doing and having the flexibility to work in a way that supports my mental health, rather than putting it under pressure.”