How did you sleep last night?
The ‘Sunday scaries’ might be more serious than we first thought, as a new study has revealed just how many people are struggling to sleep because of work stress.
Two in five UK adults (42%) are only sleeping up to six hours per night – and so aren’t getting the recommended number of hours sleep, which is seven to eight hours per night, according to sleep experts at The Sleep Charity.
In fact, one in six women survive on up to just five hours of sleep a night, increasing to 20% in women over the age of 55.
The YouGov report, commissioned by Danish homeware brand JYSK, also investigated which factors are having the biggest impact on our sleep, and life stress comes out on top as the most common cause of a bad night’s sleep, affecting 54% of those surveyed.
Women are particularly affected with 59% pinning an unsettled night on life stress.
Similarly, half of full-time workers in the UK (52%) are kept up at night with thoughts and worries around work stress.
Also ranking highly among those surveyed as a cause of poor sleep were temperature (48%) and physical discomfort (36%).
In particular, one in five Londoners’ mattresses are giving them a bad night’s sleep, and a quarter (27%) of those aged 18-24 complain of poor mattress quality impacting their sleep, which is significantly higher than any other age group.
It seems the pandemic is also wreaking havoc with our sleep, as three in ten have seen their sleep worsen since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.
Almost a quarter of us are getting more anxiety while sleeping (22%). A total of 34% of people have admitted to their sleep being impacted by increased anxiety (22%) or more intense or unpleasant dreams (18%).
Whilst the uncertainty, loss, change of routine and long period of lockdown restrictions have taken its toll on many of our sleep routines, the data shows that those living in Northern Ireland have been the most affected region, with 40% of people getting less sleep or less restful sleep since the start of the pandemic, with 37% feeling more anxious.
Young people between 18-24 have also been hard hit by the impact of the pandemic on their sleep with just over a third (35%) getting increased anxiety at night-time. In stark contrast, 75% of those aged 55 and over reported having no increased anxiety or unpleasant dreams at all (compared to 66% overall).
The news comes as another recent study found that our unhealthy bedtime habits and poor sleep could cause ‘rise in mental health problems’.
The healthcare professionals cited social media ‘addiction’, excessive use of smartphones and financial concerns, as likely having the most negative impact on sleeping habits during the next five years.
If you’re worried about persistent insomnia, or feel that you’re poor sleep is impacting your physical or mental health, speak to your GP.
You can also read some of these expert tips for improving your sleep routine and feeling more rested.
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