UK 2018 Sleep Survey & Statistics

Find out if you're getting enough sleep

Our lives are getting ever busier, and sometimes taking care of ourselves can fall somewhat by the wayside. Earlier this year, the team at Chemist 4 U decided to act on our strong suspicion that people across the UK are often guilty of neglecting our sleeping patterns - so we surveyed 2,000 UK-based respondents on questions relating to their sleeping habits between 23rd and 25th July 2018 and compiled insightful sleep facts and statistics. 961 of those who engaged identified as male and 1,039 identified as female.

Sleeping Statistics: The Respondents

We surveyed 2,000 British adults on their sleeping habits from 23/7/18 - 25/7/18.

The respondents represent people from across the whole of the UK, and the regional/gender and age breakdown can be seen here:

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Why We Sleep

The exact reason why we and other animals are programmed to enter an unconscious state once a day or so is still something of a scientific mystery. After all, throughout prehistory, doing so would have rendered us vulnerable to predators - so one would expect us to have "evolved away" from this tendency.

However, according to the National Sleep Foundation, we do know that sleep allows our bodies and brains to recover from the effects of the previous day - as well as helping us to form strong, lasting memories, build and repair muscle and tissue and ensure that our hormones are performing correctly.

Side Effects of Poor Sleep

The NHS tells us that it's extremely important for our health that we get the right number of hours of sleep each night. The majority of human beings function best after 8 hours, but this figure can vary from person to person. If we regularly miss out on the correct amount of sleep, the side effects can range from the unpleasant to the potentially life-threatening.

Possible health problems associated with poor sleeping patterns include:

  • Lack of focus and motivation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Low mood
  • Tiredness
  • Stress

...along with a heightened risk of:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Average Sleep Time for UK vs the Rest of the World

As you'll see below, our study tells us that the average person living in the UK sleeps for between 5.78 and 6.83 hours per night (a mean of 379.4 minutes). This means that many of us miss out on the recommended amount of sleep by at least 100.6 minutes.

2018's global sleep survey undertaken by Philips in association with sleepapnea.com indicates that the average amount of sleep achieved worldwide by adults over the age of 25 is 6.9 hours.

This means that the average Brit is getting around 34.5 minutes less sleep a night than those in other countries. This adds up 210.2 hours a year (or an incredible 8.76 days).

The situation in the UK is slightly better for under 25s, with our survey finding that they sleep between 5.96 and 7.1 hours per night (a mean of 392 minutes). Recent research has found that parts of the brain are still developing up to the age of 25 so it is worrying that our younger generations are falling short of medical recommendations by for sleep by 22.29 days per year (32102.2 minutes).

World Sleep Statistics

Japan has consistently ranked as the country that manages the least amount of sleep per night. In April 2018, Japan Today reported that the men of the country got an average of just 6.3 hours of sleep per night, while the women slept for an average of 6.4 hours.

By contrast, the same report stated that the Finnish got the most sleep - with Finnish men sleeping for 7.24 hours per night on average, while a first-place draw took place between the women of Finland and those from Belgium, with both achieving an average of 7.45 hours.

As of the present, no country's sleep average is currently reported to exceed the recommended 8 hours per night.

Average Time to Fall Asleep

Sleep.org informs us that it usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes for the average person to fall asleep. Taking longer is probably the result of getting too much sleep, suffering from stress or drinking too much coffee - while falling asleep very quickly may suggest you don’t get to bed early enough.

Average Wake Up Time

According to Huffington Post, the period of "grogginess" we experience between sleeping and feeling fully awake is known as "sleep inertia", and it means that some parts of your brain - most predominantly the prefrontal cortex - are still affected by sleep. This portion manages our self control and our decision-making abilities, so if you find yourself trying to put your freshly-made coffee in the fridge instead of the milk, this is probably why.

Amazingly, the effect can last up to four hours - though the average person feels fully awake within just a quarter of an hour. You’ll experience sleep inertia to a higher degree if you don’t get enough sleep.

What is the Best Time to go to Bed?

A "sleep cycle" refers to the amount of time it takes for your body to move into REM. We gradually sink into REM - the phase of sleep during which we tend to dream, as our body is not in a conscious state but our brain is "awake" - in stages. We then cycle back to an almost waking state, then descend into REM once more. This process takes 90 minutes on average each time, and it’s a good idea to use this as a basis for when you go to bed.

You should aim to think of your sleeping time in 90 minute increments - so if you go to bed at 10pm (considering it takes around 15 minutes on average for a person to fall asleep) you should set your alarm for about 6.30am.

Average Bedtime in Britain

In July 2018, the Sleep Council reported that bedtime for the average adult based in the UK usually sits between 10 and 11pm. However, almost 20% of us consistently go to bed after midnight.

Ideal Sleep Time for Different Age Groups

From birth up to four years of age, it's recommended that our children have consistent periods of sleep both during the day and at night. From four years onwards, we should be aiming for our little ones to achieve 11 hours and 30 minutes of night time sleep, according to the NHS. At 5, they should be getting 11 hours, then the time should be reduced by 15 minute increments year on year until they reach around 13 years old. From this point, they should sleep for around 9 hours per night until they reach adulthood, at which point the recommended 8 hours should be aimed for.

Between 10 and 11pm is often considered to be the best time for adults to go to bed, as the body begins to produce less cortisol - the hormone commonly linked to stress - at this time. However, every person is different, with many preferring to go to bed earlier in autumn and winter and earlier in spring and summer due to the changing light.

Our Survey

So what does our 2018 tell us about the particular sleeping habits of UK residents? Read on to find out.

We Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

It came as no surprise to us to discover that the average UK resident fails to achieve the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, with only 6% of us managing it. Our survey informed us that the average adult in the UK sleeps for just 6 hours and 32 minutes per night.

Only 16% of respondents believed they got enough sleep every night, while just 1 in 10 of them said they woke up feeling recuperated every morning.

Women Get More Sleep

We found that the average adult woman in the UK gets around 4.8 minutes more sleep per night than men. Our survey found that women in the UK averaged 381.6 minutes (6.36 hours) of sleep per night with men averaging 376.8 minutes (6.28 hours). Across the entire year, this works out at around 29.1 more hours.

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This situation changes for mothers, with mothers aged under 40 averaging 365.9 minutes (15.6 minutes) less a night. Looking at the average man and woman aged 18-40.

Number of children 0 1 2 3+
Men 375.5 mins 368.2 mins 368.1 mins 359.1 mins
Women 405.9 mins 365.2 mins 365 mins 368.9 mins

Which Region Sleeps Better?

It turns out that the East Midlands can boast the greatest amount of sleep, with the average resident getting their head down for 6.45 hours per night. Welsh respondents, however, said they slept for a full 21 minutes less than this on average - only snatching 6.1 hours each night.

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Which Age Group Gets the Most Sleep?

It seems that 1 in every 3 35-44 year olds reckons they don’t get enough sleep - which is an expected sleep deprivation statistic. Our survey revealed that this is the most sleep-deprived age group, achieving an average of 109.5 fewer hours of sleep per year than 18-24s.

How does being a parent affect sleep?

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On average, adults who have children get 34 hours less sleep per year than non-parents. Surprisingly, parents with just one child seem to sleep less than parents with two children, but the figure peaks at parents with four children, who get 104 hours less sleep a year than non-parents.

What are the top factors keeping the nation up at night?

Despite the above sleep facts and statistics, people cited "children" as the lowest ranking factor that kept them awake at night when questioned. Stress came in at number one, with one in four people believing that it affects the quality of their sleep, and one in three people experiencing insomnia at some point in their lives.

Over 1 in 5 people admit to having taken tablets to help them sleep, which was a more common choice than any of the natural methods such as counting sheep, exercise or meditation.

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How much is sleep worth?

We asked respondents how much of their annual salary/income they would be willing to sacrifice for an extra hour of sleep per night.

The results indicated that, on average, 35% of people would be willing to give up a portion of their salary for some extra snooze time.

Of those who would be willing to give up some of their salary, the average Brit would give up between £171.30 and £319.61 (mean £245.45) of their salary per year for an extra hour of sleep a night. This rises to £278.73 for those regularly getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos has challenged the "sleep is for wimps" tycoons by insisting on a good night's rest. Other successful entrepreneurs have boasted that their ability to work long sleepless hours was the key to their wealth. We decided to use the survey data to find out how much sleep people with a variety of salaries get. Is less sleep the key to earning more? We looked at those under 55 to exclude retirees.

Income Minutes slept Hours slept
No income 350.9 5.84
Under £25,000 377.5 6.29
£25,001 - £49,999 378.9 6.31
£50,000+ 383 6.38
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Sleeping preferences

We found that men are 10% more likely than women to prefer sleeping with their other half, rather than sleeping alone. Meanwhile, women are 27% more likely to sleep in pyjamas than men, who have an overall (38%) preference to sleep naked.

16% of pet owners admit to letting their pet sleep in their bed every night, while just 8% of parents let their child sleep in their bed every night, indicating that, as a nation, we might be softer on our pets than our kids.

Heart

1 in 10 couples who live in the same household admit to sleeping in separate beds every night.

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Shocking Sleep Statistics

You might be amazed to discover that, according to our survey, almost 23% of us only get between 5 and 6 hours of sleep per night.

We also discovered that nearly 15% of us spend more than an hour per week watching television in bed, while only 10.65% said they spend the same amount of time talking to their partner and just over 7% told us they get intimate for this length of time per week.

In fact, more than 35% of us would rather sleep alone than with a partner.

For more information please email digital@chemist-4-u.com.