4th April 2022 by Charlotte Walker
With new research finding that the average UK adult spends just six hours of the day asleep, experts are warning that millions of Brits are at risk of potentially serious health conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
The research conducted by healthcare provider, Benenden Health, also found that more than two thirds of the nation (68%) are failing to get the recommended amount of at least seven hours with stress, loud noises, uncomfortable temperatures and going to bed too late the most common factors.
Nationwide, those in the North East and Scotland reported having the most sleep per day, whilst individuals in Greater London are failing to get even six hours on average.
North East: 6.39 hours
Scotland: 6.38 hours
East Midlands: 6.35 hours
South East: 6.35 hours
South West: 6.32 hours
North West: 6.3 hours
Yorkshire & The Humber: 6.25 hours
UK average: 6.24 hours
West Midlands: 6.22 hours
East of England: 6.19 hours
Northern Ireland: 6.13 hours
Wales: 6.13 hours
Greater London: 5.89 hours
To help alleviate the danger of developing physical conditions associated with a lack of sleep, Benenden Health is encouraging individuals to consider how they approach their sleeping habits by sharing its own advice on how to get the best night’s sleep.
Matron at Benenden Health, Cheryl Lythgoe, said: “Whilst individuals may feel like they can operate off the bare minimum amount of sleep, our research has highlighted an epidemic of insufficient sleep across the UK.
“Many of us know the positive impact that sleep can have on our mental wellbeing, but it’s incredibly important for our physical wellbeing too, so making small changes to our lifestyle and investing more time in ourselves can be hugely beneficial to our overall health.”
Cheryl’s top tips for a good night’s sleep:
Take some time out to wind down before you go to bed. Activities like reading or taking a warm bath can help you separate your sleep-time from what’s been going on in your everyday life.
With stress and anxiety the leading cause of poor sleep, doing what you can to alleviate excessive stresses can help you relax into a good night’s sleep – for example, it may be worth writing a “to do” list for the following day to clear your mind about any stress or anxiety you may be feeling.
To maximise the quality of your sleep, avoid working in your bedroom if possible as this may stop you from ‘winding down’. Remove digital equipment to avoid checking it if you wake up as this often makes it more difficult to go back to sleep and ensure your room is at optimum temperature – aiming for it to be between 18-21 degrees Celsius.
If you are having trouble sleeping at night, avoid catching up with naps as this can make the body less ‘ready’ for sleep when the time arrives.
If you feel like you are getting tired during the day, stand up and take a walk, get some fresh air or do something that will challenge your brain for a while, such a jigsaw or a puzzle app.
The effects of stimulants can take hours to wear off and can have a big impact on how quickly you fall to sleep and the quality of it when you do.
Nicotine and caffeine cause your heart rate and alertness to increase meaning that you feel more awake before you go to sleep, whilst alcohol can disrupt you later in the night and won’t allow you to fall into the deep sleep that you need.
For more information about Benenden Health and to discover more advice on getting a good night’s sleep, go to https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/body/how-to-get-a-good-nights-sleep/.