How long does it take you to sleep?

Posted by Pam Johnson Head of Buying on 29th Jun 2022

How long does it take you to sleep?

Are you one of the lucky people who drift off to sleep as soon as their head hits the pillow? Or are you still wide awake an hour after turning the lights out?

If you’re one of the latter and often struggle to doze off, you’re not alone.

We were curious to find out how long it takes people on average to fall asleep after going to bed and whether there are any particular factors that might be impacting their ability to sleep at night. So, we decided to conduct a survey of 1000 people of various ages and from a range of locations across the UK to find out more. Here’s what we discovered.

How long does it take you to drop off to sleep?

Our survey results revealed that the amount of time it took people to fall asleep after going to bed varied significantly. Some people said it took them as little as two minutes to drop off, while others reported it could take them as long as two hours, with the average time being just over 34 minutes (a).

The results revealed women tended to fare slightly better at getting to sleep in under 15 minutes, with more than 11% of females reporting they usually nod off within a quarter of an hour of going to bed, compared to just over 6% of males (b).

We also found of all the locations we surveyed across the UK, those living in the East of England had the highest percentage of people falling asleep in less than 15 minutes compared to Northern Ireland, which had had the least (c).

Five hours was the longest amount of time reported by those we surveyed (d). Five hours is a considerable length of time, especially when you consider most people usually sleep for 7-8 hours a night (e).

So, what keeps you awake at night?

Snoring man keeping woman awake

Bad dreams, loud snoring, and getting up to use the loo can all impact our ability to get a good night’s sleep from time to time, but what about the things that keep people awake most nights?

We asked those we surveyed what they felt were the main factors impacting their sleep. Here’s what they said.

Lying awake with worries and anxieties

General worries and anxious thoughts were the most common response when we asked the 1000 people we surveyed what keeps them awake most at night (f).

Lying in bed after turning the lights out may be the first time all day you’ve had time to think about what’s on your mind without any distractions. And once these thoughts begin to flow, it can be difficult to stop.

A never-ending to-do list, stress at work, concern about your finances  (1), and even worrying about your lack of sleep can make it harder to drift off to a peaceful slumber  (2). Some people can find it helpful to write down their main worries or their to-do list for the next day on a piece of paper before going to bed to help clear their minds before lying down to sleep. For others, breathing and meditation techniques may help them relax and feel less anxious at bedtime  (2).

Feeling restless

Woman looking stressed with fingers on temples

More than 22% of the people we surveyed said that restlessness and being unable to get comfy were one of the main factors keeping them awake at night (g).

Certain medical conditions such as restless legs syndrome  (3), or hormonal changes, such as going through menopause  (4), can increase feelings of restlessness at night. However, for others, feeling restless and being unable to get comfortable may indicate a problem with their mattress or pillow.

In a recent article, we discovered that 68% of people didn’t know which type of mattress was best for them (h), which means it’s likely that many individuals may be sleeping on a mattress that isn’t suited to their body type or preferred sleeping position. For example, if you sleep on your side, a medium or softer mattress that moulds to your body contours and helps your spine curve more naturally may make it easier to get comfy in bed than an extra firm mattress  (5). For mattress that mould well, consider a pillowtop mattress, or one with memory foam, natural or latex fillings.

Alternatively, if your neck struggles to get comfy, you may benefit from switching to a different pillow. At Bensons for Beds, we offer a range of pillows to suit all types of sleeping positions, including ones specifically designed for back, side, and front sleepers, to help you drift off to a more restful night’s sleep.

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Can’t sleep because of the temperature

Feeling too hot or cold was a common problem keeping our survey respondents awake at night (i). Getting the temperature just right for falling asleep can be tricky, especially if you sleep next to someone who loves nothing better than getting warm and cosey under a thick duvet while you’re throwing the covers off, trying to stay cool.

If feeling too warm at night affects your ability to nod off, you may find our recent article helpful. We asked hot sleepers tips on how they cool down at night. Amongst the suggestions were using a fan to maintain a gentle breeze, keeping the window slightly open to keep fresh air circulating, and wearing loose-fitting breathable pyjamas to help stay dry and comfy.

Whether you feel too hot or too cold, bedding that helps regulate temperature may be the solution you’re looking for. At Bensons for Beds, we offer a range of options, such as the Premium Climate Control duvet , which has special Dacron® temperature control fibres designed to keep moisture to a minimum. Alternatively, the Clima Control mattress uses SmartTemp technology to help lower your skin temperature when needed and deactivates when not required to help you stay comfortable all night long.

Aches and pains preventing sleep

Our survey results revealed that experiencing aches and pains at night was a common factor impacting people getting to sleep at night. Tight muscles, an injury, or a long-term joint condition such as arthritis can all impact our ability to drop off to a peaceful night’s sleep. In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, up to 80% of those with arthritis have difficulty sleeping  (6).

If you often struggle to sleep because of aches and pains, it could be worth looking into an orthopaedic mattress. These are specifically designed to provide you with the firmer support you need to support your back and joints and can help with your spinal alignment, so you feel as relaxed as possible as you drift off to sleep  (7)

A mattress which helps to regulate your temperature could also make you more comfortable. Take a look at our exclusive iGel range to learn more about how an iGel mattress can be soothing and provide supportive pressure relief.

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Too many distractions

We’ve all done it – staying up too late to binge-watch the latest Netflix drama or spending way too long scrolling on Instagram. But could this be impacting your ability to get to sleep? In our survey results, distractions such as the TV and social media were listed as a hindrance to us dropping off to sleep.

And it’s probably not a surprise to learn that these distractions were more of an issue for the younger adults we surveyed, with almost 13% of those aged 16 to 24 reporting television and social media as the main factor keeping them awake at night, compared to just over 2% of adults aged 55 and over (j).

If scrolling social media, checking emails, or watching television until late into the evening is keeping you up at night, why not try switching off your TV a little earlier than usual, or perhaps keep social media as a daytime activity only to see if it helps improve your sleep.

Consider keeping a sleep diary

Woman writing in a sleep journal

If you’re fed up with tossing and turning at night, then it may be time to take a closer look at what’s going on for you. Our sleep expert, Dr Sophie Bostock, has designed a sleep diary that is entirely free to access and can help you keep track of how well you are sleeping and may help you notice any potential factors that may be negatively impacting your ability to get a good night’s rest.

If you’re looking for advice on what is the best mattress for you, pop into your local Bensons for Beds store and speak to one of our sleep experts about our sleeppro® technology. Together, we can help you find the mattress that’s right for you so you can get a restful sleep every night.


a) Of the 1000 people we surveyed, the mean number of minutes it took for people to fall asleep after going to bed was 34.41 minutes.

b) When we asked, ‘How long does it take you, on average, to drop off to sleep after going to bed?’ 58 of 508 females answered ‘less than 15 minutes’ compared to 32 of 492 males who answered ‘less than 15 minutes.’

c) 13.98% (13 of 93) people surveyed from East of England answered ‘less than 15 minutes’ when asked, ‘How long does it take you, on average, to drop off to sleep after going to bed?’ compared to 0 of 28 people we asked in Northern Ireland to say the same.

d) Of the 1000 people we surveyed, 40 people answered ‘more than one hour’ when we asked, ‘How long does it take you, on average, to drop off to sleep after going to bed?’ 22 people answered ‘2 hours’. 8 people answered ‘3 hours’. 4 people answered ‘4 hours’ and 2 people answered ‘5 hours’.

e) 49.8% (498 of 1000) people surveyed answered ‘7-8’ hours when asked ‘How much sleep do you get, on average, each night?’

f) Of the 1000 people we surveyed, 311 answered ‘general worries/anxious thoughts’ when asked, ‘What, if anything, keeps you awake most at night?’

g) 221 if the 1000 people we surveyed answered ‘feeling restless/not being able to get comfortable’ when asked, ‘What, if anything, keeps you awake most at night?’

h) 680 of 1000 people surveyed answered ‘no’ when asked ‘Do you know which type of mattress is best for you?’

i) 180 of 1000 people we surveyed answered ‘temperature – being too hot or too cold’ when asked, ‘What, if anything, keeps you awake most at night?’

j) 17 of 131 people we surveyed aged 16 to 24 answered ‘distractions, such as the television or social media’ when asked, ‘What, if anything, keeps you awake most at night?’ compared to 9 of 384 adults we surveyed aged 55 and over.


1) The rising cost of living and its impact on individuals in Great Britain - Office for National Statistics (

2) Anxiety at Night: Why It Happens and How to Cope (

3) Restless legs syndrome - NHS (

4) Menopause - Symptoms - NHS (

5) Sleeping Tips for Side Sleepers - Bensons for Beds

6) Sleep Tips for Arthritis

7) Orthopaedic Mattresses | Bensons for Beds

authors profile
Pam Johnson
Head of Buying
Pam has worked within Bensons for Beds for 16 years and has a great deal of experience in both developing and sourcing new product ranges. As Head of Buying specialising in mattresses, divans and headboards, Pam is dedicated to providing solutions that help customers to get a great night’s sleep.
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