The Nation's Sleep Habits | Sleep Hub

Posted by Bensons For Beds on 11th Jun 2020

The Nation's Sleep Habits | Sleep Hub

Here at Benson’s for Beds, we’re passionate about sleep – it’s what we do. Getting the right amount of Zzzs each night is vital for leading a healthy, happy life. Sleep is right up there with food, water and shelter in our basic needs. It helps to keep us alive.

We want to better understand the sleeping habits of the nation and so we frequently conduct new research into how you sleep.

In our most recent study, we’ve discovered that, while the average Brit would like to get seven hours of good quality shuteye per night, most of us are only getting five hours and 48 minutes – and those minutes soon add up!

According to our nationwide Sleep Wellness study, just over a quarter of you regularly survive on just four hours sleep per night which is just over half of what most adults need. [1] A further 24% admit to getting by on as little as three hours sleep a night.

Unsurprisingly, this lack of sleep is having a detrimental effect on the nation. Almost half of all who were surveyed say that their lack of sleep affects their everyday lives and makes them feel moody and distracted on a regular basis.

In this article, we explore more about the nation’s sleep habits and how a lack of good quality sleep can affect your day-to-day life.

Negative effects of a lack of sleep

As we’ve mentioned, a lack of sleep can be very detrimental to your health and overall wellbeing, and it can affect almost every aspect of your life.

Here are just some of the negative effects that not getting enough shuteye can cause:

Poor performance at work

Not getting enough sleep can have consequences at work. Productivity and working relationships can both be affected as you might find you have more difficulty learning, communicating and concentrating when you haven’t slept well. [2]

In our survey, 34% of Brits said that lack of sleep causes them to perform poorly at work.

Difficulty parenting

Research shows that parents or caregivers who get less sleep experience higher levels of stress when dealing with their children This can make it more difficult to be responsive and warm towards your child. [3]

We looked into how being a parent can cause you to lose sleep ( and found that two fifths of people lost three or four-hours sleep, one in six lost five or six hours and over one in 10 lost seven or more hours!

In our most recent sleep habits survey, 21% of Brits said that they lack confidence in their parenting skills when they’re tired and that they have been known to fly off the handle with their children when they’ve had a poor night’s sleep.

Parents and sleep

Skipping exercise

Well, it’s any excuse not to do it really, isn’t it? We know exercise is good for us but dragging ourselves to the gym each day can sometimes feel like a huge hurdle, especially if we’re tired from a poor night’s sleep.

It’s often something we do before we start the rest of our day so if it’s a choice between heading out for a run and having an extra half an hour in bed, we all too often choose the latter.

In our survey, 18% of Brits admit to cancelling plans to exercise when they’re feeling tired. As well as this, 19% of women have admitted to skipping the gym due to lack of sleep the night before.

Weight gain

Closely linked to not taking enough exercise is weight gain. Do you find that you eat more when you’re tired? There’s a reason for that.

Research shows that a lack of sleep can influence some of the hormones in your body which affect hunger and this means that you might find it difficult to stop eating, even when you’re full. [4]

You also may end up making more unhealthy choices when you’re feeling sleep deprived.

When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is cook a healthy meal – and do the washing up afterwards! So, it seems easier and quicker to eat something like a ready meal or a pizza (or even order a takeaway if you’re feeling flush!).

Unfortunately, these foods, when eaten all the time, can cause us to gain weight.

If you’re reading this thinking that this sounds like you, you’re not alone. One in 10 Brits say that they have piled on the pounds due to a lack of sleep.

We chatted with lead psychologist of the Psychological Society, Dr Simon Moore about this.

He says, “Our bodies are not designed to deal with modern day stress. We are in a constant state of psychological fight or flight, leading to our batteries running dangerously low. If you have slept badly, remember that you do have control over the way you feel. We can still get up and move after a bad night, meet a friend and eat well. If you do these positive things you can turn your day back around. Take some control and be kind to yourself.”

Good sleep vs bad sleep: what’s the difference?

Difference between good sleep and bad sleep

We’ve all heard the terms good sleep and bad sleep, and they kind of do what they say on the tin. However, what do good sleep and bad sleep look like in practice?

There’s much more to good sleep than just getting between seven and nine hours sleep each night, it’s quality as well as quantity. Continuity is also important. Sleeping straight through the night, without getting up is much more restorative than having your sleep frequently interrupted. [5]

If you have had a good night’s sleep you should find that you feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning, you have lots of energy throughout the day, and your mood is better. [6]

If you have had a bad night’s sleep where you’ve spent long periods of time awake tossing and turning, then you may find it harder to get up in the morning. You may also struggle to focus on work or tasks that you need to do and you might find yourself feeling irritable. [7]

The difference between sleepiness and fatigue

Being sleepy is actually good for you. No, really. Our resident sleep expert Stephanie Romiskewski ( says, “Being sleepy at the right times is actually good and healthy for you. You would be able to sleep if you weren’t tired, and the cause of poor quality sleep commonly comes down to worrying about the number of hours of sleep you get.”

So when does sleepiness and feeling a bit tired turn to suffering from fatigue? Stephanie says we should ask ourselves if we are able to nod off right now. If the answer is no but you still feel symptoms of tiredness then it could be a sign that you are fatigued.

Here are some common symptoms of fatigue.

Feeling like you have a ‘brain fog’

Getting poor quality sleep night after night can affect the way in which your brain functions. You may find that you struggle to concentrate properly and that your thoughts are unclear. [8]

Feeling like you need to rest all the time

If you are suffering from fatigue then you may struggle with day to life and even the smallest tasks can become unmanageable. You may decide not to do something because you feel like you need to rest instead of going out socialising, doing the housework, or even going to work. [9]

Changing behaviours to compensate for tiredness

You might find yourself cancelling social plans regularly or living off unhealthy but easy-to-cook ready meals because you feel too tired or you can’t be bothered.

Seeking help for fatigue

If feeling tired and not getting enough sleep is impacting your life to this extent, then it might be time to seek help from a medical professional.

It seems that sleep deprivation is on the rise in the UK as 10% of people we spoke to in our survey said that they have survived on just one hour sleep at some point in their lives. However, the nation is not seeking medical help due to the public stigma associated with this issue.

Dr Simon Moore says, “The stigma attached to feeling fatigued, which is a perception that we are not in control and cannot handle our stress, prevents people from seeking help. Whilst participants found that feeling sleepy is a positive and natural order for our body, there is a lack of understanding around what fatigue is which, if left untreated, can stop people from living full lives, as they do not know how to overcome it.”

How to get into a better sleep cycle

If you’re not sleeping well then we’ve got plenty of tips to help improve your sleep cycle.

Avoid going to bed when you’re not tired

If you’re not feeling tired, don’t force yourself to go to bed. Tossing and turning can cause sleep anxiety.

Stephanie Romiskewski says, “It is really easy to blame a poor night’s sleep for our worries and issues but the reality is that a poor night’s sleep can be caused by these worries! Trying to commit to a certain amount of sleep, even when you’re not feeling tired, can cause more harm than good. It could even lead to sleep anxiety which can be a contributing factor to insomnia.”

It’s important to remember that having the occasional bad night’s sleep is perfectly normal and that your body will recover from this over the next few days.

Try going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day

Regulating your sleep pattern in this way can have positive impacts on both your mental and physical health which in turn can help you to sleep more soundly. Preparing your body and mind for sleep will help you to drop off.

Try to have better quality awake time during the day

Quality awake time can look different to different people but make sure you’re getting something you enjoy into your day. It’s the old saying about all work and no play.

Quality awake time could mean going out and spending time with friends or family, getting more exercise or even just getting stuck into a good book.

Try not to change sleeping behaviours for quick results

Our bodies need consistency and so try not to keep continuously changing your sleeping behaviours. Stick to a consistent bedtime and wake up time. If this is disrupted for travelling, or an occasion where you need to stay up late then try to get back into a routine quickly.

You might think lying in on the weekend helps you to catch up on some sleep but think again. This can actually confuse your body clock and make it even more difficult to get up on a Monday morning. [10]

How sleeppro® can help you get a good night’s sleep

Here at Bensons for Beds, we believe that achieving sleep wellness is so much more than just having seven hours sleep per night. It’s about ensuring that this sleep is good quality and comfortable, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead when you wake up.

A huge part of getting a comfortable night’s sleep is having the right support from your bed and mattress.

We’re passionate about helping each and every one of our customers have the best sleep they possibly can which is why we’ve developed our innovative sleeppro® ( technology.

All you need to do is pop into your local Bensons for Beds store and we’ll help to create your personalised sleep profile. This will help us analyse your needs and find the best mattress for you. After all, everyone’s different so it makes sense that we’d each have different needs when it comes to sleep.