One in four UK adults want a better night’s sleep


The international research compares whether people get enough sleep in 13 countries across Europe, North America and Asia and indicates that UK adults rank among the worst sleepers. Over a third of adults in the UK say they do not get the right amount of sleep, the highest proportion of any of the countries surveyed.

Separately, the research finds that a quarter of UK adults list getting a better night’s sleep as a health ambition. This is now the second most common health ambition, beaten only by the desire to lose weight or improve BMI score.

As the hundredth anniversary of turning the clocks back this weekend gives the UK an extra hour in bed, the research suggests that getting more sleep may just be what the nation needs.

The research finds that three in ten families plan to take action to improve their sleep over the next 12 months, compared to just 20 per cent who did this in the past year. Getting better sleep has seen the biggest shift in family health priorities across any of the actions suggested by the research, including doing more exercise and losing weight.

In fact, more families plan to take action to sleep better in the year ahead than plan to reduce sugar intake or eat more healthily. Only half of parents say they ensure their children get the right amount of sleep.

While still relatively low, the overall proportion of UK adults using sleep monitors has nearly doubled in past year – from 4 per cent to 7 per cent. Younger age groups are far more likely to already be tracking their sleep, with 16 per cent of 25-34 year olds using a sleep monitor. And overall, 49 per cent of UK adults would consider using a sleep monitor in the future.

Dr Doug Wright, Medical Director for Aviva UK Health comments: “If it feels like you’re always running on empty, you’re not alone: our research shows that as a nation we’re some of the worst sleepers in the world, with two in five of us feeling we are not getting the right amount of sleep. It’s therefore no surprise that so many aspire to getting their full forty winks.

“The importance of getting a decent night’s sleep should never be underestimated. Sleep plays an important role in mental and physical health, with your body using this time to renew and repair. However, it’s very easy to make a habit of going to bed too late, or not being able to switch off when you do eventually turn in for the night.

“Sometimes a few lifestyle changes are all that’s needed to boost your sleep levels, such as establishing a routine, eating dinner earlier in the night or avoiding TV and mobile phone screens before bed. Sleep trackers are also a great way of monitoring your rest patterns. However, if stress, anxiety or other mental health issues are what’s keeping you awake, getting help and support – including seeking advice from your GP – is recommended. Tackling sleepless nights is a crucial step to improving overall health and wellbeing.”