In honor of its National Bed Month in March, the Sleep Council in North Yorkshire, England, released the results of its largest poll to date of Brits’ bedtime habits. According to the survey:
- The average Brit goes to bed at 11:15 p.m. and gets just six hours and 35 minutes of sleep per night.
- A third of the population now gets by on five to six hours of sleep a night, compared with 27% in 2010. The majority of people (70%) sleep for seven hours or less.
- Nearly half of Brits say that stress or worry keeps them awake at night.
- As many as 7.9 million Brits have used alcohol to help them go to sleep, while 6.8 million self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs.
- People who exercise five or six times per week are the least likely to take sleep medication, which suggests this could be the optimal amount of exercise needed to improve sleep.
- High earners (£65,000 to £75,000 or $100,000 to $115,000 U.S.) sleep the most soundly, while 10% of those earning less than £15,000 ($23,000 U.S.) sleep very poorly.
- The average a Brit spends on a new bed is £583.05 ($894 U.S.). The divan—a box-spring based bed—is the most widely bought type, with 63% of Brits sleeping on one.
- While survey respondents underestimated the importance of the bedroom environment to a good night’s sleep, they did understand the value of a good mattress, with more than one in five saying they could improve their sleep simply by buying a new bed.
About 5,000 people were surveyed in January to provide an overview of British sleeping habits.
“Sleeping well is as crucial to our health and well-being as eating a healthy diet or exercising regularly,” says Jessica Alexander, Sleep Council spokeswoman. “But while we’re frequently exposed to government campaigns that encourage us to eat ‘Five a Day’, ‘Live Well’ or ‘Change4Life’, the nation’s sleeping habits are largely ignored. We want to see sleep moved up the political agenda and a public information campaign launched to encourage people to understand the importance of good sleep and how to achieve it.”