More and more of us Britons are getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night and experts believe that most adults require between six and nine hours of sleep per night to feel refreshed and to function better both mentally and physically.
March is National Bed Month and with it comes ‘The Great British Bedtime Report’ by the Sleep Council – a survey which has uncovered some interesting facts about the sleeping habits of some 5000 Britons:
- A third of the population (33%) get by on just five to six hours of sleep per night. 70% of Britons sleep for seven hours or less.
- Almost half of us feel we are kept awake at night by stress or worry, as the economic downturn takes its grip.
- Alcohol is increasingly used to help people drift off to sleep. As many as 7.9 million Britons have consumed alcohol before bed in an attempt to fall asleep, while 6.8 million of us self-medicate with over the counter remedies.
- High earners (£65,000 – £75,000) get the best sleep of all, while low income earners sleep the worst.
“Research suggests that mental and physical problems become more pronounced in those sleeping for less than six hours” says Jessica Alexander – a spokesperson for the Sleep Council.
“Just one bad night’s sleep affects our mood, concentration and alertness while long term sleep deprivation has far more serious consequences: it’s been linked to a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.”
The Sleep Council would like to see a public information campaign to encourage Britons to understand how crucial sleeping well is for our health and wellbeing just as existing government campaigns highlight and encourage us to eat ‘Five a Day’, ‘Live Well’ or ‘Change4Life’.
National Bed Month offers a great opportunity to purchase the right bed for you with the following questions you should ask yourself before you purchase. The right bed is essential towards achieving quality sleep night after night:
- What size of bed do you need? Is the bed for one or two people?
It is recommended that you should be able to lie side by side with your arms behind your head and elbows out, without touching. If your bedroom allows it, it is recommended you buy as big a bed as possible.
- Are you looking for a divan set, bedstead or mattress? And do you need storage?
- What’s your budget?
- What comfort/feel do you like?
- Do you have a tendency to get too hot in bed?
- Do you have health problems – do you suffer from back or shoulder pain or do you find it difficult to get out of bed?
- Do you have allergies that affect your sleep? (E.g. dust mite allergies) or do you suffer from allergic conditions such as asthma, rhinitis or eczema?
- Could it be difficult to get your new bed into the intended room – does it have to travel up small or tight stairways or into tight loft conversion spaces?
The Sleep Council highlights that we spend over 20,000 hours on our beds over a seven year time span and so it is essential to make the right choice at the beginning.