Many people in the UK view their capability or inability to sleep as more of a roulette situation, relying on sheer luck for their sleep. It is as if they have to wait for the Sandman to come down and spread some ‘sleep dust’ for them to have a good night’s sleep.
But, a good night’s sleep is important for healthy living. We sleep on average about one-third of our lives. This equates to approximately 27 years of our existence here on earth. That is a really crazy level of time we spend in an unconscious trance, unable to see or feel the world, our minds in busy, dreamy meanderings. As much as sleeping seems like a complete waste of time, it is nevertheless important that we establish safe and healthy sleeping habits to help rejuvenate our body and minds.
A recent study revealed the sleeping habits of people across the UK, and it shows how most people are sleep deprived. The study also found out what kept people up late in the evenings, and why they are having a hard time getting to sleep.
Article at a Glance
- How To Get More Deep Sleep
- Top 10 UK Cities With The Most And Least Sleep
- Catching Up On Recommended Sleep Over The Weekend
- What Is Keeping the UK Up All Night
- The Importance of Sleep
- What Exactly Happens If a Person Does Not Get Enough Sleep
- Guidelines For Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
The UK’s Sleep Habits
The recommended length of sleep is seven to nine hours a night, but studies show that the average adult in the UK is only getting six hours and 18 minutes of shut-eye. On average, Humber and Yorkshire are getting the most sleep at six hours and 23 minutes every night, while Northern Ireland gets the least sleep averaging only six hours and nine minutes.
Furthermore, people over at Wolverhampton get the most sleep pegged at six hours and 30 minutes, followed next by Sheffield and Leeds. But, residents from Plymouth have the least sleep at only six hours and three minutes, followed by Belfast and Coventry.
Top 10 UK Cities With The Most and Least Sleep
Top 10 UK cities getting the most sleep
- #1 - Aberystwyth (7 hours and 6 minutes)
- #2 - Gloucester (6 hours and 53 minutes)
- #3 - Wrexham (6 hours and 51 minutes)
- #4 - Worcester (6 hours and 51 minutes)
- #5 - Southampton (6 hours 46 minutes)
- #6 - York (6 hours 43 minutes)
- #7 - Leeds (6 hours 43 minutes)
- #8 - Oxford (6 hours 41 minutes)
- #9 - Brighton & Hove (6 hours 41 minutes)
- #10 - Aberdeen (6 hours 41 minutes)
Top 10 UK cities getting the least sleep
- #1 - Portsmouth (6 hours 5 minutes)
- #2 - Coventry (6 hours 11 minutes)
- #3 - Belfast (6 hours 15 minutes)
- #4 - Birmingham (6 hours 16 minutes)
- #5 - Cardiff (6 hours 23 minutes)
- #6 - Leicester (6 hours 26 minutes)
- #7 - Liverpool (6 hours 27 minutes)
- #8 - Wolverhampton (6 hours 27 minutes)
- #9 - Cambridge (6 hours 28 minutes)
- #10 - Newcastle (6 hours 27 minutes)
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Catching Up On Recommended Sleep Over The Weekend
People from the UK have a very busy weekly schedule, they often work under stress, have family commitments, and the ideal work-life balance is not achieved. Their sleeping pattern is highly affected by all of these. This leads to obvious signs that you need to recuperate. Oftentimes, very long and relaxing Saturdays and Sundays afford the best ways to recover from sleep deprivation.
Northern Ireland is attempting its best to catch up on getting the most sleep, with only a slim difference of 56 minutes during the weekdays and by weekend shut eye. Humber and Yorkshire, on the other hand, are least affected with only seven minutes of sleep difference.
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As the entire UK is becoming sleep deprived, the study also found the five leading reasons for what is keeping the UK up late and why we are struggling too much to disconnect and switch off.
Sad to say, the leading causes of being awake is NOT due to work, 29 per cent of the respondents admitted they were online shopping during the evenings. Another 24 per cent have put the blame on noisy surroundings for their sleep deprivation, and a mere 12 per cent have admitted to having too much caffeine earlier in the day.
The top 5 reasons for staying up late:
- #1 - Noisy surroundings
- #2 - Thinking about work
- #3 - Too much caffeine during the day
- #4 - Family and relationships, especially taking care of infants and children
- #5 - Electronic gadgets including smartphones, TV, laptops, handhelds, the internet, and others
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The Importance of Sleep
Like food and air, sleep is a basic human need. The body needs it to be able to function as a normal human being. It is one of our most crucial physiological needs. Some people might find sleep totally irrelevant and overrated these days, but this isn’t so. Here’s why.
The underlying reasons for the importance of sleep:
- #1 - Improves the brain
- #2 - Improves our ability to learn
- #3 - Regulates our body’s metabolism.
- #4 - Helps file away important memories in the brain
- #5 - Reduces mental exhaustion and fatigue which can lead to short term memory loss and stress-related sicknesses
- #6 - Repairing of the body during sleep
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What Exactly Happens If a Person Does Not Get Enough Sleep
One of the leading and most obvious effects of not getting enough sleep is sleepiness. Your mood can change drastically; you will be unable to concentrate and may get irritated easily. You may find tasks to be very monotonous and boring. Your work quality and overall quality of life will likely be affected.
Being sleep deprived for a long period of time can adversely impact your health and overall well-being. Your cognitive abilities will degrade, your attention span will deteriorate, and your memory, as well as judgments, will be negatively impacted. The ability of your body to regulate accumulated energy will be altered, your metabolic system is damaged, and you will find losing weight to be more difficult as your body runs on less energy. Sleep deprivation can likewise encourage the influx of certain hormones that are highly associated with stress. The body also becomes prone to medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and weakens your immune system making you prone to sickness.
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Guidelines For Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
Get rid of your electronic devices when inside the bedroom
Avoid using laptops, mobile devices, and avoid binge-watching television shows. These devices emit some frequencies that can disrupt the brain and making you less likely to catch a good night’s sleep.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol intake when you’re near your bedtime
If you have trouble sleeping, avoid them altogether. Too much caffeine can overstimulate your body, making you stay awake and leaving you unable to sleep.
Start winding down earlier
Take some time to have a relaxing hot bath before you sleep. Pipe in some soothing music or meditate to condition your mind to sleep.
Do away with stressful and strenuous physical activities
Do not attempt to work out any time near your bedtime. You will just end up feeling sore and tired, thus making you restless and unable to sleep afterwards.
Have a comfortable and sleep-inducing surrounding
Your sleeping ambience must be comfortable, tranquil, and dark which induces sleep. Avoid having a bright light or alarm clock by the bedside table as it will only interrupt your sleep and you are more likely to check on the time as you wake up later in the night disrupting the rest of your sleep times.
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A Last Word On Sleep Habits
The contribution of good and adequate sleep to overall health cannot be overstated. At most, poor sleep equates to poor health, and in general, it can negatively impact the body and can lead to some serious medical conditions as a result of sleep deprivation.
One vital consideration that has a direct impact on a person’s sleeping habit is bedtime. When you are a kind of person who has trouble falling asleep, you need to stay in bed longer since it is very likely that you will have a poor night’s rest. Spending a lot of time lying in bed will only aggravate your frustration and make the condition all the worse.
Avoid spending too much time in bed. It will be best when you go to bed at a later time or wake up really early. This will create a sleep schedule for your body. The lesser time in bed, the easier you will likely to fall asleep. This creates good sleep habits.
Stay consistent with your bedtime, not only on the weekdays but also on the weekends. Your body must keep on following this sleep schedule to create a sound sleep habit. Whenever you maintain the same schedule, you will achieve better sleep. A great way to create a good bedtime schedule is by paying attention to the cues your body gives you, like finding the exact time when you already feel sleepy. Do not attempt to go to bed at times when you don’t feel sleepy, or you will end up having sleepless nights.
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