Survey: UK’s chronic lack of sleep

Our survey statistics make for uncomfortable bedtime reading. With UK adults clocking up 5.5 billion broken nights each year, sleep debt is real. Let’s take a look at the consequences of lack of sleep, ranging from calling in sick to mental health issues.

5.5bn broken nights sleep each year
88% agree sleep is as important as diet and exercise
55% of 18-24 years olds are missing 8-16 nights each month

The scale of the issue

Our survey reveals the average UK adult is dealing with a serious lack of sleep, clocking up nine bad nights’ sleep each month. The effects of lack of sleep are wide-ranging with 29% reporting aching joints, 30% citing eye strain, 29% reporting reduced desire to socialise and 28% less inclined to exercise.

10 milion UK workers have called in sick in the last 3 months
41% refused to turn on their camera for work call
54% found themselves overwhelmed and unable to cope

The impact of lack of sleep on work

Given the pressures of the pandemic, anxiety around employment and work-from-home isolation, it’s perhaps not surprising that sick days through lack of sleep are at a high. Interestingly, men were more likely to call in sick than women, with 35% of males versus 22% of females. And those living in London reported the highest number of sick days with 52% compared to East Anglia’s 19%.

50% of UK motorists have driven while tired from a poor night's sleep
92m caffeine-based drinks consumed each day to compensate
18% are turning to sleeping tablets

The effects of lack of sleep

Lack of sleep is manifesting in not only physical lethargy but also in impaired mental faculty. A significant 45% of respondents told us they make bad decisions after a bad night’s sleep with 19% of men strongly agreeing to 11% of women.

75% of UK adults have their attention span negatively affected
35% report feeling lonely and isolated
67% are more likely to snap at friends and family

Psychological effects of a bad night's sleep

One of the most alarming statistics to emerge from our survey concerns young adults who told us that lack of sleep is causing mental health issues in 50% of 18-24 year olds.

57% agree there's a lack of support for people with sleep issues
40% said their employer would not give time off for sleep problems
49% would seek help if they were suffering from regular sleep issues

The UK needs sleep support

“It’s impossible to see a doctor”, “I don’t believe I would be taken seriously“, “There’s a lack of understanding”… These are just some of the reasons our respondents put forward for not seeking help with sleep issues.

Help is just a phone call away

The national sleep helpline 03303 530 541
The national sleep helpline 03303 530 541

Powered by the Sleep Charity in partnership with Furniture Village

A brand-new helpline staffed by trained sleep advisors offering free, confidential sleep support. Calls to 03303 530 541 are charged at local network rate. Because sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Want to help the UK sleep better?

In partnership with The Sleep Charity, we’ve launched the national sleep helpline for anyone struggling to sleep.