Almost an hour's sleep a night is lost during the recession, claims study
Published 03/06/2010 | 10:55
The average person is losing more sleep than ever and getting just six hours 21 minutes a night, a UK study suggests.
That is almost an hour less than two years ago, it showed.
Stress and worry is keeping the country awake at night and means millions are getting less than the recommended eight hours they need to feel completely refreshed every morning.
The current sleep shortfall is estimated to be costing employers around £1 (€1.18) billion per year because 28 per cent of workers said they had taken a day off following a bad night's sleep.
That is the equivalent of eight million sick days a year compared with just more than three million in 2008.
More than half of us (56 per cent) said we felt like we have got a bad hangover when we have not had enough sleep and 45 per cent said it takes a couple of days to recover.
The research undertaken for the hotel chain Travelodge is based on the sleep patterns of 6,000 adults and also revealed that 54 per cent of adults blame a lack of sleep for their inability to concentrate at work.
A third of those surveyed said they find it difficult to concentrate driving to and from work after a bad night's sleep.
Seven out 10 adults admitted they are a "horrible person" to be around when they have not had enough sleep and difficult to work with.
The desire to catch up on much-needed sleep is so great that a quarter of adults claim to take a catnap at work, with 16 per cent dozing at their desk and 10 per cent even retreating to the lavatories for forty winks.
According to the study, the top three causes of sleep deprivation are money worries (38 per cent), work-related stress (25 per cent) and noisy family members or neighbours (23 per cent).
Stevie Williams, from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said: "This research highlights that sleep deprivation is a growing problem.
"It's worrying to see the sleep debt and the number of sick days taken off due to sleep restriction has doubled in two years.
"Although we are coming out of recession we are still worried about money and work issues, which is fuelling this sleep disorder.
"It's a vicious circle, although adults may fret about their job and have financial worries they cannot afford to sacrifice their sleep quota.
"Having sleepless nights on a long-term basis can be very detrimental to your health and it will affect your productivity and overall wellbeing.
"Therefore it's essential to invest in topping up your sleep quota when possible to ensure you are getting eight hours of sleep on a regular basis."
Further findings from the study found the nation's daily battle against exhaustion means the average adult actually takes 13 minutes to get out of bed when their alarm clock rings.
Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of those surveyed admitted they will regularly skip their morning shower in order to spend longer in bed.
One in ten adults will forgo brushing their teeth in favour of just a few extra minutes snooze.
Travelodge has launched a £10 (€11.8) million sleep programme to help its customers get a good night sleep, including 81,000 new and improved pillows.
Leigh McCarron, of Travelodge, said: "We believe the introduction of 'Sleep Wardens' to monitor noise levels reflects our commitment in helping to reduce the nation's sleep debt."
The top 10 causes of sleep deprivation identified in the Travelodge Sleep Index are:
1. Money worries
2. Work stress
3. Outside noise i.e. neighbours, traffic
4. Watching television too late
5. Family troubles
6. Relationship issues
7. Partner fidgeting
8. Partner snoring
9. Worries about personal appearance
10. Argument with partner