UK Adults Still Ranked the Worst Sleepers in New Study

With 38 per cent of UK adults admitting that they do not regularly get enough sleep, the United Kingdom has—again—been ranked as the worst country for sleep in a recent international survey. On average, adults require between six to nine hours of sleep each night, with 7.7 hours being the optimum amount, according to the Royal Society for Public Health. Yet, more than 20 million UK adults are getting less than that. This is unfortunate, as a good night’s rest is critical to your day-to-day performance. Regularly not getting enough sleep can cause moodiness and impact basic cognitive skills, such as memory, critical thinking and problem-solving. It can even have serious consequences on your physical and mental health, including contributing to the following conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • A shortened life expectancy

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are numerous—including netting you more pay. A joint study from Williams College and the University of California at San Diego in the United States found that a one-hour increase in average weekly sleep increases wages by 1.5 per cent in the short term and 4.9 per cent in the long run.

Thankfully, poor sleep is generally a simple problem to address. To help ensure that you get enough sleep each night, follow these five simple steps:

1. Establish a regular sleep schedule. This should be something that you can easily maintain, even during the weekend.

2. Wind down your activities as you get closer to your bedtime, as your body needs time to shift into sleep mode.

3. Avoid taking frequent naps throughout the week. Even though naps may be enjoyable, napping too much or too long can disrupt your sleep schedule.

4. Keep electronics away from your bed. Devices such as smartphones and tablets produce ‘blue light’, which stops your brain from producing melatonin, a chemical that makes you feel tired.

5. Don’t indulge in nicotine or caffeine close to your bedtime, as the stimulating effects of those substances can take hours to wear off.

If you are still having trouble getting a good night’s rest after following the above guidance, talk to your GP, as he or she can evaluate your symptoms and refer you to a board-certified sleep specialist, if necessary.