United Kingdom Sleep Statistics

United Kingdom: So Tired, So Strong.
United Kingdom Sleep Statistics
Tom Greenspan
February 7, 2024

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We all feel we should get 8 hours of sleep every night, and when we don't, we become disgruntled and edgy that lack of sleep may affect our work and social life. But according to (1) YouGov, only 22% of the nation is getting enough sleep. If you think that's bad news during the recent heat wave, the figures dipped to almost 30% of you complaining of not getting enough sleep.

Have you noticed when you are sleep deprived, your emotions change? There are good reasons for this. (2) Your emotional turmoil is coming from your amygdala. When sleep-deprived, the amygdala becomes hyper-sensitive and up to 60% more active as it loses communication with the prefrontal cortex. But don't worry. When sleep is restored, the brain provides first aid and soothes the amygdala restoring emotional integrity.

This article looks at the sleep statistics for the UK, bringing you factual information about this important subject that can be detrimental to your health if not addressed.

Let's jump in.

How much sleep do you need?

People's sleep patterns can frequently become disrupted for various causes, causing them to go to bed later, wake up later, and miss most of the next day. You can find yourself asleep during the day and awake at night if day and night are switched.

Severe sleep deprivation is frequently quite upsetting and might worsen depression, impair concentration, or cause you to forget what you had planned. Additionally, if you don't get enough sleep, your immunity to disease will be lower, which could lead to the development of coughs, colds, and other health issues.

Sleeping patterns vary enormously with age and activity, but according to the NHS,(3) you should sleep 8 hours per night.

Statistics that you should be concerned about

Here are some disturbing trends for sleepers in the UK and worldwide:

  • According to estimates, six out of ten adults experience sleep problems.
  • 38% of US adults claim to have slept off accidentally throughout the day the month before.
  • Over 70% of Finns express troubling daytime fatigue in the past month, and 2/3 of them report waking up exhausted most days.
  • 1 in 3 adults in the US and (5) 25% of adults in the UK sleep for no more than 5 hours per night.
  • Lack of sleep negatively impacts various factors, including creativity, memory, happiness, health, and productivity.

If the statistics are accurate, it means at least ¼ of the nation appears to be exhausted, unproductive zombies unfit for enjoyment, creativity, or rational cognition. 

That is a frightening statistic, especially if you struggle with sleep, work shifts, are a parent of young children, or are a woman going through menopause. 

The idea of morning larks and night owls might further aggravate the discomfort: if your real-life rhythm conflicts with your natural biorhythm (for example, an owl who begins working at 7 am), it's not an easy fit. (6) But most people cannot just structure their days to follow their natural rhythm.

How much sleep should teens be getting?

Teenagers frequently receive a bad rap for skipping breakfast or spending the entire day in bed. But what if your teenager's health is more important to them than you realise? What if all those weekend lie-ins and hours were spent in bed? 

Some secondary schools have thought about starting later to give youngsters more time to recuperate after school. And according to some studies, (7) giving students an extra hour in bed has a good impact on their attendance and academic performance. 

Why do teens need so much sleep?

A vital and unavoidable aspect of existence, sleep is just as necessary for survival as breathing and eating. Compared to newborns and young children, adults sleep for around a third of the day. Your physical and mental health might benefit from high-quality sleep.

Teens who get enough sleep can:

  • Attain success in school
  • Withstand stress
  • Solve issues
  • Pay close attention and focus
  • Learn and keep in mind
  • Have healthy skin
  • Control their emotions
  • Maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet.
  • Develop and expand
  • Be friendly to relatives and friends
  • Take care of their mental health.

Why do teens stay up late and miss out on sleep?

Teenagers' biological composition also contributes to their insomnia, even though social media, technology, and societal pressures are somewhat to blame. 

This is due to (8)changes in the body's circadian rhythm, hormones, and natural sleep patterns brought on by puberty. 

Your body's internal clock is known as the circadian rhythm. Your 24-hour sleep/wake cycle is controlled by a sophisticated system.

According to research, (9)teenagers don't start producing melatonin until later in the evening. Your body produces the hormone melatonin in reaction to darkness, which makes you feel weary and signals your body that it is time to go to bed. Therefore, even if you put your adolescent to bed early, they can still have trouble sleeping. Similar to asking a parent to go to bed at 7-8 pm, asking your teenager to sleep at 10 pm is unreasonable.

Teenagers frequently feel more alert in the evenings, sleepy in the mornings, and may find it challenging to get out of bed in time for school due to these changes to their internal body clock. 

So, even though you might want your adolescent to rise and shine at a regular hour, forcing them out of bed before they've gotten enough sleep might result in sleep inertia, which makes them groggy. 

This continual sleep deprivation may eventually have a negative impact on their well-being.

Why is driving while feeling drowsy is not a good idea?

Alcohol reduces your ability to drive, but as long as you're not fully drunk, it's likely that you'll act evasively to avoid an accident, even if it's late or wrong.

To avoid a collision, you might swerve erratically or brake (perhaps a little bit too late). However, dozing off while driving is hazardous because it takes seconds for your automobile to skid off the road.

(10)Microsleeps, which are, as their name suggests, little bouts of sleep, are one of the leading causes of crashes brought on by drowsiness. 

Microsleeps can last anywhere from a hundredth of a second and thirty seconds, during which time you cannot react to your surroundings. An automobile will travel the length of a football field in just 4 or 5 seconds of microsleep when travelling at highway speeds.

Because you are asleep, you do not take any protective measures. Thus, the impact that results is severe. Because there are typically more violent impacts and no skid traces, authorities can identify drivers who have fallen asleep at the wheel.

According to one study, drivers who reported almost falling asleep behind the wheel had 14 times higher collision risk. 

Another study found that being fatigued while driving nearly four times increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident or near-crash.

Combating sleep drowsiness

Feeling drowsy when you first wake up in the morning is natural and referred to as sleep inertia in science. 

Make sure you have had a hearty breakfast that will supply sustained energy. A caffeine boost will also wake you first thing in the morning.

The wind-down, the melatonin window, and the biological night: The 1-2 hours before bedtime are crucial for a wind-down in the evening.  

This is the time of day when your body creates the most melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep and keeps you asleep throughout your biological night.

What does sleep deprivation cost the UK economy?

At some level, it should go without saying that nobody else's business but our own is when, how, and where we sleep. However, at the same time, there is growing recognition that the pressures of our "always on" workplace can have a significant, detrimental impact on why up to one in three of us experience insomnia or sleep disruption daily.

Therefore, lack of sleep is no longer just a health and safety concern for individuals in jobs that require a high level of safety. It is something that all companies must deal with because it entails a whole host of costs and baggage related to lost productivity, engagement, attendance, and "fitness" to work.

For instance, the WPA has calculated that (11)insufficient sleep costs the UK economy £40 billion annually, with tired workers less productive and more likely to be absent from work. According to estimates, insomnia and poor sleep cost the UK 200,000 working days annually.

But this pales into insignificance compared to some western countries like The US, who reports that sleep deprivation costs the country 411 billion dollars each year, and Japan's GDP is suffering for the same reasons.


Whatever way governments try to spin the information, it's clear that actions need to be put in place to address this sleep deprivation epidemic, as economies worldwide are being pulled down by a system that could have created sleep deprivation.

What's the solution to sleep deprivation and the economy?


Get better sleep

(9)Meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscular relaxation are all suggestions for rapid sleep. It's also best to stick to the same routine on days off from work to maintain your internal clock functioning properly.

Exercise, avoiding naps, and practising excellent sleep hygiene, such as keeping smartphones and other electronic gadgets out of the bedroom, having a warm bath, or relaxing with yoga, are suggestions for overcoming sleep deficits.

Then, don't hit that snooze button when you get up in the morning. Attempt to get out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off, especially if the weather is nice and there is a lot of morning sunshine. This will enable melatonin suppression.

You should attempt to maintain the same sleep and wake timings on work and off days. However, if you don't get enough rest during the work week, attempt to get extra on your days off.