Half of Brits struggle to sleep soundly

Not being able to get a good night’s sleep is thought to regularly affect around one in three people in the UK, says the NHS. But a recent report by market research company Mintel claims more of us may have sleep struggles, with half of all Brits saying we’re not getting enough shut-eye.

The report suggests the average person in this country sleeps for six hours and 51 hours each night, which is just short of the minimum sleep time recommended for adults (seven hours). One in 20 is worse off, getting just four hours a night or less. And only 23 percent say they get eight hours, with just nine percent enjoying nine hours or more.

The survey also reveals the majority of people acknowledge how important it is to get a good night’s rest. More than eight out of 10 of those who were surveyed agreed that getting enough sleep is as important as following a healthy lifestyle. But while only 46 percent say they feel well rested when they wake up, 47 percent say they’re desperate enough to try anything to improve their sleep quality.

Age seems to play a part in how much sleep we’re getting too, the survey claims. On average, those aged 16 to 24 sleep for seven hours and 23 minutes a night, but people in the 45 – 54 age group only sleep for six hours and 34 minutes. Meanwhile falling asleep can be a problem for many, with just a third of people saying they nod off without much difficulty.

“Britain’s sleep deprivation problem is now an epidemic – half of consumers are not getting the sleep we need,” says Hera Crossan, a personal care analyst at Mintel.

“The middle-aged group are particularly struggling with sleep and there are several factors playing into their sleep reduction, ranging from the normal disruption of menopause to the stress and lack of time caused by raising children and looking after elderly parents, as well as balancing employment.

“This ‘sandwich’ generation is struggling to find time to go to bed, and struggling to get enough hours of sleep once they get there.”

How your pharmacist can help

If you’re having difficulties getting the sleep you need on a regular basis, your local Careway pharmacist can give you lots of tips on how to wind down effectively so that you’re ready for sleep by the time you go to bed. Some of the things they may recommend include the following:

  • Whenever possible, go to bed and get up at the same times
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine or alcohol for a few hours before bedtime, and try not to eat a heavy meal or exercise before bed too
  • Get into the habit of relaxing before you go to bed – take a warm bath, for instance, or listen to some relaxing music
  • Avoid watching TV or using digital devices such as phones, tablets or computers just before you go to bed
  • Make sure your bedroom is the right environment for sleep – try using blackout curtains or blinds if it’s too light at night, and if noise is a problem your pharmacist can recommend earplugs you can use to stop being woken up
  • Even if you’re tired after not sleeping well, try not to nap during the day as it could make it more difficult for you to sleep again at night

If you need a little extra help, your pharmacist can also recommend a gentle over-the-counter sleep aid to help you sleep more soundly. Indeed, according to the Mintel report, one in three adults has used sleep aids such as aromatherapy or herbal products.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.