'Sleep Is The Single Most Important Health Behaviour We Have' Says Expert

This Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Health

If you constantly feel tired or like you don't get enough sleep, it may be time to revisit your sleep techniques. Most of us view sleep as an optional thing - we try and 'grab' some whenever we have time, but the reality is that like eating, we have to make time for it and there are no shortcuts.

To find out more about our sleep patterns and the key frustrations, Sleepio, the digital sleep improvement programme and the University of Oxford have launched the Great British Sleep Survey once again this year.

Professor Russell Foster, chair of Circadian Neuroscience and head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford, said: “Sleep is the single most important health behaviour we have. It affects everything from our day-to-day functioning to our long-term physical and mental health.

We need to understand just how we’re sleeping as a nation so we can start helping people sleep better and so lead healthier lives. So I’d urge everyone to help us out by taking part in the Great British Sleep Survey.”

Professor Colin Espie, Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford and lead researcher on the Great British Sleep Survey, added: “We’d like everyone in Great Britain to tell us how they’re sleeping. The last time this survey was conducted, over 21,000 people took part.

This time, we want even more people to become involved with our research. The survey takes just five minutes and everyone who takes part will be helping us to better understand the nation’s sleep.”

The findings from the last sleep survey, conducted by Sleepio in 2012 and completed by 21,300 adults, put the average ‘Sleep Score’ in the UK at 5.1: that just scrapes into the 'average' category.

Sleep problems affect 1 in 3 of us at any one time, and about 10% of the population on a chronic basis. A poor night’s sleep can affect our day-to-day life as well as our long-term mental and physical health.

Poor sleep can negatively affect our productivity and mood, as well as reduce our ability to concentrate and our energy levels. In the long-term, poor sleep has been found to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, obesity and anxiety and depression.

The initial findings will be announced later this year. The Great British Sleep Survey will then act as a ‘rolling barometer’ of the nation’s sleep.


  • On average, respondents from Scotland slept the best with the highest Sleep Score of 5.5
  • The Scots also took the least time, on average, to fall asleep at night – taking just 40 minutes compared to an average of 47 minutes in both England and Wales
  • The British city that takes the longest time to fall asleep is Birmingham, where on average it takes almost an hour (58 minutes) to drop off – that’s 20 minutes less than those in Edinburgh
  • Low energy was found to be the most common daytime effect of poor sleep across the UK with two-thirds (66%) of respondents affected

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