The UK is absolutely not leading the way when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, according to new data.
An international survey found almost two in five (38%) adults in the UK don’t get enough sleep each night.
People aged between 35 and 44 were categorised as the worst sleepers compared to other age groups, while married couples reported better sleep than cohabiting couples.
The survey, conducted by Aviva health insurance, analysed data from 14 countries. People in the UK were revealed as the worst sleepers, followed by Ireland, Canada, Poland and Singapore.
People in India, China and Indonesia reported the best night’s sleep.
The findings revealed that UK men are less likely to get a sound night’s sleep than women.
Meanwhile people aged 65 and over seem to be the best sleepers, with only 27% feeling they don’t get the right amount.
Interestingly, adults with older children averaged less sleep than those with very young ones.
Dr Doug Wright, medical director for Aviva UK Health, said: “Our research continues to highlight that millions UK adults still feel they are not getting the right amount of sleep.
“It suggests that some groups of adults may be more susceptible than others to sleep problems, but there are no set rules and we can all suffer from disrupted nights from time to time.
“What is important, is to identify any issues early on and to take action to alleviate them. Using an app or a digital device to monitor sleep can help to track rest patterns and pin-point any factors which may be causing sleep difficulties.
“And if stress, anxiety or other mental health issues are having an impact on sleep patterns, or if problems continue for a prolonged period, it may be an idea to seek advice from a GP. A better night’s sleep can help to improve overall health and wellbeing, so it pays to tackle sleep problems as soon as possible and nip them in the bud.”
Here are his top tips for a better night’s sleep:
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise. But be sure to give yourself time to wind down - don’t exercise just before bedtime
- Put gadgets to sleep too. Checking emails, phone messages and social media or watching TV can put you in ‘alert’ mode, making it more difficult to get to sleep. Give yourself a break from gadgets before bed-time, and put your phone out of the bedroom or enable the do-not-disturb function at night.
- Block out the light. Don’t expose yourself to bright lights before going to bed, as it tricks your body into believing it’s time to be awake.
- Set a schedule. The body adapts quickly to routine. Going to bed and rising at the same time helps to establish a stable sleep pattern.
- Avoid heavy meals before bed. However don’t go to bed feeling hungry. Instead, eat a light snack.
- Write down your worries. If you find yourself waking up at night thinking about things you have to do, keep a pad and pen close by to note them down so you can return to sleep untroubled.
- Everything in moderation. Balance work and play. Stress and overwork can lead to poor sleeping habits so make sure you find ways to unwind.
- Establish a sleep routine. Have a bedtime ritual. For instance, lie face up in bed with arms and legs slightly spread. Close your eyes. Imagine a black hole and sink into it. Or count sheep.