Research commissioned by Levitex, which was founded by Sleep Posture Expert James Leinhardt, reveals almost half of the UK get less than six hours sleep per night
The survey delves into the nation’s sleeping habits and, as James says, it’s important we focus on the ‘quality’ of our sleep when it’s prevalent from the data so few of us can actually achieve the ‘quantity’
A new study looking at the nation’s sleeping habits has found that almost one in two people in the UK (48%) get six hours sleep or less per night.
The poll of 2,000 people in the UK, commissioned by James Leinhardt, a sleep posture expert and founder of Levitex, revealed how millions of people in the UK are struggling to sleep, with 26% admitting they wake up frequently in the night.
Only 19% of the nation said they managed eight hours sleep or more, which is often referred to as the ‘magic’ number for the ‘perfect night’s sleep’ – something that James claims simply does not exist.
The most sleep deprived age group was those aged between 25-34, with 52.4% getting six hours or less a night.
Men generally scored worse than women across the UK – 50% landed in the six hours or less category, compared to 47% of women.
And worryingly, the data showed that 29% of Brits actually get less than five hours shut eye each night. This is a figure that raises alarm bells as research shows the brain of someone who has been awake for 19 hours functions like someone who is legally drunk.
Only 13% of people said they wake up feeling rested in the morning – 19% admitted they struggle to get out of bed in the morning; 14% struggle to fall asleep; 10% struggle to stay asleep and 6% classed themselves as an ‘insomniac’.
“As a nation we have sleepwalked our way into a national crisis”, said James. “It’s clear there’s a huge problem with sleep in the UK, but no one is doing anything about it.
“This made-up number of 8 hours of sleep is unrealistic. Our study has proved that not even 1 in 5 people manage to achieve it. Most people have busy lives and lots of other responsibilities that mean it isn’t possible to squeeze that much sleep into each night – the ‘perfect night’s sleep’ that we all strive for just doesn’t exist.
“In our study 87% of the nation are having trouble sleeping. We’re talking about millions and millions of people whose lives are being impacted by a lack of sleep – whether it’s their personal lives, relationships or at work.”
There were several factors that led to sleep issues or disturbances throughout the night and many of these were uncovered in the survey. They included:
- Stress/anxiety (45%)
- Pain (28%)
- Feeling uncomfortable (25%)
- Disrupted by partner’s sleeping habits (22%)
- Shift work (10%)
- New parent (5%)
And a quarter (25%) of people admitted that their lack of sleep impacts their quality of life. This was highest in the youngest age category of the survey – those aged between 16-24 – with 30% agreeing with this statement.
“We’re shouting from the rooftops about these findings to make sure people literally wake up and see what poor sleep quality is doing to us all,” added James, who has become a Tik Tok sensation with several viral videos all about sleep and the importance of focusing on quality over quantity.
“Every week I see more research on why we need 8 hours sleep and nothing on how to improve our quality of sleep. For insomniacs, this information is just making matters worse. Our study clearly proves no one is getting the ‘magic’ quantity so it’s time for experts like me to help people significantly improve their quality of sleep, with helpful and tangible ways to get there.
“There are some very simple steps people can take straight away to make a difference. We can only control three areas of sleep – hygiene, sleep position and lying surface. No bed brand can promise a ‘perfect night’s sleep’ and our research proves it simply doesn’t exist. That’s why we created Levitex – the first clinically proven comfort foam innovation since the 1960s.
“First of all, consider the position you lie in at night. The very best position you can sleep in is what we call ‘The Dreamer’ – lying in the semi-foetal position with your knees bent. This is well evidenced to put the least amount of tension through your spine whilst you sleep. If you can sleep with a pillow in between your knees, that’s even better, because this position reduces pressure on your neck and spine and is brilliant for better posture and rest.
“The next thing is your mattress and pillow. So many people have no idea what they sleep on or have not updated their mattress in years. This is no good for our night time posture, but this is where Levitex comes in. Your lying surface needs to consider three essential specifications – pressure relief, posture management and proprioceptive feedback.
“Our innovation in polyurethane foam is the best lying surface because it offers the right combination of support for your body whilst ensuring you still receive high levels of comfort. People think that soft is best, but this is completely wrong. This is one of the major reasons why people don’t sleep well, or wake up with neck ache, back ache or other pains.”
After years of working with local authorities and in the NHS with critically ill patients and local authorities across the UK, James has applied the interventions, science and sleeping positions he uses in complex neurology to help the general population.
“One size does not fit all when it comes to things like running shoes and it’s exactly the same for pillows,” said James. “It’s important to get a pillow that matches your body shape, size and individual needs. It’s all good and well if you take the first step in choosing the best pillow size, but you then have to make sure you take it everywhere with you – sleeping on hotel pillows is another common reason for poor sleep quality.”
Mattresses at Levitex also come in a range of sizes from single to king size, again providing the right combination of pressure relief and comfort.
“When you optimise your sleep posture, your muscles get a chance to properly relax and recover through the night,” added James. “Unlike anything that contains memory foam, these mattresses help you do that, instead of remembering your bad posture from the day. The mattress supports your body and also addresses those three key elements – pressure, posture and proprioception.”
Further details on the latest 2023 sleep study can be found on the Levitex website here.