Researchers and University psychologists took an in-depth look into the sleep habits of the nation and discovered the majority of us are not getting the amount of sleep needed to function properly, with the average Brit aiming for a minimum of seven hours a night, but only managing five hours and 48 minutes (on average).
And despite experts recommending between seven and nine hours a night, as many as a quarter (26 percent) are regularly surviving on just four hours, while a further 24 percent insist they sometimes get as little as three.
And the effects of the nation’s sleep deficit are deeply concerning, with 49 percent admitting lack of sleep makes them moody and distracted, while 34 percent say they function poorly at work most days due to tiredness.
A further 21 percent are not as confident in their parenting skills, losing their temper with their children when sleep deprived, while four in ten said they get angrier with their nearest and dearest when they are feeling tired.
A further 15 percent of the almost 2,000 adults polled by Bensons for Beds, admit they put things off in their lives and cancel plans on a regular basis because they feel too tired to face them, while 18 percent said tiredness stops them exercising or being as healthy as they would like to be.
16 percent admitted lack of sleep had affected their relationship with their partner leading to more rows.
In a separate study by Anglia Ruskin University and Bensons for Beds, scientists discovered the worry of not being able to sleep leaves participants even more sleep deprived.
According to the study, worrying about not getting “eight-hours” a night can actually cause more stress and anxiety at bedtime.
The University study also revealed the difference between feeling sleepy and being fatigued.
Dr Simon Moore, lead psychologist at Anglia Ruskin University, explained:
“Our bodies are not designed to deal with modern day stress. We are in a constant state of psychological fight or flight, leading to our batteries running dangerously low.
“Whilst participants found that feeling sleepy is positive and a natural order for our body, there is a lack of understanding around what fatigue is which, if left untreated, can stop people from living full lives, because they don’t know how to overcome it.”
Sleep Expert, Stephanie Romiszewski, explains the difference:
“Being sleepy at the right times is actually good and healthy for you. You wouldn’t be able to sleep if you weren’t sleepy. However, being fatigued – having brain fog or just feeling like you need to ‘rest’ all the time – is not the same thing.
“The key thing here is to remember that one bad night’s sleep will not harm you significantly and your body will recover.”
Alan Williams, Managing Director at Bensons for Beds, added:
“Sleep Wellness™ is so much more than just getting seven hours sleep a night.”
According to the data almost half of Brits (43 percent) admit they struggle to sleep, while 28 percent said the stress of the working day keeps them awake at night.
A further 27 percent of the adults polled said they simply don’t go to bed early enough, while 15 percent said they are woken during the early hours of the night by their young children.
Almost four in ten (37 percent) say they try to catch up on their sleep deficit by having a lie in at the weekend but according to the data our best laid plans often go awry with 15 percent of desperate parents claiming their children wake them up early.
A further one in ten (11 percent) said their partner wakes them up at the weekend.