Most Brits Wake up Tired Thanks to Broken Sleep Routines

This World Sleep Day, 86% of Brits won’t be fully rested and our habits are to blame
March 13th marks World Sleep Day – a day designed to celebrate all things sleep-related. A recent survey into the nation’s pre-sleep habits shows that a massive proportion of Brits are not doing enough to get quality sleep.
Poor sleep routines, where two thirds of all pre-sleep activity is centred on electronic devices, lead nearly one in ten to say they find it ‘virtually impossible’ to get up in the mornings. A further three quarters to confess to feeling less than fresh the next day.
A staggering nine out of ten of us watch TV, half use a computer and over a third use a smartphone. It is likely that the same people are using multiple electronic devices in the run up to bedtime, giving their brains sparse opportunity to wind down.
The research carried out by luxury bath mat makers Turtle Mat found that although most of us think it’s important to relax, only one in four undertake activities that allow their brains to start switching off, whether it be by taking a bath or reading a book. Many put this lack of relaxation down to being too busy, with a further six percent of the population going as far as saying they feel guilty for it.
The knock-on effect of these activities is clear: if our brains aren’t being prepared for sleep, we won’t get the rest we need.
Dr Michael Oko, consultant ENT surgeon and founder of the Snoring Disorders Centre, describes the impact using an electronic device prior to bed can have on the brain to affect sleep:
“These devices emit blue light which stimulates the brain and inhibits melatonin metabolism for a few hours. This has the effect of resetting your body clock (circadian rhythm) and sleep cycle. If you do not get enough quality sleep you cannot perform at your best the next day.”
Those glued to electronic devices before bed are running the risk of major long-term health effects, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. As Dr Oko says, “We are yet to see the true long term impact on the younger generation of this recent advancement in technology.”
With the help of Dr Oko, Turtle Mat has created a self-assessment quiz with positive actions to take this World Sleep Day which can be found here. The survey also found:
• The South West of the country gets the best quality of sleep with over 2/3 waking up rested
• Older people drink more alcohol before bed than younger generations, younger people use the most electronic devices before bed
• Leicester is the city that feels the most guilty for relaxing whilst Londoners take the most baths and wake up fresher for it

Rebecca Wilson, Marketing Manager at Turtle Mat, says of their research “The health impact that our pre-sleep habits are having on our minds and bodies is a real cause for concern, but to think that we don’t fully know what the long-term impacts may be is shocking. We set out to explore if people were taking enough time to relax and the reasons they don’t, but once we got started a much more worrying trend started to emerge.”
So what can be done to improve quality of sleep? Dr Oko describes what is known as “Sleep Hygiene” and offers some pointers: “It is essentially “powering down” your mind so it can go into “Sleep Mode”. In today’s 24/7 society you have to plan to sleep well so you can be as efficient as possible. Turn off your devices 2-3hrs before you intend to sleep, your bedroom is only for two things; Sleep & Sex!”

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