It's one of the most precious, yet elusive things we all strive for: a peaceful, uninterrupted night's sleep. But how often do we get it? With busier, more stressful lives spent juggling jobs, family and our constant worrying about that wedding budget, it's no wonder many Brits find it difficult to completely switch off at night.
Lack of sleep is something widely discussed among parents at school gates but a topic that business people won't admit in boardrooms… If you could cast a sleeping spell that'll get you a restorative eight hours per night every night, you'd do it, right? Of course, there's a catch – you'd have to pay!
Online bed superstore, Bedstar, conducted a survey of 2,200 Brits to discover just how much they would be willing to pay for a natural night's sleep when suffering from insomnia. And it turns out that, on average, we'd be willing to spend £69.20 for some proper shuteye.
Sure, that's the equivalent of around 36 Starbucks Espressos but perhaps cutting down on caffeine might help those struggling to fall asleep in the first place…
Across the UK, some Brits were willing to pay different amounts than others – people suffering from insomnia in Newcastle would pay on average £59.56 for a good night's sleep.
You can see how you compare to the rest of the UK with Bedstar's interactive map, here: https://www.bedstar.co.uk/infographics/Pay-Per-Dream/index.html
Bedstar also surveyed employees to find out which industry valued their sleep the most. It was interesting that despite long and irregular hours, those in healthcare would pay the second least amount at £55.30 for a solid snooze – perhaps they are just more used to sleeping less.
Those who work in the energy industry said they would be willing to pay the most, £93.75, whilst those in hospitality valued their sleep the least at just £51.70.
Kids can take up a lot of energy and the survey found that parents would be willing to pay £63.04 to hit the sack undisturbed.
Bedstar also surveyed people to find out the steps they take to help them sleep when suffering from insomnia. Almost half (49%) of Brits state they'd pick up a book if they can't sleep, and around one-fifth (21%) would surf the internet despite it being common knowledge that this doesn't aid sleep in any way. 15% of people said they would get up and work instead, 8% would choose to do a workout, 6% prefer taking sleeping pills, and just 1% of Brits would have a nightcap to help them nod off.
According to experts, you shouldn't work or use your computer to surf the web in bed. The goal is to associate the bedroom with sleep alone, so that your body and brain are sent strong signals to indicate that it's time to turn in once you're tucked in. Exercising right before bed isn't ideal either as it raises your core temperature, increases your heart rate and prompts your system to release adrenaline, which can keep you awake. Although sleeping pills are all too easy to rely on but when you take these prescription drugs over a long period of time, your body can grow accustomed to them. Eventually, you'll need higher doses to produce the same sleep-inducing effect.
For these reasons, it's far better to step out of the bedroom, take a bath, read a book or sip on a cup of herbal tea before returning to bed once you feel sleepy.
Brits say that on average they replace their mattresses every 12 years, while experts in the sleep industry recommend changing them every 8 years. Considering we spend a third of our lives on a mattress, you'd think this would be a priority! Whether there's a spring stabbing into your back or a dip in the middle, an uncomfortable mattress doesn't help achieve a decent night's sleep.
When asked just how long they'd endure a troubled sleep before purchasing a new mattress, respondents said 15 days (on average), or just over two weeks. 50% of people surveyed considered a mattress the most important household investment to make, followed by investing in a fridge freezer (26%), a TV (23%) and finally 1% chose a sofa.
The survey also asked how many nights per week Brits actually get a perfect sleep, which turned out to be just 3! This means that for 4 nights of the week or 208 nights of a year, Brits are having uneasy rest.
It also turns out that almost half (49%) of the UK sleeps on their sides, 33% on their back and 18% are stomach sleepers.
'It's obvious that many Brits struggle with their sleeping habits due to various factors,' says John Stalker from Bedstar. 'Perhaps we could avoid the mere idea of paying for your forty winks by investing in a new mattress!'
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