More than half the UK population is seriously sleep deprived

More than half of us are getting 4 hours of sleep a night on average, with Londoners sleeping the least

girl sleeping in bed by getty images
(Image credit: Getty)

Sleep deprived this summer? You've joined over half of the population, who are reporting* getting as little as just four hours' sleep a night on average. 

How to sleep well is obviously upper in our minds, with 76 per cent of us feeling we don't get enough sleep. People in London, perhaps unsurprisingly, self assess as getting the least sleep, with only 16 per cent of the capital's residents claiming they get the recommended six to eight hours' sleep every night. 

People in East Midlands and Northern Ireland are similarly sleep deprived, with under a quarter of the residents in those regions getting a full night's sleep. By sharp contrast, the people of Scotland and Wales report getting more sleep, as do those who live in South West England, where a high 76 per cent of residents get six to eight hours. 

What is behind this marked difference in sleep quality and quantity? Given that the results are self reported, it's hard to be certain about the reasons, but many people who don't get enough sleep cited noise (62 per cent), stress (58 per cent), and inadequate room temperature or lighting (41 and 27 per cent respectively) as the main reasons. 

It seems fairly obvious that people in Scotland, at least outside the major cities, experience less noise and stress than Londoners, but apart from moving to a sparsely populated area in the Highlands, what can we all do to improve our sleep?

For one, change your mattress – you will be amazed how different your quality of sleep will be; the best mattresses will help regulate body temperature as well as offering you the right kind of support. And if you suffer from back pain, the difference you'll feel with the right level of comfort and support shouldn't be under-estimated.

Next, invest in blackout curtains or window blinds: light pollution levels are very high in urban areas, and light pollution disrupts our circadian rhythms

Finally – although this has been said a million times – turn off that phone, well before going to bed. Read a book instead – reading has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and promote healthy sleep. 

*According to a study of 2,400 UK adults conducted by Hillary's