Based on our findings, Northern Ireland has been crowned the most well-rested region, followed by Greater London and the South West. Meanwhile, the North West, the East of England and Wales are the least well-rested.
The North West are the biggest nap takers, which could explain why they are the least well-rested region, don’t feel as though they get enough sleep at night or feel well rested in the morning.
People in Scotland, which ranked fifth, seem to have their sleep most affected by anxiety, while people in the West Midlands dream most vividly.
When it comes to winding down at night, we all have our own techniques to help us relax. Those living in the South East rely on drinking a hot drink to help them get ready for a night’s slumber, while people in Yorkshire and the Humber focus on their night-time skincare routine to help them relax before bed.
Read on to find out more about the nation’s sleeping habits…
Bedtimes and waking-up times vary from one person to the next, and different circumstances can affect how consistent we’re able to be in our sleeping routine – more so now than ever.
Based on the average bedtime and waking time now compared to three months ago, people in the West Midlands have seen the biggest increase in time spent snoozing per night, on average achieving an incredible 1 hr 21 mins more beauty sleep every night.
People in the East of England and Yorkshire and the Humber are also getting significantly more sleep, with an average of 52 mins and 44 mins more respectively. This is interesting to note since both regions ranked low for feeling well-rested in the morning but ranked high for experiencing anxiety before they go to bed.
It’s also good to see that some Brits are enjoying a lie in, with most people now waking up between 7-8am compared to three months ago when most people were waking up between 6-7am. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean more hours of sleep since the average bedtime has moved from 10-11pm to midnight or later.
This is true for some regions who are now getting less sleep than three months ago. Specifically, Northern Ireland has seen the biggest decrease in time slept per night, with residents getting almost half an hour less sleep than earlier in the year. Those in the North West and the East Midlands have also been getting less sleep, but just 14 mins and 7 mins less respectively.
We all experience nights where we struggle to sleep, but what exactly is it that’s keeping us up?
For more than a third of Brits, anxiety and uncertainty are the biggest culprits for stopping us catching our zzz’s at night, which is something to note given the uncertain times we find ourselves in.
It seems that women we surveyed are particularly affected by anxiety and uncertainty, with 48% citing it as a cause of restless nights compared to just 29% of male respondents. Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotland and Northern Ireland are the top three regions that stated they experience this.
The second reason for keeping the UK awake is stress, meaning that over 68% of the people we surveyed struggle to sleep due to either stress or anxiety. Greater London is the region most affected by stress, with 38% of people citing this as a reason for losing sleep. Interestingly, in Manchester and Southampton only 7% of people say stress impacts them at night.
Curiously, it’s younger people who are more likely to be kept awake at night because of stress, with 38% of 25-34 year olds and 36% of 18-24 year olds stating that stress affects their sleep patterns. This compares to only 22% of Brits aged 55+ experiencing a lack of sleep due to stress.
It seems there’s nothing like a good book or listening to relaxing music to help send us to sleep, with almost a third of people using these methods to wind down before bed. The North West is the region that’s most into reading or listening to music before bed, followed by the South East and the East of England.
The second most popular way to wind down before bed is by having a relaxing bath or a soothing shower. According to Sleep Medicine Reviews, having a warm bath or shower has been proven to help us fall asleep faster, and Northern Ireland is the region most likely to reap the benefits of this, followed by Greater London and the West Midlands. In the same spectrum of self-care, 1 in 12 Brits (8%) use skincare routines to help them wind down before bedtime.
The blue light from digital devices directly affects the body's production of the sleep hormone melatonin, responsible for making us feel sleepy. Despite being told that we should avoid using digital devices before bed, they are still the third most popular way to wind down before going to sleep. Fourteen per cent of us are using digital devices to help us sleep, and this number is even higher in Greater London (19%), the North East (17%) and Northern Ireland (16%)..
These figures are greater when looking at results based on age groups, with almost a quarter of 18-24 year olds around the UK using digital devices to help them wind down at night.
Dreams are fascinating and can be both hugely entertaining and incredibly scary. More often than not we don’t even realise we’ve had any, but sometimes they’re so vivid they seem like they were part of our real life.
Throughout the UK there has been a noticeable increase in people dreaming vividly between now and three months ago – a 68% increase to be precise. The biggest increases in vivid dreamers have been seen in the West Midlands, Northern Ireland and East Midlands.
Interestingly, the research showed that more than a quarter (27%) of female respondents living in the UK are dreaming more vividly now that they did three months ago, and 50% said their dreams relate to real life events.
On a regional level, Wales sits at the top of the list for dreaming about real life events (75%), and on an age level, 18-24 year olds experience the highest number of dreams based on real life (71%).
When it comes to remembering dreams, 66% of British respondents say they sometimes, regularly or always remember their dreams. By looking at UK regions, 78% of people in Northern Ireland and 72% of people in the North East and South East can remember theirs every night.
A remarkable 70% of women said they can remember their dreams every night too.
The subject of our dreams can range from the mundane to the totally bizarre, and this seems to vary enormously from person to person.
The highest percentage of those surveyed say they dream abstract, surreal and imaginative dreams. The North East is the top region for abstract dreams (33%), while Greater London sits at the bottom (14%).
Next up are anxiety-induced dreams, which can be a common reaction to stressful and worrying real-life experiences. People in the West Midlands suffer the most with anxiety-related dreams (22%), while Northern Ireland seems to be the best at avoiding these (8%). This is particularly interesting as participants from the West Midlands did not state anxiety and uncertainty as one of the key reasons for keeping them awake at night.
Young respondents aged 18-24 are the most likely to say the sentiments behind their dreams are negative, and this is also the age group with the highest proportion saying their dreams are anger induced (17%).
People living in the West Midlands (19%), Northern Ireland and Greater London (both 18%) are the most likely to dream about their family/children, while people in Northern Ireland (20%), the North East (20%) and the South East (19%) are the most likely to dream about love and relationships.
It seems that the nation’s sleeping habits are complex, but everyone has their own ways of finding a well-rested night’s sleep.
Respondents were asked to share details of their sleep patterns now (22nd April 2020) and three months ago (22nd January 2020). To determine the UK’s most well-rested regions, we looked at the regions that say they are getting enough sleep at night and are waking up feeling refreshed and recuperated in the morning.
Other sources included in this research include: