A survey recently undertaken by Anxiety UK, the UK’s leading anxiety charity, has revealed the extent of the country’s poor sleeping patterns.
The survey of Anxiety UK members and supporters generated more than 1200 responses with 62.7% (770) reporting they are currently experiencing poor sleep while 34.4% (423) said they were not now but had in the past. Only 2.9% (36) said they had never experienced poor sleep.
Almost half of those surveyed, 44% (541), felt their sleep had worsened because of Covid-19; while a significant proportion, 91.4%, said they had felt nervous, on edge or anxious at for several days or longer over the last two weeks.
Further analysis of the survey showed that almost a third, 29.6% (364), had less than the recommended minimum six hours sleep a night and for some this is a long standing issue with over 11% reporting sleeping problems for more than 11 years.
When asked about the causes of their poor sleep 81.8% (1005) said it was down to general anxiety, 62% (762) said worry about future events while stress at work was the reason cited by 52.1% (640), highlighting once again the direct link between stress, anxiety and poor sleep.
Anxiety UK CEO Nicky Lidbetter said: “The results of this survey highlight not only the impact of Covid-19 on the nation’s sleeping habits, but also the bidirectional relationship between sleep and anxiety.”
More than 1000 respondents said they felt drained due to lack of sleep, 81.5%, while 69.7% (856) felt irritable and 55.7% (684) felt emotional. Exercise (60.9% / 749), reading before bed (59.5% / 731) and reducing caffeine (58.7% / 722) were the three most common strategies used by people to help improve their sleep.
Finally, only 31% (388) had tried any form of sleep medication however, 82% (1015) said they would try a non-medication solution if available.