UK healthcare charity Nuffield Health has published its 2023 ‘Healthier Nation Index’; 8,000 UK adults were surveyed.
The index has highlighted that poor sleep is a major issue in the country. On average, Brits are only getting 5.91 hours of sleep per night – down from 6.11 in 2022 and 6.19 in 2021.
Only 36 per cent of respondents said their sleep was ‘good’, with the average healthy adult needing between 7.5–8.5 hours per night.
The remaining 64 per cent felt they don’t get good quality sleep – the right balance of deep, slow-wave sleep and shallow, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Concerningly, 11 per cent said they only get between two and four hours of sleep per night, and 36 per cent only sleep between four and six hours every night.
Only eight per cent get more than the recommended eight hours per night.
Employee sleep patterns
The study reveals those in the 45–54-year age bracket claim to have the worst sleep, with only 29 per cent saying theirs is ‘good’ and with most averaging only 5.72 hours a night.
The industries with the worst sleep and least likely to rate theirs as ‘good’ are retail (32 per cent) and HR (34 per cent).
Industries that rated their sleep as the best are IT (48 per cent) and finance (44 per cent) – noticeably for both industries the statistics are still under half. The industries whose mental health was most affected by poor sleep include architecture, engineering and building (56 per cent), education (55 per cent), retail (53 per cent) and healthcare (54 per cent).
The results suggest poor sleep quality reduces employee productivity. Thirty-seven per cent said they were less productive after a poor night’s sleep. It also negatively impacts mental health, especially in women. Fifty-five per cent said poor sleep had a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing, compared to just 41 per cent of men.
In terms of age, it was 35–44-year-olds’ emotional wellbeing that was most affected by poor sleep. Fifty-seven per cent said not getting enough sleep was having a negative impact on their mental health.
The study also suggests there is a link between sleep and financial wellbeing. As salary increases, so does the percentage of those who rate their sleep as ‘good’.
However, there is a drop in one of the salary brackets. Forty per cent of those earning between £45–55,000 reported their sleep as good, but this rating decreased to 36 per cent for those earning in the £55–65,000 salary bracket, before increasing again.
Luke Cousins, Physiology Regional Lead, at Nuffield Health said: “There still exists a vital need for employers to be more attuned to the sleep needs of their staff and the potential role it has in improving employee physical and emotional wellbeing if businesses prioritise its importance.
“Companies should collaboratively engage with their healthcare partners to bolster sleep education, and the relevant employee benefits needed to support those struggling.”