The importance of getting restful, restorative sleep is vital in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, however the stress associated with modern life in the UK means that many of us do not get the amount, or quality, of sleep we need. According to research, most healthy adults usually need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, however new research has shown that only 11% of Brits regularly sleep soundly through the night.

With World Sleep Day on March 13th, we at The French Bedroom Company have commissioned a survey to uncover factors that influence our sleeping habits, including the type of mattress we sleep on, the amount of tea that we drink during the day and even the value of our houses. 

Sleep Vs Bedding

First and foremost, our results show that the type of mattress, duvet, pillows and bed linen that you have can make a significant difference in the amount of sleep you get. Memory foam and pocket spring mattresses are more commonly associated with longer and more restful sleep, with 58% of people with these types of mattresses reporting that they get at least seven hours of sleep on an average weeknight. 

Of the most common mattress types used in the UK, coil or open spring mattresses are most associated with getting fewer than six hours sleep. People who sleep on these types of mattresses are also more likely to report feeling tired when they wake up, as well as in the afternoons, suggesting they do not provide as restful sleep as pocket spring or memory foam mattresses do. 

Data also reveals that feather and down duvets are more strongly associated with a longer night’s sleep. Sixty one percent of people with feather and down duvets reported that they get more than seven hours of sleep a night, compared with just 55% of people with synthetic duvets. People with synthetic duvets are also 12% more likely to wake up frequently during the night than people with feather and down duvets. This may be as a result of overheating, as synthetic fillings can’t regulate body heat in the same way that natural ones do. 

Pillow choices garnered similar results too, with feather and down pillows reigning supreme. Synthetic pillows do not offer the same level of neck support as those made of other fabrics; an argument that is supported by those with feather and down pillows who are 66% more likely not to report sleeping difficulties or daytime tiredness than individuals with synthetic pillows.

Another contributing factor to a good night’s sleep is your bed linen. Sixty five percent of people who own cotton blend bed linen reported getting at least seven hours of sleep on an average weeknight, while also being less likely to report any sleeping difficulties or daytime tiredness. Of the most common bed linen types used by people in the UK, polyester was most frequently associated with getting fewer than four hours of sleep a night. Again, this may be influenced by polyester offering poor body temperature regulation during the night.   

It would therefore seem that spending more on a mattress and bedding is money well spent; although pocket spring mattresses and feather bedding are more expensive than their coil spring or synthetic counterparts, they are much more likely to result in you getting a longer and more restful sleep. 

Creative Director and Founder of The French Bedroom Company, Georgia Metcalfe, agrees. She said: These statistics prove that a good mattress is more than just a good feeling! A pocket sprung mattress will offer you the best form of lumber support, with springs in little pockets that work independently to support your body as you sleep, making you feel refreshed and ready for what the day throws at you.

“We also sweat more during the night than the day. Unlike polyester pillows and bed linen, cotton sheets and feather pillows actually allow your skin to breathe during the night, aiding uninterrupted sleep, and reducing that afternoon slump.

“The benefits of good sleep can’t be underestimated; each week we spend more time on our mattress than we do on our sofa, in our kitchen or even in the office, so the importance (and therefore spend) should ideally be correlated with the hours of use.”

Sleep Vs Location

The average amount of sleep that people residing in the UK get each weeknight is 6.66 hours. People in London and the West Midlands get the most sleep of anyone in the country, at an average of 6.78 hours per weeknight, with over 60% of people living in these areas getting more than seven hours per night. On the other hand, the North East gets the least amount of sleep (6.42 hours per weeknight) with an astonishing 50% of people saying that they have trouble falling asleep, and 53% saying that they wake frequently during the night. Only 6% of people in the North East say they regularly sleep well, contrasting with 15% of people in the South West who report no sleeping problems.

Overall, it seems that people in the south of England tend to get slightly more sleep on average compared to those in the north, with the south getting 6.71 hours while the North only gets 6.51. 

Sleep Vs House Prices

Our survey findings also show a correlation between the average house price in each region and the amount of sleep people in these areas state they get. Typically, the higher the average house price, the more sleep people get. For example, in London where people get the most amount of sleep, the average house price is £483,922. On the other end of this scale, the most sleep deprived region of the UK is the North East where the average house price is £130,977. 

A likely cause of sleep deprivation in the North East is the relative poverty of the region. Stressful situations such as low socio-economic status and chronic work overload has been associated with deficit in sleep duration, as referenced in the medical article Interactions Between Sleep, Stress, and Metabolism.

Sleep Vs Age and Gender

Age is also a contributing factor to the amount of sleep we get. Our results show that the younger you are, the more difficult you find it to fall asleep at bedtime, with 40% of people aged between 18 and 24 saying that they often struggle to fall asleep quickly. This number declines steadily with age, with only a third of people aged 55+ saying the same thing; a possible cause possibly evening screen use which likely reduces the older you are. Reporting feeling tired when you wake up also dramatically reduces with age, suggesting that the older you get, the less sleep you need.

On the other hand, sleeping soundly through the night does not get easier with age, as increased reporting of frequently waking up during the night and struggling to get back to sleep in the higher age brackets is also evident.

As well as age, there were also multiple differences between genders when it came to how well people slept, and what mattresses, pillows and duvets they slept on. Women for example, have more sleep trouble than men, with 40% of women surveyed saying they often struggle to fall asleep quickly (compared to only 32% of men). Forty five percent of women also stated that they often felt tired in the afternoons, a problem that only 35% of men reported.

Men, on the other hand, were found to more likely own an ‘unusual’ mattress, for example one made of gel, latex or water than women. Male respondents were also much more likely to report having either no mattress, duevt, pillows or bed linen than the opposite sex. 

Sleep Vs Tea

The amount of tea you drink throughout the day also has an effect on how much you sleep at night. Surprisingly, the more tea you consume, the longer you sleep at night. People in Northern Ireland drink an average of 7.9 cups of tea and sleep for around 6.76 hours, compared to those in the south west who drink 4.2 cups of tea a day and only sleep for an average of 6.55 hours per night.

Sleep Vs Weather

The weather also affects the amount of sleep that we get. Our results found a small inverse correlation between annual rainfall and annual sunshine hours, and average hours of weeknight sleep. These results show that people who live in wetter parts of the UK get slightly less sleep than those in drier places, as well as suggesting that those in areas with more hours of sunlight get slightly less sleep than people who in areas with less.

If you find yourself feeling tired during the day or getting less than the recommended average hours of sleep, why not try upgrading your mattress? Our range of luxury bedding is also guaranteed to aid you in getting the good night’s sleep you deserve.

To view all results, graphs and tables, and to see a full list of data sources, download The Great British Sleep Survey 2020.