Health & Diet Tips

Sleep Deprivation Rife in the UK

British workers are regularly falling short of the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, due to the stresses and strains of modern life.

A new report indicates that 97 per cent of British professionals are missing out, with company directors particularly vulnerable. The research from Travelodge indicates that company directors average 5.9 hours of sleep per night, which is more than 14 hours below the recommended amount during the course of a week.

Worryingly, eight per cent of Britain's company directors have just four hours sleep per night, which equates to a loss of 28 hours during the course of a single week. If extended over an entire career, these company directors are losing out on seven years of sleep. Famously, however, Margaret Thatcher is rumoured to have taken just four hours of sleep per night throughout her years in Downing Street.

Paramedics are similarly deprived of sleep, taking just six hours a night, which is comparable to tradesmen and hospitality workers. Police officers, factory workers, nurses and engineers are also failing to rest up, as are doctors and civil servants.

Wayne Munnelly, Travelodge's director of sleep, said: "A notable trend has emerged from the top ten list of sleep deprived professions. The majority work ever changing shifts which are notorious for confusing your body clock meaning disrupted sleep. In order to stay healthy and alert when working shifts it's important to be organised - plan time for sleep in advance."

At the other end of the scale, marketing executives typically enjoy eight and a half hours sleep per night - half an hour more than is recommended. Recruitment consultants are the most successful sleepers, enjoying eight hours on a nightly basis.

Students, cabin crew, chefs, secretaries and IT workers all enjoy more than seven hours of sleep each night. Accountants, call centre workers and the self-employed are slightly less at ease, sleeping between 6.8 hours and 6.9 hours per night.

Jessica Alexander, a spokesperson for the Sleep Council, has warned that the repercussions of sleep deprivation can be extremely serious.

"There are links between not getting enough sleep and obesity; there are links between not getting enough sleep and being prone to heart attacks, the list is quite large," she said.

"Sleep is obviously something we require to function. It's not really surprising that if you are depriving someone of the sleep they need, there can be a knock on effect on quite a lot of physical and mental conditions."

Ms Alexander has blamed the situation on today's "24-hour society", which forces people to fit too much into a day.

"It's a bit of a vicious circle because obviously stress can cause people to sleep badly and then the sleeping badly contributes to the stress, because you're not functioning properly if you're not sleeping well," she added.

Travelodge's Mr Munnelly has advised those struggling to sleep to avoid eating or consuming caffeine after 7pm. He also suggests a warm bath before bed, which can sufficiently relax the body.

© Adfero Ltd

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