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The state of the nation’s sleep—sleep trends and outliers revealed

A new survey reveals what people in the United Kingdom really get up to when the lights go out.

  • Scots are four times more amorous than people in the South West
  • Millennials are bedroom multi-taskers, seeing more action than the previous generations but also more likely to send work emails from their bed
  • The most popular bedroom activity is watching TV

The State of the Nation’s Sleep survey was commissioned by the sleep brand Sid to understand the bedroom habits and sleeping patterns of the UK. The survey examined both the generation gap - comparing responses from Baby Boomers (those born before 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Millennials (those born after 1981)—and regional differences in what happens when the lights go out.

Results of the survey revealed a number of trends and several slumber-themed surprises.

The UK’s most loved-up region is Scotland, with 44 per cent of respondents saying that ‘getting amorous’ is one of their main bedroom activities. This compares to a national average of 25 per cent and is four times higher than the South West, where only 11 per cent of people say sex is a major factor in the bedroom. Wales comes out as the shiest region in the country. Only 15 per cent have sex with the lights on, compared to a national average of 30 per cent.

We are said to be a nation of pet lovers, and nowhere do people love their furry friends more than the North West. The poll found that 25 per cent of respondents like to go to sleep with a pet in the bedroom, compared to the national average of seven per cent.

It may come as no surprise that we are finding it harder and harder to switch off from work. Ten per cent of us say that checking emails is now a major bedroom activity. Millennials particularly feel the pressure, with 18 per cent—nearly double the national average - regularly checking in. The hardest working region appears to be the East, with 33 per cent of people saying they regularly check emails in bed.

According to the study, over half of us go to bed on a mattress over five years old.

Sid’s Chief Sleep Officer Darren Coffey says our changing bedroom habits are not surprising. “With an ‘always on culture’, it's no wonder mobile devices are so prevalent in our bedrooms. To ensure a good night's sleep, limit mobile activity in the last half hour before bed as the blue light can interfere with circadian rhythms, which regulate sleep.

“With half of us sleeping on a mattress over five years old, many could see a sleep improvement with a mattress update. Your old sprung mattress can contain millions of mites, and several ounces of skin, oil and sweat. In the past five years, advances in sleep technology mean a modern mattress offers a cooler, hygienic and more supportive sleep.”