Sleep patterns and health: analysis of the Understanding Society dataset

Publication type

Report

Authors

Matt Barnes, Christos Byron and Kelsey Beninger

Publication date

Summary

Aim
To investigate the relationship between sleep and health.
Findings
Most of us sleep between seven and nine hours a night
Over half (56%) of people in the UK sleep between seven and nine hours.About a third (35%) sleep less than seven hours a night.
One in 10 (10%) sleep more than nine hours.One in five (22%) people rate the quality of their sleep as bad.
Sleeping well is associated with many aspects of our well-being
How much sleep we get is associated with our:
mental/emotional states: two in three (65%) adults who sleep seven
hours a day or more feel calm and peaceful, compared to only half (50%)
of those who sleep for less than seven hours.energy levels: only around four in 10 (39%) of those who sleep less
feel they have energy all or most the time, compared to more than half
(53%) of those who sleep between seven and nine hours.satisfaction with health: three-quarters (75%) of people getting
seven to nine hours sleep each night were satisfied with their health
most of the time, compared to just six in ten (60%) for those sleeping
less than seven hours a night.
Most of us get to sleep quickly
Only one in ten people (10%) struggle to fall asleep within 30 minutes most nights.
Our sleeping patterns are likely to change as we grow older
Adults over pension age are more likely to report sleeping less than
seven hours a day and more likely to wake more frequently than younger
adults.
Evidence of links with general health
People who sleep less than seven hours a day are more likely to have a
low score on all of the measures in the General Health Questionnaire
(GHQ) than those who sleep more.
For example, one in three (33%) of those who sleep less felt
constantly under strain, compared to about one in five (19%) of those
who sleep seven to nine hours a day.
Methodology
Secondary analysis of the Understanding Society dataset, a
longitudinal household study that is repeated annually with 40,000
households across the United Kingdom.

Subjects

Well Being and Health

Links

Sign up to our newsletter