The Sleep Council library-pics-199x300 Key facts & figures  Over the years at The Sleep Council, we have amassed quite a library of facts and figures about sleep and beds and we continue to keep an eye out for new research or surveys which adds to our understanding. Below is just a taster of some key stats from that library – we’ve got lots more, with topics ranging from sleep facts related to food and drink or exercise and sleep; to kids and teens, travel, work, gadgets, health & beauty and celebs. So if you can’t see what you are looking for please contact and tell us what sort of thing you’re after. We’ll do what we can to help.

• Nearly half of us are getting just six hours sleep or less a night. And an alarming four out of five people complain of disturbed or inadequate – or ‘toxic’ – sleep. (Sleep Council ‘Toxic Sleep’ survey, January 2011)

• Ergonomic studies have shown that couples sleep better in a bigger bed. Before trials only 15% said they would buy a larger than standard bed while afterwards, 50% said they would. (Ergonomic Pilot Study of Bed Size and Sleep Quality by ICE Ergonomics, February 1995)

• People who complained that their old bed was uncomfortable slept nearly one hour less than those who were not unhappy with their old bed – a degree of sleep loss which could amount to a long-term health hazard. (Sleep Council and Dr Chris Idzikowski two-year research project 1999-2001)

• A bed may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from its ‘as new’ state after 10 years. It also showed that beds as little as six years old could offer significantly less support and comfort than a new one, thanks to wear and tear not just from body weight and movement but also sweat and debris such as skin, scales, hair etc. (Research by the Furniture Industry Research Association, 2011)

• Instead of hitting the coffee take a 20 minute nap. A short kip can give you as much energy as two cups of strong coffee, but the effects are longer lasting. Twenty minutes is sufficient to turn off the nervous system and recharge the whole body – 30 minutes, however, is long enough to put you in a deep sleep and leave you feeling groggy when you wake. (Gregg Jacobs, Sleep Disorders Centre at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; March 2003).

• A good night’s sleep could prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The sleep hormone, melatonin, works by breaking down the body’s active and energetic hormones which slows brain activity and aids sleep but it is also believed that the antioxidant abilities could help reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The hormone, made by the pineal gland in the brain, can only be produced in darkness (Washington University School of Medicine 2012)

• Adding regular moderate exercise to a daily routine for 16 weeks showed middle-aged to older people could fall asleep about 15 minutes earlier and sleep roughly 45 minutes longer. (Stanford University, February 2011)

• Lack of sleep may fuel your junk food habit. It hinders the ability to make smart choices about food by causing changes to the way our brains function in areas of impulse control and decision making. (University of California Berkeley, 2012)

• Sleeping too much or too little can be a contributing factor towards getting diabetes. Studies from the University of Laval in Quebec show that people who had less than 7 hours sleep or more than 8 had two and a half times the risk of type 2 diabetes or glucose intolerance. (2009) This was backed up with research that showed people who get five or less hours of sleep a night are five times more likely to contract diabetes than those who get over seven. (Asahikawa University and Hokkaido University, 2012)

• Youngsters are not getting enough sleep during the night before a school day with nearly one in three (30%) achieving just four to seven hours’ sleep instead of the recommended eight to nine hours for this age group.* And almost a quarter (23%) admit they fall asleep watching TV/listening to music or with other machinery still running more than once a week. (Sleep Council Junk Sleep study on 1,000 12-16year olds, 2007)

• We need at least six hours of sleep a night to recharge your batteries and learn new things the next day scientists have claimed. Light, dreamless sleep which can take up half the night allows our brain to recharge our learning capacity. (Researchers at University of California, March 2011)

• You may get a better night’s sleep from buying a new bed than popping a sleeping pill. UK respondents were also outnumbered by nearly three to one in their use of sleeping pills with just 7% of those taking part using them as opposed to 18% of their overseas counterparts. (Sleep Council and Dr Chris Idzikowski two-year research project 1999-2001)

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