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STRESSTEMBER: THE WORRY STARTS HERE

By sleepcounciladmin on August 29, 2014

September could be the start of the New Stress Year.

As schools re-start and work re-boots, The Sleep Council has found that ‘Stresstember’ not only marks the return to routine – but pressure levels too.

Its latest research shows millions of people are caught in a vicious cycle of stress and sleepless nights with September identified by health professionals as being a stressful month for many.

Said Neil Shah, director of The Stress Management Society which is supporting The Sleep Council campaign to highlight the problem of stress and sleep: “In our experience September is the beginning of the Stress Calendar: the kids are back at school, the summer holidays are officially over, the weather is starting to change and we have to wait until Christmas for the next public holiday.”

The study saw almost 90% of people admit to suffering from some form of stress in their lives, with almost two out of five saying they are regularly, frequently or constantly stressed.

Not surprisingly three quarters say they have problems sleeping while stressed, with the catch 22 that almost a third say when they can’t sleep they get stressed, while just over a quarter say the best way to relieve stress is to have a good night’s sleep.

The Stresstember survey found that, fresh from the long summer break, the nation’s stress levels quickly reach 5.3% as the academic and working world gets back in to gear. Students are significantly more likely to feel under pressure with 16% of those polled in the 16-24-year-old age group saying they found September stressful. And women (6%) are more likely than men (4%) to feel the ‘Stresstember Strain’.

By the end of October when the clocks go back and darker nights fall, stress levels affect 6.5% of us. They more than double to 14% in the hectic run-up to Christmas – but actually peak at 15% during the gloomy winter months. December is deemed to be the single most stressful month (by 9% of respondents).

Even holidays can prove a tense time of year with 8% of those questioned admitting to feeling stressed by everything there is to do ahead of going away.

“There are clearly peaks and troughs in our stress levels throughout the calendar year,” said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council, “and for many this manifests itself in an inability to sleep well.”

While 72% of those questioned blamed stress for sleeping problems, other reasons included feeling under the weather (46%) and sleeping in a different bed (31%). The younger generations appear to be creatures of habit, with almost half (46%) of 16-24 year olds having trouble sleeping when they aren’t in their own beds.

Said Lisa: “Given nearly a third of people said that sleeping in a different bed can lead to trouble sleeping or disturbed sleep, there is clearly a strong link between the bed we sleep in and a good night’s sleep. Sleeping in a different bed will often validate the comfort of our own bed – or prove it’s time for a new one!”

The survey also found that more than 70% of us claim to have suffered with sleep disorders such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome and nightmares. Over a quarter of us find a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed helps to relieve stress, with losing ourselves in an interest or hobby, reading and watching TV also coming out top in ways to combat stress.

REGIONAL ROUNDUP

National

72% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 27% of people say they are a good sleeper

39% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

26% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

71% have suffered from a sleep disorder

East

68% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 25% of people say they are a good sleeper

36% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

32% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress (UK Highest)

73% have suffered from a sleep disorder

London

74% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 26% of people say they are a good sleeper

42% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

27% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

71% have suffered from a sleep disorder

Midlands

75% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 25% of people say they are a good sleeper

42% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

21% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

72% have suffered from a sleep disorder

North East

69% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 21% of people say they are a good sleeper (UK lowest)

44% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

23% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

83% have suffered from a sleep disorder (UK Highest)

North West

72% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 26% of people say they are a good sleeper

41% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

18% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress (UK Lowest)

65% have suffered from a sleep disorder (UK Lowest)

Northern Ireland

88% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed (UK Highest)

Only 27% of people say they are a good sleeper

46% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

27% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

76% have suffered from a sleep disorder

Scotland

72% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 32% of people say they are a good sleeper

32% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed (UK Lowest)

31% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

66% have suffered from a sleep disorder

South East

67% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed (UK Lowest)

Only 28% of people say they are a good sleeper

34% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

32% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress (UK highest)

67% have suffered from a sleep disorder

South West

74% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 34% of people say they are a good sleeper (UK Highest)

33% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

27% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

72% have suffered from a sleep disorder

Wales

73% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 23% of people say they are a good sleeper

48% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed (UK Highest)

18% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress (UK Lowest)

77% have suffered from a sleep disorder

Yorkshire

69% say they suffer sleep problems when stressed

Only 28% of people say they are a good sleeper

38% say they are regularly, frequently or always stressed

26% say a good night’s sleep helps relieve stress

67% have suffered from a sleep disorder

Note to Editors: The research for Sleep Council was carried out by Opinion Matters between: 25/07/2014 and 31/07/2014, Sample: 2,035 UK adults. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

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