One in four Brits say the cost of living crisis is causing sleepless nights

Monday 31st October 2022

  • Half (44%) of Brits suffer from sleepless nights as a result of anxiety, with a quarter (26%) of the population, some 17million people pointing to the cost of living crisis as the top cause
  • Just one in 10 (9%) people are getting a full week of quality sleep, with another one in 10 (9%) saying they can’t manage a single night undisturbed
  • Novuna Consumer Finance shines a light on the sleep habits of the nation, and offers tips for getting a better night sleep this winter.

31 October 2022 – One in four (26%) Brits are so racked with worry about the cost of living crisis that it’s costing them a good night’s sleep, according to new research from Novuna Consumer Finance. The study into the nation’s sleeping habits, found that the economic climate, and in particular fears about family finances, were front of mind for 17.5million1 people struggling to get a good night’s kip, and the top reason why almost half (44%) of the population are kept up by bed-bound anxiety.

While millions will relate to the sleep depriving properties of a racing mind, it doesn’t compare to the number one cause of sleep disruption: a weak bladder, with half (49%) of the UK having to wake up in the early hours to go to the toilet. Meanwhile, a third (36%) of Brits blame the sleep disruptions on family members, such as snoring (22%) or fidgety (16%) partners, pets (16%), or children (11%).

In fact just one in 10 (9%) people tucking themselves in can rest in the knowledge that they’ll get a full week of good sleep, with the same amount (9%) saying they fail to get a single full night’s rest in the typical week. Four in 10 (42%) say they usually get at least four nights of quality sleep in the average week.

The consequences of sleepless nights

The average adult spends 26 years of their life in bed2, and having good sleeping habits is the basis for good health, from boosting creativity to enhancing long-term memory. The National Sleep Foundation advises that healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night2, but millions of people are so disturbed they have to up-duvet and find somewhere else to shut their eyes.

Of those who suffer from disrupted sleep, almost half (45%) will get out of bed and end up sleeping somewhere else in their home at least once a week, with one in five (18%) doing so more than four nights a week. Not everyone has the luxury of an alternative bed, with one in four (28%) ‘sleepless-walkers’ migrating to the sofa, compared to one in six (17%) that are able to relocate to a spare bedroom. It’s a slightly different story for parents, who are just as likely (14%) to be found snoozing in a child’s bedroom, with one in ten (8%) disrupted parents saying they will even end up sleeping on the floor next to their child’s bed.

Brian Flesk, Head of Retail at Novuna Consumer Finance comments: “Quality sleep is so important for health, happiness and well-being, that it really is the most valuable commodity out there, but for those that say it can’t be bought, our research  suggests it can. We are all affected negatively by the cost of living crisis in one way or another, but it’s shocking to hear that 17million people are so worried they are losing sleep over it.

“Dealing with the root cause is always the best remedy, but there are a number of steps people can take to increase their chances of a good night’s sleep.”

  1. Disconnect from electronic devices at least half-hour before bed.
  2. Adopt a relaxing pre-bed routine to tell your body it’s bedtime, and try to stick to it.
  3. Choose a supportive and comfortable mattress, with quality pillows and bedding.
  4. Cut out light and sound pollution, and maintain a relaxing temperature and aroma.

Health impacts as darker nights roll in   

Our research also looked at the impact on health with one in five (18%) people in the UK say that their sleep is disrupted by an uncomfortable pillow or mattress; a surprisingly high number considering how quick the fix could be. New mattresses are far more comfortable than those purchased just six years ago3, with back pain sufferers reporting a 63% improvement after sleeping on a new mattress4, and yet only half (52%) of adults in the UK will buy a new mattress (or bed and mattress) for their personal use within the recommended 10 year timeframe, with 36% waiting 11 or more years to do so, and 3% admitting that that they never have.

Brian Flesk added: “As we head into the winter months, with longer nights and darker mornings, it may be a good time to upgrade your mattress and bed. Most mattresses come with a recommended warranty on them, so you can easily see when you should change your them, but let your back do the talking. We work with a range of bed retailers who can help you find the perfect place to rest, and with many retail finance options available to help spread the cost over a number of months, there are affordable solutions for those worried about the price tag.”

Notes to Editors

Research was conducted by Ipsos Mori for Novuna Consumer Finance. 1,000 UK adults aged between 16 and 75 were interviewed between the 14th and 19th of October 2022.

1 26% of the British adult population (67.5million people) say that they are losing sleep due to anxiety caused by the cost of living crisis. 67,500,000 x 0.26 = 17,550,000

2 Research from The Sleep Foundation, published 29th August 2022 - How much sleep do we really need?

3 Research from The Furniture Industry Association, published in July 2020 – ‘Perceived comfort’ is latest focus for the Research Association

4 Research from Journal of Applied Ergonomics, published in Body of Life, March 2014 – Sleeping with Lower Back Pain