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e-release for: The Sleep Council

For further press information call Jessica Alexander or Jan Turner
on 01756 791089 or email

Embargoed: 00.01hrs Friday March 7 2008


Sex drives are being swapped for hard drives as a quarter of British couples admit to sleeping separately on a regular basis.

According to the results of a survey by The Sleep Council for National Bed Month (March), the British bed is in danger of becoming more of a communications hub than a place for sleep as eight out of 10 people boot up a variety of hi-tech gadgets before bedtime.

The survey, to discover how The Great British Bedtime is changing, found a glass of water and separate beds are replacing cocoa and cuddles at bedtime.

After cleaning their teeth with an electric toothbrush and setting the alarm on their Blackberry or mobile (22%), the average adult slips, exhausted, into bed between 10 and 11pm. 40% rarely or sometimes go to bed at the same time as their partner while one in four couples admit to always or regularly sleeping separately.

The bed itself is now more likely to be a bedstead (40%) than a divan (39%) with mattresses featuring such luxuries or modern innovations as pocket springs (30%) memory foam (11%), no-turn (10%) and anti-allergy options (6%). And before people lie down, charging up electrical appliances (22%) has definitely taken over from prayers (10%) as part of our bedtime routine.

“Busy night time routines are driving couples’ bedtimes and even their bedrooms apart,” says Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council, “Nine per cent of those questioned admitted to always sleeping separately from their partner.”

Hardly surprising when you discover what people do in bed. One in three of us makes phone calls and sends or receives text or emails in bed. A further one in five keeps busy checking up on social networking sites such as Facebook, playing a computer game or listening to MP3 players.

Whether separately or together, bedtime for many (40%) on workday nights is between 10 and 11pm although for one in eight shattered souls 9pm is nearer the mark. 25 – 34-year-olds are the most likely to fall into this category. 56% of that age group describe themselves as usually very tired or shattered when they go to bed.

It may explain why that age group, more than any other (38% as opposed to the average 32%) is most likely to own a bed less than five years old. “If people aren’t taking any notice of advice to keep the bedroom as a sanctuary of quiet and rest, then they at least understand that a decent, regularly replaced bed equals a decent night’s sleep,” said Jessica.

Advice on what NOT to drink at bedtime often goes unheeded too. While water – tap, bottled or sparkling – is the single most popular drink among a third of those questioned, many others admitted to taking coffee (9%), alcohol (9%) or sugary drinks to bed. Traditional hot chocolate and milky drinks remain popular but another sign of the times is the emergence of smoothies and fresh juices as nightcaps.

Said Jessica: “Our survey results provide a pretty accurate snapshot of our lives today. It also shows more than half of us (52%) regularly feel so tired at work that we would like to go home, with one in eight people feeling that way three or four times a week.”

But some things about The Great British Bedtime don’t change: the eponymous British ‘Jim Jams’ remain the most popular bedtime apparel with women (37%) outnumbering men (21%) in wearing them. Men are almost twice as likely as women (40% as opposed to 22%) to wear nothing at all. And a minority 1% of men questioned claim to wear a nightie!

The Great British Bedtime survey was conducted online by between February 27 and March 3 2008. 1,408 people took part.


Note to Editors: Regional variations follow


- People in Scotland are more likely than any other (79% as opposed to 71% national average) to read a book or magazine in bed
- People in the North East and South East (both 49%, average 43%) watch most television in bed
- People in London (43%, average 28%) listen to the radio more than those in any other region
- People in East Anglia are the most likely (32%, average 26%) to make phone calls/ or send/receive texts messages
- People in the South East most (27%, average 22%) use the alarm facility on their Blackberry or mobile
- People in the North West are more likely than others (16%, average 10%) to listen to an MP3 player in bed
- People in Yorkshire use their Blackberry/laptop to send/receive emails more than those in other areas (14%, average 8%)
- People in Northern Ireland are by far the biggest group of people questioned to say prayers at bedtime (39%, national average 10%)
- People in Scotland are more likely than others (11%, average 7%) to go to bed after 1am on a workday evening
- People in Yorkshire are the most likely (5%, average 1%) to go to bed before 9pm on a workday evening
- People from the North East are more likely to drink a fresh juice at bedtime (9%, average 5%) while Smoothies are most drunk at bedtime among Londoners (10%, average 2%). Nearly a third of people in Northern Ireland (31%, average 22%) don’t drink anything at all at bedtime
- Twice as many people in Northern Ireland as those in other areas (39%, average 20%) said they rarely went to bed at the same as their partners
- More people in Wales than anywhere else admit to always sleeping separately from their partners (13%, average 9%)
- People in East Anglia are more likely than others to sleep on a bed more than five years old (only 25% said they had a bed under that age, against an average of 32% of those questioned)
- People in the South East are more likely to have a bed containing pocket springs than those in other areas (38%, average 30%); those in the Midlands are more likely than any others (47%, average 39%) to sleep on a divan bed
- People in London are more likely than others to be either very tired at bedtime (48%, average 37%) while those in the North East are the most likely to say they are exhausted at bedtime (12%, average 9%)
- People in the North East and London (both 15%, average 13%) say that on three or four occasions each week they get so tired at work they would like to go home
- People in the South East are more likely than any others (36%, average 28%) to go to bed wearing nothing but a smile!


The Sleep Council is a generic body that aims to:
• Raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing.
• Provide helpful advice and tips on how to improve sleep quality.
• Provide helpful advice on choosing the right bed for optimum sleeping comfort.
The Sleep Council is funded by the National Bed Federation, the trade association for British bed manufacturers.
The Sleep Council, High Corn Mill, Chapel Hill, Skipton, BD23 1NL
Tel: 01756 791089. Web.

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