New research, from men’s healthcare company Numan, suggests there is a sleep crisis among UK men with 71% of men surveyed struggling to sleep through the night.
The survey reveals that men are not sleeping for long enough and that, when they do fall asleep, the quality of their rest is low. The findings are cause for concern, due to the increasing body of research that indicates the critical role quality sleep plays in overall health and the prevention of illness. For example, research from the Centre of Disease Control in the USA finds that adults that sleep less than 7 hours a night are more likely to suffer from issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. They are also more susceptible to injuries and likely to struggle with low mood.
Men’s trouble with sleep
Numan’s research suggests that most adult men are regularly failing to sleep for long enough, with respondents to their survey sleeping for an average of 6 hours and 35 minutes per night - well short of the optimal 9 hours and even below the NHS’ recommended minimum of 7 hours.
Nearly half of men surveyed (46%) report that they find it difficult to fall asleep, while over one in ten men (13%) mention regular panic attacks and night sweats during the night. A further one in ten men (9%) report taking sleeping supplements or medication before they go to bed.
According to the survey, men approach bedtime in a range of ways, with over two fifths (43%) browsing content on their phone or messaging immediately before they go to bed.
The most popular bedtime routines:
- Browsing content on a mobile device (43%)
- Reading a book (29%)
- Having an alcoholic drink (12%)
- Exercise (9%)
- Taking sleeping supplements or medication (9%)
How struggles with sleep are impacting UK men
With so many men struggling with sleep, some have reported that it has had an impact on their day-to-day lives. Over a quarter (27%) noted that a lack of sleep has affected their social life and their ability to perform at work. A further quarter (25%) even reported that it has impacted their love life.
The survey findings have been released as Numan launches its new, comprehensive sleep program which comprises melatonin and promethazine medication on prescription. Numan will also be offering content based on CBTi (cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia) principles, and resources through its platform designed to help patients improve their sleep habits and behaviors. Non-prescriptive CBD in the form of gummies or capsules as options for people struggling with sleep will be available from mid-September.
Our research supports our view that a significant number of men in the UK are struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, and the numbers are a cause for concern. Sleep is vital as it is the way the body rests and restores itself. When men skip out on sleep it can increase their chances of developing illnesses like type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, and more. Men must take their sleep seriously. Anyone struggling with sleep can take action by changing their lifestyle, improving their bedtime routine by removing light stimulation, and, in certain cases, using supplements and medication - all of which are options for eligible patients as part of Numan’s new sleep treatment program. It may also be useful to consult a medical professional before starting a course of treatment.”
Dr Luke Pratsides, Head of Medical, Numan
Sleep hygiene tips: 5 rules for good sleep hygiene
1. Have a regular sleep schedule
This means you should go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. As basic as this sounds, it helps to set your body’s “internal clock” so that you can get the right amount of sleep each night.
2. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine works by blocking a chemical called adenosine in the brain. During the day, adenosine accumulates in your brain as a by-product of its normal activity. But at night, it’s believed this build-up is what encourages you to feel tired and go to sleep.
Since caffeine prevents the effects of adenosine, drinking it in the afternoon or evening can make you feel less tired when it’s time to go to bed. Therefore, it’s best to avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening, as it can remain in your system for around 10 hours even after you’ve stopped drinking it.
3. Make your room into a sleep haven and avoid scrolling on your phone late into the night
Slight adjustments to the setup of your room can set you up for vastly better sleep. Getting things to help you sleep such as a comfortable mattress, duvet, and pillows should make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep. Likewise, a sleeping mask or blackout blinds can help to block any sleep-disrupting light from spilling into your room, and earplugs can muffle jarring sounds so you can sleep undisturbed.
Keeping the lights off in your room before bed is also beneficial, as bright lights interfere with melatonin production. Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone” because it helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm (the internal process that regulates your sleep-wake cycle). It’s produced mainly in the pineal gland when it gets dark and plays a significant role in promoting sleep.
Light can stop melatonin production and disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle. Blue light in particular - the kind of light emitted by phone and laptop screens - is especially bad for sleep. It has been found to suppress melatonin for about twice as long as green light and shift circadian rhythms by twice as much, too, so try your best to avoid looking at your phone or other screens before you go to bed.
4. Consider taking a sleep supplement
To promote the best sleep possible, you may find it beneficial to take a sleep supplement as part of your sleep hygiene routine. Sleep aids such as Sleep Deep contain ingredients like Montmorency cherry (a natural source of the sleep hormone melatonin) to help you enjoy a more restful sleep. It’s also filled with 8 other key ingredients such as chamomile, which helps to support optimal relaxation.
Sleep Deep is best taken in the evening because this allows the ingredients to kick in before you enter into slumber. While you sleep, each ingredient is gently absorbed by your body to encourage a more peaceful night’s rest, allowing you to feel more revitalized in the morning.
Before taking any supplement, however, it’s best to talk to a clinician to make sure it’s safe for you to take and won’t interact with any medication you’re taking. Once you’ve got the all-clear, you’ll be one step closer to more blissful sleep.
5. Exercise for better sleep
Studies have shown that exercise helps people sleep better, regardless if they have sleep problems or not. What’s more, exercise improves sleep in those affected by sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea and insomnia.
Moderate-to-vigorous exercise is also able to increase sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, which may be beneficial for those who find it difficult to drift off at the end of the day.
For overweight and obese people who have obstructive sleep apnoea (a sleeping disorder where the walls of the throat relax and narrow, making it significantly harder to breathe), shedding a few pounds can help to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
It has been suggested that over 70% of people with obstructive sleep apnoea may also be overweight or obese. This condition can severely impact sleep, leaving you feeling very tired during the day. By improving the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea, weight loss may also be able to improve the quality and quantity of sleep you experience each night.