With one in three of people in the UK experiencing problems with sleep, new research today reveals that each full-time employee on average loses eight and a half work days every year due to poor sleep.

While a significant proportion of the UK suffers from poor sleep at any one time in their lives, research reveals that the vast majority of these individuals do not seek remedies for their conditions. It found that:

  • Seventy four percent of respondents in full-time employment suffer from “non-restorative sleep,” defined as problems with sleep quality in the absence of normal sleep pattern disruptions.
  • Poor sleepers -- those who reported their sleep quality as less than “Average” -- missed 14.6 days of work per year, almost twice as many as the average employee.
  • Three-fifths (60%) of these same respondents did not consult their doctors about poor sleep.
To mark the shortest day of the year and a seasonal shift in sleep quality, digital medicine company Big Health is releasing preliminary information from the first World Sleep Survey that details the effects of sleep on work performance. Big Health are the creators of the clinically-proven sleep improvement app Sleepio, which teaches cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that help people overcome insomnia.

British respondents also said that poor sleep negatively impacted many different parts of their everyday living:

  • Professionally, concentration (at 46%), ability to complete work (38%) and staying awake during the day (27%) were cited as the three top issues affecting workplace productivity.
  • Personally, respondents said that energy levels (60%), mood (48%), relationships with other people (35%) and physical health (28%) were the areas most impacted by their poor sleep.
  • One out of five respondents also reported that they had fallen asleep while driving in the last year.
“As we enter the winter months, it’s important that we recognize the widespread effects poor sleep has on our lives,” said Colin Espie, co-founder of Big Health and professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford. “Sleep affects us on various levels - mentally, emotionally and physically - so when we have had no or insufficient sleep, we feel the consequences. Physically we will feel lethargic and sleepy, mentally we become slowed down with poorer concentration and memory, and emotionally we may become irritable and rather down, with bursts of hyperactivity.”

“Poor sleep is a huge productivity killer which has been ignored for too long” said Peter Hames, CEO and co-founder of Big Health. “But employers are now starting to wake up to sleep - we’re working with some of the world’s leading companies to help them improve the sleep of their workforces with Sleepio, and seeing massive improvements in effectiveness and general health as a result.”