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Press releases


26th Mar 2008

Sleepless Brits turn to counting calories, shoes and sexual conquests as humble sheep are no longer a dyed in the wool cure for insomnia

The age-old sleepinducing practice of counting sheep has been put to bed by modern Britons, according to a new report released today by Travelodge. Findings reveal women are now counting their shoe or handbag collections and men, their sexual conquests in a bid to cure insomnia.

The study of 2,250 Brits has exposed the latest methods and rituals practiced by Britons in a bid to combat sleeplessness. Findings have revealed that 87% of adults said that sheep no longer sends them out for the count. Instead Britons are dreaming up imaginative counting techniques and fantasies to help them nod off.

Key findings revealed:

- Women take their obsession with shoes and handbags literally to bed with them, with one in twenty females regularly totting up their Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton collection to ease them into slumber

- For a more practical approach one in three women (30%) can't help themselves from counting the tasks on their to-do lists when their heads hit the pillow.

- One in ten women go off to sleep guiltily counting the calories they've consumed in naughty treats such as cakes, chocolate and alcohol during the day

- Men's minds are more mercenary as they hit the sack, with a quarter (22%) mentally counting their money at bedtime and one in ten counting the notches on their bedposts and reliving past conquests

- A quarter of Brits long for escapism as they hit the sack and dream up elaborate plans for spending a lottery win, while one in seven fantasise about being famous to help them nod off.

Leigh McCarron, Sleep Director at Travelodge, said: "Counting white sheep jumping over a fence is a mental exercise that dates back to 1854. The idea was to induce boredom while occupying the mind with something simple, repetitive and rhythmic, all of which are known to help humans sleep. Today the modern Briton clearly has other things on their mind but the theory remains the same."

Listed below are the top five accumulators sending British men and women out for the count:

Women Men

1. Tasks to do the next day 1. Money
2. Days until their next holiday 2. Past sexual conquests
3. Shoes / handbags 3. Goals scored by their football team
4. Calories 4. Celebrity pin ups
5. Items on their shopping list 5. Song lyrics

Psychologist, Corinne Sweet commented: "This research shows we are a nation obsessed with security, possessions, weight, time management and feeling good. Interestingly it's women who are still multitasking in bed while men turn to their traditional twin obsessions of sport and sex to wind their minds down. Counting sheep, a simple rural mind game, obviously doesn't do the trick in our overstressed, complicated urban lives today."

However, Britons' attempts to wind down pale into insignificance compared to some of the methods used by famous figures to combat insomnia - John Travolta reportedly learned to play the violin to calm his nerves before bed, while Groucho Marx reportedly called strangers in the middle of the night to shout insults and vent his frustration. Meanwhile Hollywood actress Winona Ryder calls insomniac buddy Al Pacino when she can't sleep who also suffers from insomnia.


Notes to editors:

The research was conducted by OnePoll in March 2008, among 2,250 Britons

The research also revealed, before we hit the sack we spend on average 27 minutes each night performing a series of rituals and checks before we feel contented and secure in slipping under the sheets. Findings revealed paranoid Brits are obsessed with checking doors, windows and electrical switches. In addition to suffering a touch of OCD in having to remake the bed, tidy the bedroom and write a list of worries before they can settle into bed.

Listed below are the top ten rituals exercised daily by Britons before bedtime:

1. Checking all the locks (68%)
2. Touring the house to turn off all electrical switches (42%)
3. Checking all the taps in the house are turned off (18%)
4. Tidying up the bedroom so it is completely uncluttered (13%)
5. Saying a prayer (10%)
6. Remaking the bed before getting in it (9%)
7. Hiding keys and money (8%)
8. Making a list of worries and tasks (8%)
9. Putting the alarm clock on the opposite side of the room (7%)
10. Meditating (7%)

For further information, please contact:

Shakila Ahmed


T: 01844 35 8638

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