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Press releases

UK DRAINED BY 29 BILLION 'SLEEP DEBT'

27th May 2010


The UK is not only facing a record budget deficit of 156 billion but the impact of a soaring 'sleep debt' of 29 billion hours - which has doubled since 2008 - according to a study released today.

The Travelodge 'Sleep Index', based on the sleep patterns of 6,000 adults, revealed the average Briton is getting just six hours and twenty one minutes sleep per night - well below the recommended sleep quota of eight hours. The research highlighted that on average adults are getting 51 minutes less sleep than in 2008, when the national 'sleep debt' stood at 14 billion hours.

The current sleep shortfall is estimated to be costing employers around 1 billion per year, as 8 million sick days are taken as result of a bad nights sleep compared to 3.4 million sick days in 2008.

More than half of those surveyed (56 per cent said) they feel like they have a bad hangover when they have not had enough sleep and (45 per cent) said it takes them a couple of days to recover.

The Travelodge Sleep Index also revealed:
- Fifty four per cent of adults blame a lack of sleep for their inability to concentrate at work
- Nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents admitted to taking longer to complete tasks at work
- A third of those surveyed said they find it difficult to concentrate driving to and from work when they have not had enough sleep
- Seven out 10 adults admitted they are a 'horrible person' to be around when they have not had enough sleep and difficult to work with

The desire to catch up on much-needed sleep is so great that a quarter of adults admitted to taking a sneaky catnap at work, with 16 per cent dozing at their desk and 10 per cent even retreating to the toilets for forty winks.

According to the study, the top three causes of sleep deprivation are money worries (38 per cent), workrelated stress (25 per cent) and noisy family members or neighbours (23 per cent.)

Stevie Williams, from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said "This research highlights that sleep deprivation is certainly a growing problem in the UK. It's worrying to see that the sleep debt and the number of sick days taken off due to sleep restriction has doubled in two years. Although we are coming out of the recession Brits are still worried about money and work issues, which is fuelling this sleep disorder.

It's a vicious circle, although adults may fret about their job and have financial worries they cannot afford to sacrifice their sleep quota. Having sleepless nights on a long term basis can be very detrimental on your health and it will affect your productivity and overall well being. Therefore it's essential to invest in topping up your sleep quota when possible to ensure you are getting eight hours of sleep on a regular basis."

Further findings from the study found the nation's daily battle against exhaustion means the average adult actually takes 13 minutes to get out of bed when their alarm clock rings. Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of those surveyed admitted they will regularly skip their morning shower in order to spend longer in bed. One in ten adults will forgo brushing their teeth in favour of just a few extra minutes snooze. Listed below are the other traditional morning rituals that the average adult will miss in order to get some extra sleep

- Over a third of adults (36%) will leave the house with greasy hair so that they can have an extra 15 minutes in bed
- Four out of ten adults will forgo the most important meal of the day, breakfast, in order to get extra time in bed
- Nineteen per cent of Britons will leave the house without ironing their clothes so that they can spend more time in bed
- Sixteen per cent of women will go out without any make-up and a quarter of men will skip shaving so that they can have extra time in bed

In a bid to tackle the nation's growing sleep deprivation problem, Travelodge has launched a UK-first, 10 million sleep programme to help its nine million customers get a good night sleep. The 'Retailer of Sleep' programme includes: all Travelodge staff undergoing a sleep training programme, replacing hundreds of mattresses/ duvets and 81,000 new and improved pillows. The hotel chain has also introduced specially trained 'Sleep Wardens' who will patrol the hotels at night in order to minimise unwelcome noise - which has been identified as one of the key causes of sleep deprivation. (Any customers causing loud noise which would affect other guests from getting a good nights sleep will be asked to stop and if they dont they will be asked to leave the hotel.)

Leigh McCarron, Travelodge Sleep Director, said: "In response to the alarming results from our 'Sleep Index', weve launched our own Sleep Manifesto to help our customers get a good night's sleep whilst staying in a Travelodge hotel. We believe the introduction of 'Sleep Wardens' to monitor noise levels reflects our commitment in helping to reduce the nation's sleep debt."

Listed below are Travelodge's Sleep Director's top tips to get a good night's sleep:

- Write down everything that is worrying you before you go to bed, in order to clear your mind
- Stick to a regular bed time every night. For every late night try and go to bed earlier the following evening
- Avoid eating after 7pm. Your body needs a couple of hours to digest food, if you got to bed on a full stomach, your brain and body are too busy digesting the food and you will find it more difficult to fall asleep

- ends -


For more information please contact:
Susan Hutchinson Karen Richards at Grayling T: 020 7025 7500
Shakila Ahmed at Travelodge T: 01844 35 8638

The Travelodge Sleep Index was an independent survey of 6,000 Britons conducted in May 2010, and a repeat of a similar study conducted in 2008. The 29 billion calculation is based on

- 6.21 hours on average per night = 381 minutes per night
- Differenceshortfall per night v. recommended quota of 8 hours = 99 minutes
- 99 minutes x 7 nights per week = 693 minutes
- 693 minutes x 52 weeks of the year = 36,036 minutes
- 36,036 x UK adult population of 49,200,000 = 1,772,971,200,000
1,772,971,200,000 divded by 60 = 29,549,520,000 hours


The 2008 Sleep Debt of 14 billion is based on:
- 7.12 hours on average night = 432 minutes per night
- Difference/shortfall per night v. recommended quota of 8 hours = 48 minutes
- 48 minutes x 7 nights per week = 336 minutes
- 336 minutes x 52 weeks of the year = 17,472 minutes
- 17,472 x UK adult population of 49,200,000 859,662,400,000
859,662,400,000 divded by 60 = 14,327,040,000 hours


8 million sick days is based on 28 per cent of the total UK working population (28,829,000) taking a sick day due to lack of sleep, as identified in the Travelodge Sleep Index, compared to 12% in 2008. Subsequent sleep sick day cost of 1 billion per year is based on average cost per working day of 128.70 based on average annual salary.


The top 10 causes of sleep deprivation identified in the Travelodge Sleep Index are

Money worries
Work stress
Outside noise i.e. neighbours, traffic
Watching television too late
Family troubles
Relationship issues
Partner fidgeting
Partner snoring
Worries about personal appearance
Argument with partner

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