Is competitiveness and an “always on” culture to blame for this change in the sleep patterns of Britain?
The invention of the artificial light in the industrial revolution has paved the way to us staying up later and later. In 1807 London became the first city to light up its streets with gas lamps, and in 1879 Thomas Edison invented the first incandescent light bulb that could be used on a mass scale.
As technology has developed light has been a more permanent fixture in our lives. This 24/7 artificial light tricks our bodies and minds into thinking it’s still daytime and so messes with melatonin production and therefore our body clock (as discussed in our previous article Sleeping in the dark can help you lose weight?).
There is also significant pressure in our working lives to get by on less sleep. A recent study by Premier Inn found that 36% of people surveyed admitted to competing with colleagues about lack of sleep. The study also revealed that women are more competitive than men when it comes to discussing lack of sleep.
- 25-34 year olds most likely to compete at “competitive tiredness”.
- 57% of people in this age group admitted competing.
- 25% of this age range admitted exaggerating to their boss about their sleep to impress them.
- Journalists, politicians and scientists were most likely to compete.
- 69% of people feel they have to compromise sleep to complete everything in a day.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, obesity, anxiety and depression.