At some point in our lives, most of us will have experienced some problems with sleep, whether it’s trouble dropping off after a stressful day or unsettling bouts of nightmares. While some of us may only deal with disturbed sleep every now and then, others live with ongoing sleep disorders that can have a huge impact on daily life.
We were interested in finding out what the most common sleep problems are and where in the UK deals with them most often, so we looked at what issues Brits search for in Google and where these searches are coming from.
The Most Common Sleep Problems in the UK
There are all sorts of problems that can keep us up at night, but which sleep dilemmas are the most common in 2020 across the UK?
The UK’s Most Commonly Asked Sleep Questions
Getting a good night’s sleep can seem like a bit of a mystery to some of us, but what are the UK’s most burning sleep questions in 2020?
Ori Leslau, sleep expert and founder of Kally Sleep provides his expert advice on how to combat some of our sleep problems.
How to stop snoring?
Ori says: “Snoring can be due to a range of factors, such as whether the snorer is overweight, has a cold, sleeps on their back or has been drinking alcohol (all of which increase the likelihood of a noisy night). The good news is there are many things you can do to minimise snoring, many of which are very simple, quick and effective:
“Lose a few pounds – Exercise and a healthier diet can lessen the weight around your neck and throat, which presses down on your airway and causes snoring
“Change your sleeping position – If you sleep on your back then switching to your side or front could help. This is because when you sleep on your back, your tongue flops backwards and can partially block your throat. This in turn restricts air flow.
“Avoid alcohol before bed – Whilst alcohol can make you feel drowsy, it actually reduces your sleep quality plus it relaxes your throat muscles which will make snoring worse.
Why am I always tired?
“Chronic tiredness or fatigue is often the result of not getting enough good quality sleep. Not getting enough shut-eye every night can mean far more than just feeling a bit dozy the next day. It can have real and long-lasting effects on both your physical and mental health, and on your quality of life.”
Ori’s top tips on how to combat tiredness
- Exercise more often
- Lose weight to gain energy
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Drink less alcohol and drink more water
- Don’t skip meals, eat regularly during the day
Why can’t I sleep?
Ori says: “Insomnia can be a real problem, making it hard to get through the day. Long term sleep deprivation can zap your energy, put you in a bad mood and even lead to physical and mental health issues, so sorting it out is vital.
“A good place to start is by making sure you have at least 30 minutes of quiet “winding down” time before you go to bed. Dim the lights slightly and have a nice relaxing bath or read a book. Also make sure any electronic devices which are close to you, such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets, are switched off. This is because when they’re on, the light from their screens can put your brain in daytime mode so making it harder to nod off. Finally, slow your mind down by doing some meditation or deep breathing exercises, or perhaps some light yoga.”
What’s the State of Our Sleep in 2020?
By comparing the number of searches for these sleep problems in 2019 to the number in 2020 we can see whether we are sleeping better or worse in 2020.
It seems as though 2020 has not been a good year for sleep, with all of the top search terms increasing from 2019, with searches for the likes of ‘acute insomnia’ and ‘vivid dreams’ seeing the biggest increases.
Looking at the overall number of searches for sleep-related queries, we can see that this total has significantly increased as well. In 2019, there were 6,384,570 searches for the 50 sleep queries we looked at. In 2020, however, that has risen to 7,017,670 – an increase of 9.92%.
The UK’s Most Sleepless Areas
When looking at these sleep-related searches by area, we can see which parts of the UK are looking for answers most often. We compared the number of searches to the number of people living in these areas to give us a number of annual searches per 10,000 people.
Using Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs we compiled a list of sleep-related search terms that had a significant number of searches. We then took the annual search volume of these terms from Google Keyword Planner for the past 24 months, splitting these time periods into 2019 searches (Oct 2018-Sept 2019) and 2020 searches (Oct 2019-Sept 2020) in order to compare.
Using the ONS 30 most populated UK cities, we then took the search volume for all 50 sleep-related search terms by location and normalised these search volumes against the population of each city to give our number of total 2020 sleep searches per 10,000 people.