Why Brits are sleeping more now than they were in the 1970s

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It’s no secret that most articles and TV shows revolve around the belief that we live as a sleep deprived generation.

Open a newspaper and no doubt you’ll find a story about how people are too overworked to find proper time for an adequate night’s sleep. Th the modern world has given the impression that a huge number of people now stay up too late playing on their phones and tablets and that life is generally just too busy to make resting a priority but, it turns out, this actually may not be the case.

In a surprising new study, conducted by the University of Oxford, researchers have found that people are actually getting more sleep than they were in the 1970’s – long before the invention of digital gadgets.

Compiling data from a number of studies, looking at the sleeping habits of people that have taken place over the last four decades, the researchers found that Brits are sleeping approximately 43 minutes more than they were back then, with the majority of adults going to bed half an hour earlier and waking up around 15 minutes later.

The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, said this is down to ‘work-sleep conflict’ – essentially the idea that people make sure they go to bed earlier so that they can handle the pressures of the next day at work. The researchers actually stated that the average time that Brits spend sleeping now has increased from seven hours and 23 minutes in 1974 to eight hours and six minutes in 2015.

But it doesn’t stop there. The study confirms that even those who are unemployed are getting more kip. They’re sleeping on average one hour more than they did in the 1970’s, with those who are employed sleeping for 45 more minutes a night and those who are retired sleeping for 27 more minutes a night.

The researchers concluded the findings by saying we perhaps don’t have to be as worried about a lack of sleep as we previously thought: ‘There is a view that sleep has declined over recent decades, and that sleep deprivation has reached epidemic levels, with jobs most often blamed for this,’ they said.

‘The analysis shows that sleep has increased in the UK over the last four decades by 45 minutes on average, and a similar increase is found for individuals in employment.’

So, looks like we don’t have to be as worried about our sleep as we once thought.