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100 years of sleep diaries

Each day we ask people to fill in a sleep diary, and we recently reviewed 100 years of sleep diaries. Sleepstation has been helping people sleep better since 2012 and we recently decided to take some time to talk about what we’ve learned.

Small changes can make a big difference

Did you know that caffeine stays in your system up to eight hours after your last sip? Or that staring at your phone late at night is probably causing havoc with your sleep? This information isn’t new, but we’ve found that often people ignore the little things that can cause a bad night’s sleep.

Many people we’ve worked with found they got better sleep by doing simple things such as blocking excessive light from their bedroom, winding down an hour before bed and making sure their bedroom is the right temperature.

The truth is a lot of us know the advice, but we just aren’t following it.

Sunday is worst night for sleep

Sunday night stood out about the thousands of sleep diaries we analysed as the worst night for sleep across the board. This has actually been backed up by a recent study that found most people in the UK sleep badly on a Sunday. It is believed that this is either due to job-related anxiety or a type of ‘weekend jet lag’ where people have slept later on Saturday and Sunday mornings and now have to get up earlier for Monday.

We also found that Friday is the best night for most sleepers. The lack of pressure of work and a chance to sleep within their own schedule seems to make a difference.

Often people with Insomnia tend to worry not only about not being able to sleep, but also the consequences of their lack of sleep. Therefore when there are less consequences i.e. a job to wake up, they rest easier.

Digital health is not a young person’s game

People may believe that digital health is something used only by young people, but in fact many of the people who use Sleepstation are over 40. In fact, some of our greatest success stories have been from people in their 60s and up.

Less than 8% of our users are 18 to 24, whereas nearly 20% of them are 45–54 years old.

Talking helps

Sleepstation offers a confidential support system so that people can talk when they need help. Often life gets in the way, and it’s difficult to always stick to a regimented plan. Our sleep coaches are on hand to give people helpful advice and make sure the programme is working for them.

Many people feel unable to discuss their sleep problems, because they can often be dismissed. We know how hard it can be when you can’t sleep, and make the time to listen when people need it.

It’s normal to wake in the night

Everyone, even the best sleepers, tend to wake up around three to four times a night. Most people will not remember this, but if you are suffering from sleep problems, these awakenings may cause you undue stress.

In fact, one of the reasons we do not encourage people to use sleep trackers such as Fitbits while doing Sleepstation is because many poor sleepers will become too focused on those tiny gaps, when they are perfectly normal.

We are a chronically sleep deprived nation

Most people who come to Sleepstation start with an average around 5.7 hours sleep a night, and this is not uncommon as around 40% of people in the UK have said they do not manage to sleep more than six hours a night.

This is a problem as lack of sleep has been linked to many physical and mental health conditions including heart disease, hypertension and type-2 diabetes.

Women are more likely to suffer from Insomnia

Nearly 70% of people who use Sleepstation are women. This isn’t a surprise as women overall are more likely to suffer from Insomnia than men, due to hormone changes through either pregnancy or the menopause.

Online Insomnia therapy works

When we first developed Sleepstation, we knew that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia was the most effective way of treating Insomnia, but we didn’t know how that would work on a digital platform as our clinical team had previously delivered it as a face-to-face therapy.

We actually found that not only did Sleepstation help people overcome their Insomnia, but it was actually proven to work better than face-to-face therapy. On top of that, having it online has made it much more accessible to people who need it as there are no waiting times to access the therapy.

9/10 people who follow the Sleepstation programme get better sleep as a result.

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