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Poor sleep costs 14.4m working days a year

Published on: 4 Oct 2023

One in six UK workers has had to take an average of three sick days in the past 12 months due to sleeplessness, according to the latest research.


Poor sleep patterns, which affect 15% of workers, cause 14.4m sick days every year, according to Canada Life, based on Opinium polling of 2,000 people.

On average, UK adults sleep for six hours and 12 minutes – less than the NHS’s recommendation of seven to nine hours – and wake up twice a night. A total of 36% do not feel they get enough quality sleep most nights. 

Around 16% feel that poor sleep impacts their physical and mental health, and 63% desire a nap during the day. The research also reveals that 24% stay up too late and 14% use mobile phones and other devices in bed. 

For 21%, bad nights are caused by physical conditions or illnesses, while for 17% it is poor mental health. Snoring partners cause poor sleep for 11%, 16% have insomnia and 12% are kept awake by financial worries. 

Only 30% have sought help; of these, 45% took medication, 36% spoke to an NHS doctor, 32% tried meditation or mindfulness, 29% used alternative medicine and 23% used an app.

Image credits: Shutterstock