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The better off sleep better
Date:3/4/2011

Analysis of the early data from Understanding Society based on 14,000 UK households found that overall the best sleep was reported by people with higher levels of education and by married people. The type of work a person does also impacts on sleep, with those in routine occupations reporting worse sleep than those in professional occupations.

Professor Sara Arber at the University of Surrey who analysed the findings said: "Given the links between sleep, social and economic circumstances and poor health found in this and other surveys, health promotion campaigns should be open to the possibility that the increased incidence of sleep problems among the disadvantaged in society may be one factor leading to their poorer health."

Understanding Society is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and managed by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at t the University of Essex. It follows 40,000 UK household over many years, and sleep data will be collected annually.

Initial analysis of the sleep data collected in the first survey also found that:

Men and women

  • women are more likely to report problems getting to sleep within 30 minutes, 24% on three or more nights a week, compared to 18% of men
  • problems getting to sleep on three or more nights per week are particularly high under age 25, then decline slightly for men with age, but increase with age for women
  • half of men and women over age 65 report sleep maintenance problems on three or more nights a week, compared to under a fifth of men and a third of women under 25
  • More men than women report that snoring or coughing disturbs their sleep, 30% of men and 20% of women more than once a week
  • women are more likely to negatively rate their sleep quality, 26% compared to 20% of men

Sleep medication

  • one in 10 people report taking sleeping medication on three or more nights a week (9% of men and 10% of women
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Contact: Press Office
Pressoffice@esrc.ac.uk
Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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