Wake Up Well: England's Most
Sleep-Deprived Regions

Wake Up Well
Sleep Deprived Regions

England's Most Sleep-Deprived Regions

The most sleep-deprived parts of England have been revealed in our brand-new study, that highlights which regions and major cities are most likely to experience poor quality sleep due to a higher exposure to light and discomfort caused by temperature.

When light pollution, daylight hours and average temperatures are considered across regions in England, the study found that Greater London reports the highest likelihood of sleep disruption, while the North East is the least likely region to have sleep quality impacted by light or discomfort.

On a city-level basis, it’s still the south that suffers, as Central London ranks the highest for the most disrupted sleep, while Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is the least likely to experience any sleep disruption.

Most Disrupted Region

Based on Noise, Light, and Comfort

Sleep Deprived Regions

Most Disrupted Cities

Based on Noise, Light, and Comfort

Sleep Deprived Cities
Light Pollution

Light Pollution: The Impact on Sleep Quality

Artificial light is known to disrupt our sleep-wake-cycles. This is unfortunate, as night skies in major urban areas are subject to higher levels of light pollution which makes it harder to sleep well.

Using UK climate averages and light pollution data, the study determined which parts of England are the most likely to experience sleep disruption due to light exposure. The findings were as follows:

  • Greater London is the region that suffers the most from light exposure - likely due to its far higher levels of light pollution
  • The North East comes out on top as the region least likely to experience sleep disruption caused by light

When it comes to the largest cities in each region, Norwich comes second for the most light disruption behind Central London, followed by Birmingham and Brighton. Leeds is the least disrupted city overall.

These findings were based on the annual sun hours in each region and city, as reported by the MET Office, and average brightness values pulled from the Earth Observation Group. Sun hours is a climatological indicator that illustrates the physical quantity of sunshine in a given area, and is represented by the MET Office as hours per year.

Most Light Pollution

By Region

Light Pollution by Region

Breakdown

Region
(England)
Light Pollution
Average Brightness Value
Daylight
Annual Sun Hours
Greater London 30.53 1,828
South East 2.75 1,860
East of England 2.01 1,790
West Midlands 3.26 1,635
East Midlands 2.35 1,648
North West 3.86 1,597
Yorkshire and the Humber 3.16 1,639
South West 1.25 1,728
North East 3.22 1,596

Most Light Pollution

By City

Light Pollution by City

Breakdown

Cities
(England)
Light Pollution
Average Brightness Value
Daylight
Annual Sun Hours
Central London 70 1,828
Norwich 22 1,877
Brighton 11 1,909
Birmingham 26 1,645
Bristol 10 1,759
Leicester 22 1,638
Manchester 41 1,552
Leeds 15 1,500
Newcastle upon Tyne 25 1,474
Temperature

Discomfort: The Impact on Sleep Quality

There are many factors that cause discomfort when trying to sleep, including stress, caffeine intake and mattress quality. However, one of the most impactful factors on sleep quality is temperature.

Based on climate data, the study also pinpointed which parts of England see the worst sleep quality due to high average temperatures and fluctuations in heat. The findings were:

  • The East of England sees the highest average temperatures and the most fluctuation, making it the region most affected by discomfort
  • Meanwhile, the North East sees the least fluctuation in heat and the lowest temperatures.

At city-level, Central London reports the highest average temperatures and the broadest fluctuation, while Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is the least disrupted overall.

These conclusions were drawn based on MET Office data on average daily temperatures, mean minimum daily temperatures, and mean maximum daily temperatures.

Most Discomfort

By Region

Discomfort by Region

Discomfort Breakdown

By Temperature

Region
(England)
Average Daily
˚C
Mean Minimum
Daily ˚C
Mean Maximum
Daily ˚C
East Of England 11 6.7 14.9
Greater London 12.2 8 15.9
South East 11.3 7 15
West Midlands 10.5 6.3 14.4
East Midlands 10.4 6.2 14
South West 11 7.4 14.6
Yorkshire and the Humber 10 6.2 13.9
North West 10 6.4 13.4
North East 8.8 5.2 12.4

Most Discomfort

By City

Discomfort by City

Discomfort Breakdown

By Temperature

Region
(England)
Average Daily
˚C
Mean Minimum
Daily ˚C
Mean Maximum
Daily ˚C
Central London 12.2 8 15.9
Norwich 10.8 6.8 14.8
Bristol 11.3 7.3 15
Brighton 11.5 7.9 14.6
Leicester 10.4 6 14.3
Birmingham 10.7 6.7 14.4
Manchester 10.9 7.3 14.2
Leeds 10.2 6.3 13.9
Newcastle upon Tyne 10.2 6.8 13.7
Secret to a good nights sleep

So, What's
The Secret to a Good Night's Sleep?

Even in areas that report low levels of disruption due to light and discomfort, poor sleep quality can also be aggravated by longer working hours, or other external factors outside of our direct control.

In fact, the study found that as well as reporting the highest levels of light pollution and temperature fluctuations, Central London is the most overworked city based on average working hours per week, while Newcastle boasts the best work/life balance.

Whether you work regular night shifts as a driver, health care professional, or security personnel, you can rest assured there are steps you can take to increase the chances of you getting a good night’s sleep, aside from cutting down on work.

To help you improve the quality of your sleep, we asked some experts for their top tips. Here’s what they said:

1.

Establish a schedule, and stick to it.

Allana Wass, Certified Sleep Science Coach, says: “Staying consistent with your sleep schedule is essential. It might be hard to go to bed and wake up at the same time, but only at first. Once your body adjusts to a specific schedule, you won’t even have to catch up on sleep during the weekends. The thing is, sticking to a sleep schedule will allow your body to regulate its natural sleep and wake cycles easier. And with time, you will find it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.”

2.

Make your room as dark as possible.

Alex Savy, Certified Sleep Science Coach and Founder of SleepingOcean, says: “To improve one’s sleep quality, you need to control light exposure. Try to get enough daylight by sitting near the window during work or taking walks whenever you can (even on a foggy day, it still might do you some good). Additionally, you might want to limit your screen time and, ideally, avoid taking devices to bed. You can use a blue light filter in the evening for extra protection and dim the lights around the house a couple of hours before bedtime.”

3.

Follow a strict WFH bedtime routine.

Katherine Hall, UK-based Sleep Psychologist and Sleep Coach, urges Brits to prioritise getting a good night’s rest to reduce disruption caused by returning to the office. She says:

“If you have been routinely waking up slightly later since working from home, you may find waking up slightly earlier more difficult. With more and more people working from home during the pandemic, the line between ‘work’ and ‘home’ has become a lot blurrier. This may have led to excessive time spent in front of your phone, delaying sleep and impacting sleep quality. However, returning to work could provide that much-needed barrier between work and home."

Regardless of where you might live, it’s clearly important that you get the rest you deserve after a busy day. With light playing such a major role in affecting our sleep, you can significantly benefit from blocking out unwanted light with a high-quality blackout blind.

Most Overworked Major Cities

Ranked From Most to Least

Most Overworked Cities

Breakdown

Ranked From Most To Least

Cities
(England)
Workers
(Aged 16-64)
Unpaid Overtime
Proportion (%)
AVG. Hours*
Per Week
Paid OverTime Hours
Avg. Per Week
AVG. Hours*
Avg. Per Week
Central London 1,010,000 24.4 37.8 0.6 7.8
Brighton 160,000 20.5 38.1 0.8 7.3
Bristol 249,400 19.9 38.3 0.9 7
Norwich 80,000 18.6 38.3 1.1 7.3
Leeds 426,900 18 38.1 1.1 7.3
Leicester 178,500 17.5 38.3 1.1 7.5
Birmingham 497,000 17.6 38.3 1 7.6
Manchester 256,300 15.3 37.9 1 8
Newcastle Upon Tyne 140,400 14 37.8 1.2 7.3

Education

Cities
(England)
Workers*
(Aged 16-64)
Average Hours Worked
Per Week
Total Hours
Worked
Central London 109,080 25.5 33.9
Brighton 17,280 25.5 33.6
Bristol 26,935 25.5 33.4
Norwich 8,640 25.5 33.9
Leeds 46,105 25.5 33.9
Leicester 19,278 25.5 34.1
Birmingham 53,676 25.5 34.1
Manchester 27,680 25.5 34.5
Newcastle Upon Tyne 15,163 25.5 34

Health and Social Care

Cities
(England)
Total Hours Worked
Number of Workers
Average Base Hours
Worked
Central London 136,350 29.1 37.5
Brighton 21,600 29.1 37.2
Bristol 33,669 29.1 37
Norwich 10,800 29.1 37.5
Leeds 57,632 29.1 37.5
Leicester 24,098 29.1 37.7
Birmingham 67,095 29.1 37.7
Manchester 34,601 29.1 38.1
Newcastle Upon Tyne 18,954 29.1 37.6

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