Home Mental Health & Well-Being Top Factors That Are Keeping the Nation Up at Night

Top Factors That Are Keeping the Nation Up at Night

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Insomnia is thought to affect around one in three people in the UK. It can affect anyone and is defined as having regular trouble sleeping. Getting to the bottom of what’s causing insomnia can be tricky and if you have sleep difficulty you may find it’s a difficult pattern to break.

With insomnia sufferers so common within the UK, we wanted to learn more about why the nation is up at night. With many turning to social media to voice their concerns when they’re unable to sleep, we looked at Twitter to uncover which city tweets the most about insomnia and at what time. We also analysed the potential causes and solutions for Tweeters’ sleep struggles as well as the sentiment of these tweets.

And for those who are having trouble dropping off, we have compiled some tips to help you get a more restful night.

Which city or town tweets the most about being unable to sleep?

The city with the most tweets about insomnia is Manchester with 17.1k tweets per 10,000 people and 946 tweets in total over the last year.

Newcastle, with 15.4k tweets per 10,000 people comes in second place. With both of these cities infamous for their nightlife there’s potential that the lack of sleep goes hand in hand with the UK’s party culture.

Many of the top contending cities are heavily populated by university students which could potentially be a factor in the sleeping patterns within these cities.

When is the peak time for sleep struggle tweets?

According to our data, 02:00 am is the most restless hour, with the highest percentage of tweets (15.3%) about struggling to “drop off”. According to sleep experts, by 02:00 am you should be deep into REM sleep to ensure you’re getting the recommended hours of rest.

REM sleep refers to ‘rapid eye movement’, where the brain is more active than during other sleep patterns and works on processing your information. REM sleep is important as it allows the brain to process key factors, including your memories and learning, as well as the development of your central nervous system.

Also found to be typical hours for insomniacs are 23:00 and 00:00 with 13.3% of sleep struggle tweets coming through around the midnight hour. Research shows that falling asleep before 22:00 is better for your health, so the restless night owls tweeting between these hours are at more risk of developing sleep-related health problems than their deep-sleeping counterparts.

What are the potential causes and solutions for sleep struggles within tweets?

When looking at the potential reasons for being unable to fall asleep, Tea was referenced in 11.8% of tweets that mention a possible cause for their insomnia. With a cup of tea being a staple drink in many UK households, it’s perhaps unsurprising to see this caffeinated drink a top cause of insomnia.

Also ranked as possible causes for lack of sleep are anxiety (appearing in 9.6% of potential cause-related tweets) and napping (included within 9.5% of cause tweets).

When looking at the potential solutions Twitter users mentioned for their insomnia, melatonin came out on top with 45.9% of sleep solution mentions. If you’re looking to increase your levels of melatonin for a more restful night’s sleep you could consider taking circadin tablets as a short-term sleep aid.

Also ranking highly as a possible solution to help you sleep better is CBD (17.6% of solution tweet mentions ) and sleep aids (15.2% of solution tweet mentions).

Which months have the highest number of sleep struggle tweets?

Our data found that July 2022 had the highest percentage of tweets referring to sleep struggles (13.4% of all tweets). July was a month of warm weather – and even some extreme weather warnings suggesting that the heat could be a cause for concern when trying to sleep.

February also sees a peak in tweets around restless nights (9.5%), potentially due to the start of the year throwing off sleeping patterns for many Brits.

What words show up the most in tweets about struggling to sleep?

When looking at the overall sentiment towards tweets around being awake, 35.4% of tweets are negative – perhaps unsurprisingly as nobody enjoys a restless night.

When looking at the most common emotion within these tweets, ‘anticipation’ ranks at the top with 51.6%. This could be due to the anticipation of trying to fall asleep or even anticipation for what’s coming the next day, potentially a job interview or exam keeping the mind awake.

Sadness (42.8%) and fear (40.0%) come in second and third place in terms of tweet sentiment. The negative emotions associated with struggling to sleep are unsurprising, with sleep issues often closely linked to mental health conditions such as depression.

These groups of emotions, such as anticipation, sadness, surprise, joy and others, were broken down further to reveal the exact words used the most within these tweets.

When looking at tweets classed with a sentiment of anticipation, the words “time” (11.0%) and “wait” (3.8%) both made the top commonly used words implying that people are anticipating the clock counting down the hours and minutes they won’t sleep.

Sadness and Angry tweets brought words such as bad (4.1% and 5.4%) and hate (3.8% and 4.9%) to the forefront showing that lack of sleep can cause people to have heightened negative emotions and irritability.

When do Brits purchase the most sleeping aids?

We also mined our own data to discover which month saw the highest number of unique purchases for sleep aids, such as sleeping tablets, ear plugs, herbal remedies and nasal strips.

January 2021 saw the biggest spike in purchases of sleeping aids with 1,463 sleep aid purchases in the month alone. This could potentially be down to Brits looking to start the new year with more healthy sleeping habits so they can conquer their New Year’s resolutions with energy.

If you’re struggling with insomnia, here are some expert tips to get to sleep.

Think about your sleep cycle – A huge part of getting a good night’s sleep is sticking to a sleep schedule This will help your body to know when you need to go to bed and when it’s time to wake up, and the more you stick to it, the easier it will be to get to sleep.

Change your diet – Try to remove caffeine and alcohol from your routine wherever possible. Taking stimulants before sleep is likely to keep you up in the early hours, so stay away from them for six hours before you go to sleep. This will help to prevent them from keeping you up all night. Try to avoid big meals before bedtime as this can also be a factor keeping you up.

Change when you exercise – Exercising just before bedtime is another common reason why people end up tossing and turning all night long. Hit the gym at least four hours before bedtime to give your body a chance to wind down and prepare for a proper night’s sleep.

Change your environment – Your environment can play a big part in keeping you up all night, so it’s time to shake things up! Buy some good curtains or an eye mask to block out that pesky light, and get yourself a comfortable mattress – anything to make your sleep space better for you.

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