How to spot the sleep-deprived

Talking to imaginary pets, crying because the supermarket sold out of yoghurt and getting in the shower fully clothed are among some of the strangest things people have done when sleep deprived, according to a new poll carried out by BetterYou.

The survey of 358 people from across the UK found that poor quality of sleep was a common problem with over half (53%) claiming they struggled to nod off.

The search for a good night’s sleep is perhaps contributing to the amount of people self-medicating with nearly one in five admitting to turning to sleeping pills or alcohol.

The time taken to fall asleep can also impact sleep quality and the number of hours restful sleep we are able to achieve. The poll revealed over 60% of people take longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

Almost all (95%) respondents have felt sleep deprived at some point in their lives. Of these, nearly one in four said they feel sleep deprived every day.

Between three and six o’clock in the afternoon is when people feel the most tired, with seven per cent of individuals confessing to falling asleep in the workplace.

Binge-eating, being forgetful and hallucinating were common behaviours experienced when sleep deprived, with 14% of people putting strange household items in the fridge, including keys and kettles.

The survey asked how people would spend an extra hour in the day and 43% said they would spend it asleep or relaxing. Reading and exercising were also popular responses.

Poor sleep can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health. Drowsiness, stress, poor short-term memory and weight gain are all common indicators of this.

Magnesium deficiency can be one of the main factors affecting the quality of sleep we are able to achieve, according to Andrew Thomas, founder and managing director at BetterYou.

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