NewsResearchNuffield Health’s 2023 ‘Healthier Nation Index’: Only 36% of employees get a good night’s sleep

Nuffield Health’s 2023 ‘Healthier Nation Index’ – a survey of 8,000 UK adults - has highlighted that poor sleep is still a huge issue across the nation.
Content Team6 months ago5 min

Nuffield Health’s 2023 ‘Healthier Nation Index’ – a survey that captures data from 8,000 UK adults – has highlighted that poor sleep is still a huge issue across the UK.

According to the survey, on average Brits are only getting 5.91 hours of sleep a night, this is down from 6.11 in 2022 and 6.19 in 2021.

Of those surveyed, only 36 per cent said their sleep was ‘good’, with the average healthy adult needing between 7.5 – 8.5 hours per night, equating to five sleep cycles.

Of those surveyed, only 36 per cent said their sleep was ‘good’

This means that the remaining 65 percent of those questioned feel that they are not getting good quality sleep. Nuffield Health says it defines a ‘good quality of sleep’ as one that has the right balance of deep, slow-wave sleep and shallow, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – where dreaming occurs.

‘The numbers are concerning”

Given that 11 percent of respondents only get between 2-4 hours of sleep per night and 36 percent only sleep between 4-6 hours a day, these statistics are concerning says Nuffield Health.

Only 8 percent of us get more than the recommended 8 hours per night.

Interestingly, the study also reveals interesting sleep patterns for different age groups. For example, those in the 45-54-year age bracket claim to have the worst sleep, with only 29 percent saying theirs is ‘good’ and with most averaging only 5.72 hours a night. The industries with the worst sleep and least likely to rate theirs as ‘good’ are Retail (32%) and those in HR (34%).

Industries that rated their sleep as the best are I.T. (48%) and Finance (44%), but noticeably for both industries, the statistics are still under half.

These findings are especially pertinent during September’s ‘Sleeptember’, which focuses on promoting better sleep quality.

The results suggest poor sleep quality reduces employee productivity. 37 percent said they were less productive after a poor night’s sleep. It also negatively impacts mental health, especially so in women. 55 percent said poor sleep had a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing, compared to just 41 percent of men.

When examining the different age brackets, it was 35–44-year-olds’ emotional wellbeing, which was most affected by poor sleep. 57 percent said not getting enough, was having a negative impact on their mental health.

The industries whose mental health was most affected by poor sleep include Architecture, Engineering & Building (56%), Education (55%), Retail (53%) and Healthcare (54%).

Luke Cousins, Physiology Regional Lead, at Nuffield Health commented:

“There still exists a vital need for employers to be more attuned to the sleep needs of their staff and the potential role it has in improving employee physical and emotional wellbeing if businesses prioritise its importance.

“Companies should collaboratively engage with their healthcare partners to bolster sleep education, and the relevant employee benefits needed to support those struggling.


Check out our archive of articles on sleep and its connection to our health.

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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