The coronavirus lockdown is proving a nightmare for Brits’ sleeping patterns, with more than two in five (43%) now having difficulty snoozing, and a third (33%) experiencing increasingly vivid dreams.
This disturbed sleep can increase the likelihood of sleepwalking and sleep talking, and new research has revealed that over two thirds (67%) of Brits are active sleepers.
The findings show that across the country, thousands are experiencing behaviour such as sleepwalking, limb flailing or even purchasing products in their sleep.
Sleep talking is the most common behaviour, with 44% of sleepers reporting that they sometimes speak whilst dozing.
The study, by bed and mattress specialists, Bed SOS, also revealed that women were more likely to be active sleepers than men (69% vs 65%). Women were also most likely to purchase something (4%), whereas men were most likely to eat during their sleep, with three in 50 saying they do so (6%).
Top five most common sleeping behaviours:
Sleep talking (44%)
Limb flailing (16%)
Accidentally hitting your partner (10%)
Norwich residents are the least likely to experience strange behaviour in their sleep, with just over half (52%) admitting to being active sleepers. On the other hand, Sheffield residents (77%) are the most likely to behave oddly when sleeping.
Dr Neil Stanley, Sleep Expert at The Sleep Council, said: “Sleepwalking and sleep talking are, amongst other unusual nocturnal behaviours, classed as parasomnias (undesired behaviour whilst sleeping.) They occur because parts of the brain may be active whilst others are asleep, which is why sleepwalkers can be seen to do normal, routine activities.
“Parasomnias can be brought on by a variety of circumstances, including lack of sleep, head injuries, travel, and a number of conditions. They are not harmful, although saying the wrong thing in your sleep can cause embarrassment and sleepwalking may sometimes result in people putting themselves in dangerous positions, such as jumping out of a window.
“Waking a sleepwalker is not advised, as they may be confused when woken, resulting in violent behaviour. If you notice a sleepwalker in a dangerous position, it’s best to simply guide them back to bed.”
As part of its study, Bed SOS asked the nation to share their most bizarre night-time antics:
Oscar from Plymouth: “I once woke up on the kitchen floor surrounded by the entire contents of the fridge and several cupboards that I’d emptied during my sleep.”
Jamie, from York: “When I was younger I was camping for a friend’s birthday party. I went to sleep in the tent, but woke up two miles away slumped against a fence in a field! I had no idea how I’d got there.”
Kirsty from Norwich: “My husband woke me up shouting and swearing about how a referee was a cheat for disallowing a goal.”
Julia from Bristol: “My boyfriend asked me ‘but what are you going to do with all of those legs?’ He sounded scared at the time but had no idea what he was dreaming about!”
Lizzie from Glasgow: “I once had a very detailed conversation with my husband about a hot dog eating contest he was interested in attending. It was only when I asked him about it in the morning and he gave me a confused look that I realised he’d been asleep.”
Daniel Richmond, Managing Director of Bed SOS, said: “Many of us will experience some kind of strange behaviour whilst sleeping and this seems to be increasingly common during lockdown. Although these instances can often be incredibly funny, they can also sometimes be a little scary.
“If you’re finding that your sleep has become disturbed during the lockdown, especially if it has resulted in health risks for you or anybody else, you should contact a sleep specialist as soon as possible.”
For more information on odd nocturnal behaviours, visit https://www.bedsos.co.uk/blog/2020/05/are-you-an-active-sleeper-this-could-be-why/