We all have our different tactics for getting to sleep – some better than others. So what are the most popular sleep tactics in the UK? We surveyed 1,200 UK adults to find out – with some surprising results.

Here are the eight most popular sleep techniques...
 
  1. Read a book or watch TV – 57%

    By far the most popular sleep tactic is to turn to entertainment before bed. Almost 57% of UK adults read a book, watch TV or listen to music before bed. As a sleep tactic this can work well as it relaxes the mind and helps you to avoid focusing on anxieties. However, the distraction tactic you choose may matter – studies have shown that using (or even keeping) technology in the bedroom can actually be disruptive to sleep quality. Reading a paperback may be the smartest choice.

  2. Have a hot drink – 18%

    Around one in five of us opt for a hot drink before bed to help us sleep. At first glance, this seems a smart strategy – but it actually depends on the drink you choose. Popular bedtime beverages such as tea and coffee contain caffeine (unless you opt for a caffeine free or herbal alternative). As well as being a stimulant which can keep you awake, caffeine can also trigger night sweats in some people. So if you frequently find that you wake in the night feeling hot and clammy, swapping your hot drink for a cool glass of milk may be a better choice.

  3. Alcoholic drink – 12%

    One alternative to a hot drink that is popular with UK adults is alcohol. One in eight of us turn to a glass of wine or a wee dram to help us drift off. While alcohol can make you feel drowsy, just like caffeine it can trigger night sweats in some people. Avoid it in favour of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free alternatives before bed.

  4. Meditation and deep breathing – 12%

    Proof that it’s not all bad habits – the joint third most popular sleep tactic in the UK is meditation and deep breathing. Techniques like this work by refocusing and relaxing the mind, relieving the stress and anxiety that can so often present a barrier to sleep. So if this is your preferred way to get to sleep, keep it up!

  5. Sex – 10%

    Our survey also found that one in ten UK adults rely on sex to help them sleep. The hormones released during and after sex promote both relaxation and sleepiness. They can also reduce anxiety and stress levels, both of which can be big causes of sleeplessness.

  6. Sleeping pills – 8%

    8% of UK adults turn to sleeping pills to help them get a good night’s rest. While these may be effective as a last resort, there are plenty of other sleeping techniques to try first.

  7. Counting Sheep – 5%

    We were stunned to find so many adults rely on counting sheep as one of their favourite sleeping techniques. While it can work, there are other, more effective ways that sheep can help you get to sleep – such as sleeping with wool bedding to help regulate your temperature throughout the night.

  8. Exercise – 5%

    Numerous studies have found a connection between exercise and sleep – so it’s perhaps a little surprising that only 5% of adults turn to this tactic. While the exact connection isn’t clear, it’s thought that the drop in body temperature following exercise can promote sleep. Regular exercise can also help to improve overall mood, reducing anxiety. This in turn can help a person settle to sleep more easily.

How many of these ways to get to sleep have you tried? Are there any great sleeping tactics we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments