January has been named the worst month for sleep – with Google searches for related terms peaking at the start of the year, with almost half of Brits not getting enough rest.
The findings, revealed by botanical experts Cannabotech, analysed YouGov survey results and search data from the last five years to reveal the nation’s sleeping habits – and found that the start of the year is the hardest time to get a good night’s rest.
The NHS recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, but according to the data, just over half (56%) of the population manage to do so in January.
This leaves two fifths (44%) of Brits not getting enough rest at the start of the year, which the NHS says can lead to various short and long-term health issues – including increased stress, memory issues, and a weak immune system.
It’s particularly important that Brits look to improve their sleep where possible this time of year, as it falls within flu season and is also considered to be one of the hardest months from a mental health aspect – with this year’s Blue Monday falling on the 16th.
The data shows that some struggle to sleep considerably more than others, with 1% of the adult population (528,889 people) getting just one hour of sleep per night in January.
Search data from Google’s Keyword Planner reveals that many aren’t happy with their sleep quality, with related Google queries highest at the start of the year – with ‘insomnia’, ‘why can’t I sleep’, ‘sleep music’, ‘sleep remedies’ and ‘sleeping pills’ all peaking in January.
Some Brits may find it more difficult to sleep based on where they live, the findings show, as Bristol reports the highest number of sleep-related searches per capita at the start of the year, whilst East Kilbride and Lancaster appear to experience the fewest sleep issues.
So how can people look to prioritise sleep? Relaxation experts Cannobotech said: “Improving sleep and reducing stress is key to boosting immunity and day-to-day wellbeing. Getting enough rest should be a priority at all times, particularly during stressful periods like January when it can be hard to make time for self-care.
“Whilst some stress over the winter period is inevitable – whether it’s due to trying to save money, picking things back up at work or juggling family commitments – it’s crucial to stick to a healthy sleep routine in order to prevent any unnecessary impact on your health.
“Many of us will struggle from the January Blues this year due to dark mornings and the added pressure of starting the year off right. But where possible, follow these tips to improve sleep, which in turn will reduce negative emotions and health issues:
- Support your immune system
In winter as colds circulate, it’s important to strengthen your immune system in order to limit sleep disruption. Ensure that you stay hydrated and drink at least two litres of water daily, and that you eat plenty of Vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies. Even though it’s tempting to stay inside when it’s cold, physical exercise is important – and you can always do an at-home workout in place of a gym session.
- Maintain a set schedule
One of the biggest factors behind struggling to get to sleep in winter are the drawn-out dark evenings that can make it hard to switch-off. Regardless, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time all year, as this will make it easier for your body to recognise when it’s time for bed. You can also invest in natural light bulbs and other forms of light therapy to make the transition easier.
- Keep stress levels low
Although it’s easier said than done, prioritising keeping stress levels low before bed will improve your sleep quality massively. Some ways to do this include starting to wind down and avoid screens at least one hour before your planned bedtime, and setting time aside to write about any worries or concerns that may otherwise keep you up.
“Although many of us are tempted to hit the ground running after Christmas, it’s crucial not to burn yourself out in January and skip sleep unnecessarily, as it sets you up for a bad routine across the rest of the year. Prioritising sleep now is important.”