Experts agree sleep quality depends on many factors and outline that we should only use our bed for the 3 S’s: Sleep, Sex and Sickness
Sleep tech firm Simba, in collaboration with the UK’s leading independent charity in sleep, The Sleep Charity, have examined data from over 5,000 adults across England to uncover how our mattress usage impacts our quest for the perfect night’s rest
The new ‘Bed Behaviour Report’ delves into our best and worst bedtime habits, with The Sleep Charity decoding the impact these behaviours have on a good night's sleep
New data reveals that less than a quarter of adults in England use their mattress for sleep, sickness and sex alone; the only three bedtime habits recommended by experts for a good quality sleep.
The report commissioned by award-winning sleep tech company Simba, in partnership with
The Sleep Charity, reveals that 65% of people across England regularly fail to get the bare minimum of seven hours of sleep every night, as recommended by the NHS.*
And over a third [34%] describe the quality of their sleep as “poor”.
Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO at sleep tech firm Simba’s charity partner, The Sleep Charity said, “Sleep quality hinges on many different factors — the amount of energy we expel during the day, the regularity of it and the amount of stimulants we consume.
“But it also depends on how you use your bed and what meaning your brain learns to assign to it, preventing it from switching off.
“There is a consensus amongst sleep experts that, if we restrict our mattress activities to sex, sleep and sickness, our slumber quality will vastly improve. However, this new research from Simba shows that less than a quarter of adults in the country actually abide by the golden rule of the “3 S’s.”
“Using the bed exclusively for sickness, sleep, and sex enhances sleep quality through the psychological association of the bedroom with relaxation and reduces distractions, which will ultimately contribute to our overall well-being and happiness.
“The practice strengthens emotional bonds between partners, emphasises the importance of self-care and mental health, which is particularly important when we are unwell, and supports a healthier lifestyle by prioritising rest, relaxation, and intimacy in a dedicated space”.
The new data which surveyed over 5,031 adults across the country has shown nearly a quarter of adults admit to watching TV and streaming in bed [24%], and a further fifth confessing to scrolling endlessly on social media rather than going to sleep [20%].
Online shopping, making phone calls and gaming also scored highly as a bedtime distraction [17%, 14% and 14% respectively].
Artis continues,“Technology has become a bad bed-fellow in most households, and we are increasingly seeing people sacrifice quality sleep in favour of catching up on streaming series or going down a rabbit warren on social media.
“More than just tiredness, lack of sleep heightens the risk of multiple health conditions including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Studies have also proven that sleeping for fewer than seven hours per night can hinder required focus, allowing greater risk for accidents at work or behind the wheel”.
Worryingly, the data from Simba, showed over 2 million* adults across the country drink alcohol in bed.
Almost two thirds of respondents [63%] who routinely drink alcohol in bed reported an increased sleep deficit, regularly getting less than seven hours sleep a night, with nearly a half [44%] experiencing poor levels of sleep.
Of these, 40% described their mental health as ‘poor’, with a similar amount reporting lower than average levels of life satisfaction [43%].
Similarly, over a quarter of adults who routinely use their bed for work [27%], reported that their level of stress has increased as a result of working while tucked up.
When it comes to age, England’s 18-24 year old’s notch up the most sleep ‘stealing’ activities per week [6.7 on average] and are the generation who work and study in bed the most. They even submit tax returns and join virtual meetings from their mattresses more than any other generation.
Interestingly, Oxfordshire reports the highest levels of working in bed [18%], with Derbyshire and Hertfordshire in second and third [both 10%].
Midnight splurging, however, is a domain owned by 25-34 year old’s who report the highest levels of online shopping when tucked up in bed [24%]. In contrast, this age bracket also uses their mattresses for meditation and mindfulness most.
Conversely, those aged 45-54 lead the way in using their mattresses purely for sleep, sex and sickness alone [26%].
"Your bed isn't just a physical space – it's a psychological cue for your brain”, continues Artis.
“By reserving it for sleep, intimacy, and recovery from illness, you're training your brain to recognise the purpose of this environment.
“Based on solid sleep science, this mental association helps trigger the right response when you lay down. You capitalise on a psychological phenomenon called 'stimulus control’ - which means your brain forms a strong connection between your bed and sleep, enhancing your ability to fall asleep faster and enjoy more restful nights.
In contrast, using it for other activities blurs these associations, potentially compromising sleep onset and quality.”
“It’s really important to pay attention to sleep hygiene. After all, one of the best ways to set yourself up for solid sleep is to create an environment that will support quality slumber; and it starts with a good quality mattress”, Artis added.
Simba’s data also puts a stark spotlight on the impact of shared housing in relation to bad bed behaviours.
People in England who live in a flat or house share report the highest levels of sleep-stealing activities a week [6.5 activities a week on average]. While nearly two thirds [67%] say they regularly sleep for less than seven hours a night.
“When it comes to the regions, we have clear bedtime winners and those who “could do better”, says Artis.
North Yorkshire [35%], Dorset [34%] and Northamptonshire [33%] lead the way as the areas in England that use their mattresses for just sleep, sex and sickness alone.
However, Warwickshire recorded the highest levels of sleep disruptive bedtime activities once a week or more [7.73 on average], with residents regularly watching television, scrolling on social media, making phone calls and booking travel.
Of these, over two thirds [70%] fail to get more than seven hours of rest per night, with nearly one in three [30%] describing their sleep quality as poor. What’s more, almost a quarter [24%] rated their mental health as poor, while 36% also revealed their exercise levels are also below par.
Bedfordshire came in close second, using their bed for an average of 7.18 sleep deducing activities per week, followed by Rutland [7.13].
Steve Reid, CEO and Co-founder of Simba concludes: "A good night's sleep is the bedrock of building a good quality life and wellbeing, and as our study shows, using your mattress for three ’S’s’ alone plays a big part in experiencing good quality sleep.
“Life is busy though and tech habits are hard to kick - so it’s no wonder other activities bunk up with us in bed.
“We’re on a mission to bring better sleep to all. It’s often hard to switch off at night, but taking time out and considering your sleep hygiene routine and how we can create a more positive bedroom environment will only help people benefit from a good night’s sleep.”