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Mobile users spending 'precious sleep time' checking phones at night

Wednesday, October 28th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Almost one in three Britons (28%) can’t resist checking their mobile devices at night, leaving them starved of sleep, research has revealed.

Research commissioned by Vodafone showed that nearly half of the nation check their phone or emails before they go to sleep at night, while 60% check first thing in the morning.

The lack of sleep has led to one in three Britons (30%) sleeping through their stop on a commute, while 35% have turned up to work with their clothes inside out.

The study into digital behaviours was carried out by Vodafone and market research firm Bryter between 26 and 27 September, combining an in-depth study of 12 UK families with a survey of 2,103 UK respondents.

Vodafone said its new broadband service, which is available to nearly 22m premises across the UK, allows customers to switch off their wi-fi when they choose – taking control of when they go online.

Consumer director Cindy Rose said: “Striking a healthy balance between online and offline time is hugely important for families.

“Through our new broadband with its innovative companion app, we’re encouraging the nation to ensure they get the sleep they need by switching off from time-to-time, particularly when it’s time to go to bed.”

According to the research, nearly one in two Britons (46%) also admitted they are concerned their internet usage may negatively be affecting their family’s sleep.

More than half of respondents (55%) said they think they regularly stay up too late on a work night using connected devices to stream videos or check emails, with one in five parents (17%) struggling to get their children up for school due to them being up too late online.

'The Bank of Sleep'

Of those that sleep with devices next to them, one in four (23%) found their sleep was disturbed by having their phone next to them.

26% said they find it difficult to go back to sleep after checking their phone or emails.

Sleep expert Professor John Groeger, director of research at the Department of Psychology of the University of Hull, who partnered with Vodafone to evaluate the findings, said: “Most of us are overdrawn at the Bank of Sleep, and we simply can’t afford to spend precious sleep time on devices.

“Device use just before bed, or when we wake in the night, can make restless sleep caused by stress at work even worse.

“Light from screens can delay sleep, meaning we might make worse decisions through the day because we’re tired.

“Changing our pre-sleep routines and what we do when we wake in the night can hugely improve our sleep quality.”

Vodafone’s broadband service works with a companion app which gives users the ability to schedule when wi-fi is available, with customers able to set timers for the service to switch itself off.

Grouped settings such as ‘family’ also personalise the experience, allowing users to manage and set time limits on certain devices.

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