Covid-19 update: We're still open online and delivering. All precautions are being taken to keep our staff and community safe.
Back to blog

From Norwich to Newcastle, Which UK City is the Best for Sleep?

Jonathan Warren

17.02.2020

Sleep

Jonathan Warren

There are many factors that can help or hinder our sleep each night. A classic, sturdy wooden bed can be a great way of helping us get the shut eye we need, only for our partner to steal the covers and wake us from our slumber. These are typical influences on nightly sleep, but is the city you live in also having an impact?

To find out, we went up and down the country asking residents of the UK’s major cities about their nightly sleep. This helped us reveal the best (and worst) cities for sleep.

What We Did

To gather our data, we surveyed 2,000 people spread across 20 major UK cities. They were asked the following two questions:

  1. Sleep per night: How much sleep do you get on an average night?
  2. Sleep quality: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your quality of sleep?

Each city was then given an average for each factor based on the responses from its residents. The averages were then converted into two percentile scores, each out of 100, and added together for a total score out of 200.

The Results

The methodology above gives us the top 10 UK cities for sleep in the following order:

Position

City

Score (out of 200)

1.

London

180

2.

Glasgow

165

3.

Manchester

150

4.

Edinburgh

145

5.

Leeds

143

6.

Norwich

135

7.

Nottingham

135

8.

Southampton

133

9.

Cardiff

125

10.

Birmingham

118

 

Despite a reputation for fast-paced lifestyles and busy schedules, no UK city could better the residents of London, who sleep more soundly than anyone else in the country.

With the exception of Northern Ireland, each country in the UK receives some recognition in the top 10. Scotland features heavily, with Glasgow and Edinburgh both in the top four, and Welsh capital Cardiff also makes it in. Ensuring the north and south of England aren’t left out, Manchester, Leeds and Southampton all take up positions in the top 10.

The Top 3

  1. London

Sleep per night: 6 hours and 24 minutes (2nd overall)

Sleep quality: 6.46 out of 10 (4th overall)

Londoners seem perfectly capable of coping with the hustle and bustle of the capital, with no distractions keeping them from a good night’s sleep. Only the people of Leicester (with 6 hours 37 minutes) get on average more sleep every night than London’s 6 hours 24 minutes. In fact, almost eight in ten (79%) get at least 6 hours every night – the minimum the NHS suggests for adults.

The quality of sleep is good too. Only residents of Cardiff (6.57), Edinburgh (6.56) and Norwich (6.53) rate their night’s kip higher than those in London.

  1. Glasgow

Sleep per night: 6 hours and 15 minutes (3rd overall)

Sleep quality: 6.39 out of 10 (6th overall)

Head up north of the border and you’ll find the second-best UK city for getting your head down. Glasgow ran London close on our sleep per night factor; at 6 hours and 15 minutes, the average Glaswegian gets just nine minutes less sleep a night than Londoners.

Rival Scottish city Edinburgh actually beats Glasgow on the quality of sleep residents get. At 6.39, Glasgow finished four places below Scotland’s capital in sixth. However, Edinburgh’s eleventh placed finish for sleep per night saw it drop to fifth overall – allowing Glasgow to add Scotland’s best city for sleep to its second-place finish across the UK.

  1. Manchester  

Sleep per night: 6 hours and 12 minutes (5th overall)

Sleep quality: 6.36 out of 10 (7th overall)

The north of England also makes it onto the podium, taking third place. Fellow northern city Leeds was placed one spot higher for hours of sleep per night (6 hours and 13 minutes, just a single minute more than Manchester!), but its inferior performance on quality of sleep (6.33) saw it slip down to fifth overall.

Over three-quarters (76%) of Mancunians get at least 6 hours of sleep a night. Combined with a seventh-place finish on sleep quality, they managed to hold off Edinburgh for third place by just five points.

The UK’s Worst City for Sleep

For every city that’s a great place to sleep, there has to be a city that doesn’t fare so well. Our study looked at 20 cities in total – so which made up the bottom positions as the worst cities in the UK for sleep?

That unwanted title goes to Hull, who finished in the bottom two places for both our factors. At just 5 hours and 20 minutes, the people of Hull get less sleep per night than any other city in the country.

They didn't fare much better on the quality of sleep. With a score of 6 out of 10, they have the second-lowest quality of sleep across the country, in front of only Leicester (5.58). Here are the 10 worst cities in the UK for sleep:

Position

City

Score (out of 200)

1.

Hull

15

2.

Belfast

35

3.

Bristol

53

4.

Coventry

55

5.

Sheffield

70

6.

Brighton

73

7.

Newcastle

75

8.

Plymouth

78

9.

Leicester

105

10.

Liverpool

115


5 Tips for Better Sleep

No matter what city you sleep in, you can make some minor tweaks to your bedroom and nightly habits to help see you off soundly to sleep. Here are five quick tips for better sleep.

  1. Sleep starts with a good bed

Without a comfortable bed that’s just right for you, you have no chance of getting a good kip each night. Be it a stylish sleigh bed that steals the show in your bedroom, or a storage bed that allows you to declutter for a zen-like environment, choosing the right bed for you is the first step to quality sleep.

  1. Get the environment right

Once the bed is sorted, turn your attention to the rest of the bedroom. Minimise any potential distractions that could get between you and a good night’s sleep. For example, if external light is an issue, invest in a good pair of curtains or blinds to block it out. Elsewhere, if you tend to let your dog in at night, try and shut them out. They only lead to a more uncomfortable night’s sleep.

  1. Regularly wash and replace sheets

Our previous research has shown what bacteria lurks in your bedsheets after just a month without washing them. Dirty bedsheets are going to hinder your ability to sleep, with grease and dirt making for discomfort in the night. Be sure to clean them at least once every two weeks.

  1. Switch off electronics  

Smartphones, TVs and laptops are a big part of our lives, but they’re also a big distraction when we should be sleeping. If you can, put your phone out of sight in a drawer and keep it on silent. Using electronics before bed keeps our brains active long after we’ve put them down. Reach for a book for a peaceful way to wind down.

  1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol    

What you take in can also have a big impact on your ability to sleep – especially drinks. Caffeine is the biggest pre-bed drink to avoid; it’s energy-boosting effects will leave you staring at the ceiling long into the night. Alcohol is also one to avoid. It might help you to nod off initially, but alcohol limits the amount of deep sleep you get and leaves you feeling groggy in the morning.

There may be external factors influencing your ability to get a good night’s sleep, but our research shows how you can overcome these. Some people consider London to be the loudest and most distracting city in the UK, but that doesn’t seem to stop the people who live there from getting the sleep they need.

About the author

Jonathan Warren

Jonathan Warren

Time4Sleep owner