Good sleep protects against negative outcomes, and those who sleep poorly are at higher risk of functional decline and depression Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: About nine in ten people in the UAE are not getting the ideal eight hours of sleep a night, a new survey has revealed.

The sleep survey, commissioned by Swedish retailer Ikea, revealed that out of nearly 5,000 people polled in the UAE, about 90 per cent are not getting the perfect rest, with the majority (46.42 per cent) sleeping only for seven hours a night.

What is more worrying is that more than a third are seriously deprived, with 32.42 per cent admitting their nightly shut-eye averages only six hours.

The survey also found that one in three respondents miss out on five to nine hours of sleep a week and if they could, they would take back an equivalent of two and a half weeks’ worth of sleep a year.

How much sleep other people are getting

A smaller portion of residents (9.64 per cent) said they are sleeping for only five hours each night, while 1.76 per cent are able to sleep for four hours. The lucky ones who get the luxury of more than eight hours nightly represent only 9.15 per cent of the population.

How long do you sleep at night?

More than 8 hours 9.15 per cent
7 hours 46.42 per cent
6 hours 32.42 per cent
5 hours 9.64 per cent
4 hours 1.76 per cent
Less than 4 hours 0.62 per cent

When asked what is preventing them from getting a good rest each night, UAE residents pointed to work stress, kids and technology as the major factors.

However, nearly one in four said they would give up their own partner for an extra hour in bed each day, while 48 per cent said they’re willing to give up social media.

Technology is one of the factors affecting most people’s bedroom habits, with half of the respondents saying they look at their phone before they speak to their partner in the morning and on average, 60 per cent would look at their gadget within five minutes of waking up.

“Sleep is a very emotive subject, it’s personal to all of us and something that we are very protective of. But with busy lives and technology always by our side, we can sometimes struggle to get the quality hours we need to wake up feeling refreshed and revived,” noted Vinod Jayan, managing director for Ikea UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman.

The survey was conducted among 4,672 respondents in the UAE from January 31 to February 6, 2018.

Getting a good night's sleep is important to one's health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 26 to 64 years old should ideally sleep for seven to nine hours a night.

In order to get the much-needed rest each night, people should take into consideration the environment they sleep in.

“To enhance your sleep and relaxation, you don’t need to give up the things you love most in life, but it is important to not only focus on the mattress and bed that you choose, but also the surrounds of where you sleep,” said Vinod

How to get a good night's sleep

Listen: A podcast on how to get a good night sleep


The National Sleep Foundation has also shared the following tips to help people sleep well:

1. Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes . A short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance. 

2. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.

3. Exercise.  As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality.  For the best night’s sleep, most people should avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime. However, the effect of intense nighttime exercise on sleep differs from person to person, so find out what works best for you.  

4. Steer clear of food that can be disruptive right before sleep.   Heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion for some people. When this occurs close to bedtime, it can lead to painful heartburn that disrupts sleep.

5. Ensure adequate exposure to natural light.  This is particularly important for individuals who may not venture outside frequently. Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

6. Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine.  A regular nightly routine helps the body recognise that it is bedtime. This could include taking warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches. When possible, try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before attempting to sleep.

7. Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant.  Mattress and pillows should be comfortable. The bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees – for optimal sleep. Bright light from lamps, cell phone and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn those light off or adjust them when possible. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise" machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing.