The Sleep Problem: More than 1 in 3 people suffer from poor sleep

The Sleep Problem: More than 1 in 3 people suffer from poor sleep

Poor sleep affects your physical and mental wellbeing, your energy, resilience, your ability to think clearly and function effectively at home or work, and it can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. 

Our research of 1,503 people highlights the scale of the sleep issues*. It shows more than 1 in 3 of us (37%) have sleep issues, saying we often struggle to sleep or are insomniacs. Only 1 in 5 of us say we have no problems sleeping!

At DR.VEGAN® we’re passionate about simplifying nutrition, helping you understand your diet and lifestyle to make healthier choices. Our range of sleep supplements are effective for those with occasional sleep issues through to insomniacs. Discover the key headlines from our research. 

Exercise and sleep

We all know exercise is important for our general health and wellbeing, and research shows it's just as important for sleep. 

People who do no exercise each week are significantly more likely to suffer from poor sleep compared to those who exercise 2-5 hours a week or more. 

That said, exercise isn't always a cure for a good nights sleep - the research shows more than 30% of us suffer from poor sleep even when we do more than 5 hours of exercise a week. This can often be due to over-active adrenal glands producing cortisol, your stress hormone, which inhibits melatonin, your sleep hormone, particularly among those who exercise in the evening. Learn more in 'What is cortisol'. 

However the research conclusively shows poor sleep is much more common among those who do no exercise.  

Diet and sleep

Our research shows poor sleep is less common among people who have adjusted their diet from a general 'eat everything' or omnivore diet to a diet better suited to them, whether that's flexitarian, pescatarian, plant-based or something more specific.

Learn more about how your diet can help your sleep.

We defined an 'Adjusted Diet' as anyone who said they follow a flexitarian (plant-based with occasional inclusion of meat), pescatarian (plant-based and fish, but not meat), vegetarian or vegan diet. You may enjoy our article 'Mistakes to avoid on a plant-based diet'.

The research shows, however, that changes to diet on its own doesn't solve  sleep issues. 

Sleep and stress

Stress has long been known to be bad for sleep, and our research reinforces this. More than 4 in 10 people in our survey describe their stress levels as high or overwhelming, and only 1 in 10 describe themselves as stress free. These are alarming statistics, however the impact of stress on sleep is perhaps even more revealing. It shows poor sleep is twice as common among people with high levels of stress than those who describe their stress as 'manageable'.

High levels of anxiety or stress raise your cortisol levels - cortisol is your stress hormone, and is a natural hormone that drives our 'flight or fight' response to danger. Cortisol inhibits our body's production of melatonin, our sleep hormone, which is why those with higher levels of cortisol in the evenings are much more likely to suffer sleep problems. It's why cortisol is one of the most common causes of poor sleep. Learn more in 'What is cortisol?'.

Reducing anxiety and levels of stress has a direct impact on improving our sleep. Equally, better sleep improves our body's resistance to anxiety and stress.  Ashwagandha helps lower cortisol and is commonly taken in the evenings by those who suffer poor sleep, helping lower cortisol and allowing the body to produce melatonin. Discover our Ashwagandha KSM-66 for lowering cortisol and relieving stress and anxiety. You may also enjoy our blog 'Foods and vitamins to relieve anxiety'.

Age and sleep

Poor sleep consistently affects 3 in 10 of us between the age of 18 and 44.  However, once we reach 45, poor sleep affects more than 4 in 10 of us. 

Changes in our hormones as we age, particularly among women during the menopause, lifestyle and family demands contribute to a likelihood of suffering poor sleep. 


There is no single winning ingredient to a great night's sleep, or conversely it is unlikely just one thing will cause regular poor sleep. 

However the research shows common factors among those who don't experience any problems with poor sleep:

  • 8 out of 10 do at least 1-2 hours of exercise each week. 
  • 7 out of 10 describe their stress levels as manageable or better. 
  • 6 out of 10 are on a flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet. 

To learn how your diet can help support a good night's sleep, read our short article: 'Foods & nutrients that can help and hinder sleep'.  

Discover our range of vegan vitamins and supplements.

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