There’s A Reason You Couldn’t Sleep Last Night

by : Cameron Frew on : 30 Mar 2020 18:59
There's A Reason You Couldn't Sleep Last NightThere's A Reason You Couldn't Sleep Last NightPexels

The UK appeared to suffer a bout of unprecedented ‘insomnia’ last night, as the nation took to Twitter amid the tossing and turning. How did this happen?

This morning, the #cantsleep hashtag was trending. Click it, and you’ll see a swathe of wide-awake tweeters complaining through each hand of the clock, seemingly unable to rest their eyes.

Millions of people suffer from insomnia – which isn’t the same as just having a rough night’s sleep – but it is rather strange to see such a surge of Brits battling to sleep. Don’t worry – you’re not ‘part of a cult’ as some have feared. If you fell into this camp, there’s a perfectly rational explanation.


Think about the storm of events that’s occurred the past week. Naturally, people are a bit anxious as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise all across the world. The UK was recently put on a de facto partial lockdown, with folks only allowed to leave the house if they’re going to the shops for essential goods or exercising, or if they’re a key worker.

To pile onto the mental toll of that situation, good ol’ British summertime came into effect as the clocks went forward, causing us to lose an hour of our sleep the night before last, March 28.


Let the Sleep Geek himself reassure you. James Wilson spoke to Tyla about why a huge abundance of people became night owls.

He explained: 

The people who were sharing the #cantsleep hashtag on twitter last night and this morning have being struck by a double whammy. The change in routine and anxiety caused by the coronavirus, coupled with the slight jetlag effect of the clocks changing. We are told we need to stick to our routine, but are we sticking to a routine that we had for a normal working week?

We’re all adjusting to a quieter life indoors in line with government measures to limit the spread of the virus. James says we need to restructure our daily routines, from sleeping to exercise. ‘You may not be moving as much and not getting the usual exercise you do. Try and take as much exercise as you can, and get lots of light exposure, particularly earlier in the day,’ he said.


He added: ‘Naps can be a great energy boost, and they can fill in the boredom during the day, but they do reduce our sleep urge at night and can be quite damaging to us sticking to a sleep routine.’

His advice is echoed by Christabel Majendie, a sleep expert and consultant at The Family Practice, who attributed last night’s tidal wave of non-sleepers to ‘a bit of a build up from the last few weeks’.

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She told Bristol Live

The focus, during this time, should be on good sleep hygiene, such as lifestyle factors and setting up the bedroom environment to improve sleep and stress management. I would also suggest that people do not work in the bedroom and instead keep this room for sleep, and that they try to get out in the daylight for an hour in the morning and dim lights in the evening.

We’re all guilty of a cheeky five/20/45-minute scroll on our phones before finally trying to get some shut-eye – alas, it’s a habit we must curb if we want to sleep better (especially with a constant stream of coronavirus information fueling your news feeds).


James added: ‘Keep the couple of hours before bed coronavirus free, so don’t watch the news or discuss with family. Watch, read or listen to something funny, repetitive or trashy to allow your brain to wander.’

Here’s to a sound night’s rest tonight – sleep tight, everyone.

It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.

Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Health, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Insomnia, Self-Isolation, Sleep


Tyla and 2 others
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  3. Bristol Live

    Sleep expert explains why people across UK slept badly last night