This is how much sleep the government is urging you to get each night

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
Audrey Hepburn sleeping

The government is due to publish official guidelines on how much sleep we should be getting, and some of the details are pretty worrying.

Getting a good night’s sleep often proves to be tricky for many of us. Burnout, anxiety and diet are just some of the common factors that prevent getting some serious shut eye. And, despite the numerous relaxing podcasts and books out there which are proven to promote sleep, some of us are just natural night owls.

But new official guidelines on sleep are set to be published by the government, as a response to the health implications that often come with bad sleeping habits.

You may also like

Night-time anxiety: how to deal with feelings of stress and worry before bed

According to health secretary Matt Hancock’s public health green paper, seen by The Times, ministers are backing proposals to give advice on “sleep hygiene” to improve general public health.

Within the guidelines, it is expected to state that regularly getting less than seven hours of sleep per night could damage most people’s health.

It reports that “failure to sleep between seven and nine hours a night is associated with physical and mental health problems, including an increased risk of obesity, strokes, heart attacks, depression and anxiety”.

You may also like

Night anxiety: How this small change to your morning routine could prevent panic attacks during the night

Hancock is reported to be supportive of the proposals but, as the guidelines will be given according to age brackets, he will likely emphasise that they are not meant to be prescriptive to the population at large. 

Previous studies have shown that the risk of diabetes increases with less than seven hours sleep. And research found that women working night shifts have a 30% higher chance of getting breast cancer

With such severe health issues being a serious risk associated with sleep, it’s thought that this new official advice will be presented in the same way as alcohol and obesity guidelines.

Tips for improving your sleep pattern

A recent study showed how sleep patterns could be improved in just three weeks. 

The research, carried out by scientists at universities in the UK and Australia, suggested that simple techniques really can make a huge difference – including keeping consistent bedtimes, avoiding caffeine and getting plenty of morning sunshine.

Here are the simple changes that participants were instructed to make:

- Wake up two-three hours earlier than usual and get plenty of outdoor light in the morning

- Eat breakfast as soon as possible

- Exercise only in the morning

- Have lunch at the same time every day and eat nothing after 7pm

- Banish caffeine after 3pm

- Have no naps after 4pm

- Go to bed two-three hours earlier than usual and limit light in the evenings

- Maintain the same sleep and wake times every day

Find out more here. 

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do, and also receive our 11-page Ultimate Guide To Making Your Home Feel Bigger.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Image: Getty


Share this article


Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

Recommended by Hollie Richardson


"I’m exhausted and it’s the best" Eva Mendes on motherhood

The actress also reveals a baby photo

Posted by
Stylist Team

Women targeted by online abuse suffer panic attacks and trouble sleeping

Amnesty poll reveals damaging fallout from online threats

Posted by
Anna Brech

10 proven ways to get a great night's sleep

10 proven ways to get a great night's sleep

Posted by
Stylist Team