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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 23:56 GMT 00:56 UK
Modern life 'causes major stress'
Tired man in the office
Stress can cause sleepless nights
Modern life is causing "major stress" and sleepless nights, according to the results of two surveys.

More than half of 1,001 people surveyed by life assurance firm CPP said worries about identity theft, terrorism and health risks kept them awake at night.

Climate change and house prices were also found to make people anxious.

A survey of 1,700 people by Travelodge found 3% of adults get the recommended amount of sleep, with stress cited as the main cause of a restless night.

Results from the CPP poll suggests people feel more worried about a range of issues than they did five years ago.

Societal anxieties have risen sharply in the last five years and the trend looks set to continue
Dr David Lewis

The number one worry was identity theft, followed closely by rising house prices, climate change, NHS cutbacks and terrorist attacks.

Older people seemed to be more laid back than their younger counterparts with just 9% of people aged over 54 admitting to being deeply concerned about social and global problems compared with 15% of 18 to 34-year-olds.

Among the younger respondents to the survey, rising house prices and climbing onto the property ladder was the biggest worry.

And the younger generation were also more concerned with the threat of terrorist attacks.


Dr David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist at The Mind Lab, said many of the things raised as concerns were outside of people's control.

"The results of this survey, confirm that high levels of anxiety are prevalent in modern society.

"People feel themselves to be helpless.

"Societal anxieties have risen sharply in the last five years and the trend looks set to continue."

He added that when people felt under a lot of pressure it lead to sleepless nights which in turn made them less able to cope with events the next day.

The second survey carried out by Travelodge found very few adults get the recommended eight hours sleep a night.

The main reasons listed were stress and long working hours.

More than half said lack of sleep made them feel physically run down and reduced their concentration.

'Quick fixes'

Many also said it made them feel low and depressed.

The survey also reported that Britons are spending 6.7bn a year on quick fix rejuvenating cures, such as coffee and vitamins to help them cope with the effects of a bad night's sleep.

Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre said the findings showed sleep deprivation was a widespread problem.

"It's not necessarily the worries that wake you up, it's other things, but if you have got nothing else to do in the middle of the night you end up worrying."

He added that some aspects of modern life had affected sleeping patterns, such as less time to fit in sleeping and the brain having to process much more information.

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