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We’ve all been there. You’ve been lying in bed for what feels like an eternity, you’re trying to resist the temptation of checking (or rechecking) the time, which is edging ever-closer to your morning alarm, and your mind is conducting a mental Roll Call of every stressful,  embarrassing, or regrettable moment you’ve ever experienced. 

Being unable to get to sleep is, unfortunately, a common phenomenon. 

Very common in fact; a recent national study found as many as 16 million adults living in the UK suffered from sleepless nights. What’s more, a third of these adults also said they had insomnia, and nearly a quarter slept no more than five hours every night. 

But why is this? 


Studies have linked high-powered/pressured careers, relationship problems and financial difficulties to the issue, and most commonly a combination of stress-factors impact sleep wellness. 

One recent study  by Sleep Education correlated issues with falling (and staying) asleep to living in cities, claiming that those living in bigger, busier cities were more likely to be more regularly sleep deprived. 

With this mind, we wanted to find out where the most sleep deprived places in Britain actually were. Here’s what we found.

Key findings


  • The results were much more of a mixed bag than initially envisaged. Not only were major cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester less sleep-deprived than expected, but smaller towns often associated with relaxation and a slower way of life were found to have residents that were much more prone to being unable to sleep. 
  • The most sleep deprived place in the UK was Harrogate in Yorkshire, with the greatest number of searches for the phrase “why can’t I sleep?” in Google per capita. 
  • The second and third most sleep deprived locations were Bangor (Wales) and Inverness (Scotland)
  • Scotland occupied 3 of the 5 most sleep-deprived locations in Britain 
  • Of all 45 locations, London had the lowest number of searches for the phrase “why can’t I sleep” per capita, making it the least sleep deprived place in the country. 



Position Town/City No. of monthly searches Population
1 Harrogate 89.43 14500
2 Bangor 89.43 18,322
3 Inverness 268.28 70,000
4 Glasgow 1,429.10 633,120
5 Castleford 89.43 43,625
6 Wokingham 87.71 46,745
7 Yeovil 89.43 48,615
8 Woking 177.13 105,367
9 Aberdeen 357.71 228,670
10 Basingstoke 177.13 113,776
11 Perth 178.85 151,950
12 Scunthorpe 89.43 82,334
13 Birkenhead 89.43 88,818
14 Northwich 89.43 100,700
15 Edinburgh 426.5 524,930
16 Carlisle 87.71 108,678
17 Northampton 178.85 224,610
18 Oldham 178.85 237,110
19 Coventry 266.56 371,521
20 Stoke-on-Trent 175.41 256,127
21 St Albans 89.43 147,095
222 Dundee 87.71 149,320
23 Dudley 178.85 305,321
24 Windsor 87.71 151,422
25 Doncaster 178.85 311,890
26 Huddersfield 89.43 162,949
27 Bury 89.43 187,474
28 Bournemouth 89.43 197,383
29 Peterborough 87.71 202,259
30 Solihull 89.43 217,487
31 Liverpool 178.85 496,784
32 Rotherham 89.43 265,411
33 Newcastle-under-Lyme 89.43 300,820
34 Portsmouth 72.23 248,929
35 Belfast 89.43 343,542
36 Leicester 87.71 357,394
37 Birmingham 266.56 1149000
38 Bristol 87.71 467,099
39 Canterbury 89.43 526,000
40 Durham 89.43 527,035
41 Bradford 89.43 542,128
42 Manchester 89.43 553,230
43 Sheffield 89.43 589,214
44 Leeds 89.43 792,525
45 London 980.25 8982000




We used Google’s local Keyword Planner tool to find out how many times the question “why can’t I sleep” had been asked in cities and towns around the UK. 

Once we had this data, we found a monthly average for each place. 

We then used the most up-to-date ONS data to find out the populations of each place and used this to work out the total percentage of residents searching for this question. 

To streamline our findings, we filtered our results by all locations with a population of 120,000 or higher. This gave us our final list of the top 45 most sleep-deprived towns and cities, which we’ve ordered from most to least sleep-deprived.