The UK has some of the worst sleeping habits in the world, with an astonishing 38% us reporting that they don’t get enough asleep during the night in a recent survey commissioned by Aviva health insurance. That’s compared to just 7% of people in India and 11% of people in China believing that they are suffering from a sleeping problem.

So, what’s different with us in the UK, what makes our sleeping habits so bad? Especially when it comes to our men, who have a 41% report rate of a bad night’s sleep in comparison to 35% of woman.

Well the Aviva survey, which surveyed 1000 people across 14 countries, gave insight into what might be the British sleeping issue. It seems that we are too invested in society’s ideals to sleep 8 hours every night, even if our bodies don’t like to sleep that way.

Sleep DoctorIn fact, Dr Michael Breus (pictured), known as the sleep doctor, has suggested that each of us might instead fall into one of four categories – or tribes – of sleeper that are based on animals. Each animal – dolphin, bear, wolf or lion – functions to a slightly different sleeping schedule, such as being awake earlier in the morning or being more energetic at night. Due to each animal – or person – having their own natural rhythm, then each person in the tribe should approach how they sleep differently.

The tribes are as follows:


A dolphin will be a light sleeper. This person will often wake up feeling unrefreshed, but as the day progresses will feel more energised. Dolphin personality types tend to be introverted and cautious as well as being intelligent. You’ll also find you work better by yourself than in part of of a team and your sleeping issues tend to be anxiety-induced insomnia, so to improve your sleep you should address this stress.


Bear sleepers will wake up numerous times during the night, making them feel like they’ve had a series of naps rather than a full sleep. However, they will feel productive by mid-morning, but could benefit from an afternoon nap. At night you fall asleep easier, but don’t feel like you sleep enough. Bears are friendly and open-minded, they work at optimal levels sleeping 8 hours a night and will often feel hungry.


A lion sleeper will wake early in the morning and will be super productive until early afternoon, where you will start to feel tired. During the sleep you enjoy a long, deep sleep with little or no waking. A lion will be a practical and optimistic person and will prioritise health and fitness – in fact a lion thrives on achieving goals. You will often find CEOs are after lion sleepers.


A wolf will feel like they are not in sync with others, finding it incredibly difficult to get up in the mornings. You probably find that you need to set multiple alarms to get up in time. You’ll feel most awake after 7pm and often find yourselves awake after midnight. A wolf will be impulsive, creative and can often be moody, this makes them prone to anxiety.

Once you’ve matched your own sleeping style to one of the animals above, you can then take steps to change your sleeping and lifestyle habits based on this sleeping spirit animal by reading Dr Breus’s personality guide here.