Brits obsessed with tech between the sheets

’tis the season for surveys commissioned by hotels. We’ve discovered that kids prefer family trips to Christmas presents, and now we’re finding out more about Britain’s bedtime habits.

Before you get too excited, thinking this is a survey about sex, it’s more to do with technology and social networking. While things aren’t quite as dramatic as virtual adultery, it does seem as if bed is the place many Brits love to connect online with their friends.

Travelodge surveyed 6,000 adults and found, on average, they spent 16 minutes each night on social networking sites from their beds. The peak chatting time is 9.45pm, which sounds a bit early for bedtime to me but perhaps it saves on central heating bills.

Around one in five adults tweet in bed or catch up with the latest celebrity news and friends’ gossip on Twitter.

Two-thirds check their mobile phone as the last thing they do before falling asleep, and half check for missed messages as soon as they wake up.

Text messages are also a passion killer, it seems, with 20% of respondents admitting to stopping to read an incoming message during sex!

It’s not just social networks, either. A quarter of those surveyed do their grocery shopping from bed; 10% pay bills; 35% surf celebrity news sites; 47% shop for Christmas presents; one in ten of singles check dating websites.

Psychologist Corinne Sweet said that Britain has become a nation of ‘online-a-holics’.

“This addiction for social networking supports Maslow’s theory of humans having three basic needs. One of these being the need for love, affection, belonging and self-worth and Facebook provides the perfect solution to fulfil this requirement. By socially networking we can fulfil our need to communicate and share our news in one hit with all of our contacts across the world 24 / 7 and obtain a comprehensive snapshot of what they are up to at any given time.”

“Like all things there is a time and place and social networking should not take place between the sheets as it can be detrimental to our well being. By texting, tweeting, surfing and writing on our walls in bed we are nodding off with a busy mind which impacts upon our quality of sleep during the night. Bedtime should be associated with calming down and chilling out with a good book, listening to easy music, catching up with your partner or enjoying a love-making session; in order to get a night of deep, nourishing sleep. Make time earlier in the evening for social networking as it will help you distress after a hard day and prepare you for bedtime.”

As some final advice for those who are using a traditional alarm clock or a mobile phone substitute, Travelodge Sleep Director, Leigh McCarron said, “Alarm clocks have been shown to cause heart rhythm irregularities which can cause a heart attack. The alarm clock’s strident ringing tone can be a shock to the body and mind. My recommendation is to wake up naturally as the awakening is part of a natural sleep-wake cycle and it can help you feel less groggy. Make your last thought before sleeping to be your intention to wake up at a particular time and sleep in complete darkness to aid a natural wake-up call.”