Revealing how prominent sleep disorders are in adults in England

Sleep is one of the most important functions for our body's physical and mental health, allowing us to recoup energy that has been spent throughout the day and prepare ourselves to put our best foot forward in the morning. It is one of the most vital ways of ensuring that we take care of ourselves – however, many across England sadly are unable to get the correct amount of sleep required, which can have significant impacts on their mental and physical well-being.

Sleep disorders – health conditions that negatively affect your ability to sleep – come in many forms and are highly prevalent worldwide. However, despite their commonality, there are still many that may be suffering in silence with their sleep.

Here at Click Pharmacy, we wanted to better understand how prominent sleep disorders are in England and how many adults are seeking treatment for sleep-related issues. To find out more, we looked into official statistics to determine the number of sleep studies that are conducted on a monthly basis and their average waiting times, alongside the number of people with Sleep Medicine Service appointments for each month.

An Introduction to sleep studies

To understand the number of people that struggle with sleep disorders across the country, we have to look at those undergoing 'sleep studies'. This refers to a diagnosis process in which your breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels, and movements are monitored while you sleep during an overnight investigation.

These factors are monitored by hooking a patient up to several pieces of medical equipment – including heart rate monitors, movement sensors, blood oxygen finger probes, and more. This process is used to identify the symptoms of various sleep disorders and to establish the type of treatment required to relieve these symptoms.

How prominent are sleep studies?

Our research found that sleep studies have become increasingly more prominent over time.

We looked at data from 2006 all the way up to 2023 – and found that the number of sleep studies conducted in 2023 was over three times higher than those in 2006. For example, in January 2006, there were 3,614 sleep studies conducted throughout the month. This is in contrast to the 12,808 sleep studies that were carried out in January 2023.

We found that the waiting times for appointments have actually decreased with time. In January 2006, the waiting time for a sleep study was 7.9 weeks – with similar waiting times persisting up until January 2007. In contrast, the waiting times in 2023 were significantly lower – with just a 4.4-week wait for an appointment in April 2023.

Up until 2014, the number of monthly sleep studies remained below 10,000. However, in July of 2014, there were 10,497 sleep studies conducted for the first time. After this time, the number of studies remained mostly above 10,000 up until the most recent data that was looked at in April 2023.

The lowest recorded number of sleep studies was in April 2020, during which only 1,530 studies were conducted. Similarly, May 2020 also recorded low numbers of sleep studies (2,108). Despite these being the two lowest recorded numbers of sleep studies since these studies first started in 2006, the waiting time for these studies was considerably longer than other months.

In April 2020, there was a 7.2-week wait for a sleep study. And similarly, in May 2020, there was an even longer wait at 10.6 weeks – the longest waiting time out of any month since January 2006.

Overall, we found that there have been a total of 1,825,571 sleep studies conducted in the time between January 2006 and April 2023.

Regions with the biggest number of sleep studies

We looked at regional sleep study data from 2012 up until 2023 to determine which regions have seen the highest number of sleep studies in total.

Broken down by region in England, the area that has seen the most sleep studies conducted is London, which recorded 286,182 sleep studies between 2012 and 2023. In the period between January-April 2023 alone, London saw 12,982 sleep studies – far higher than any other region and equating to 4.53% of the region's total sleep studies.

This is followed by the East of England, with 192,289 sleep studies – 5,891 of which were recorded between January-April 2023 – and the North West with 170,990 sleep studies since 2012, recording 5,656 in 2023 so far.

In contrast, the East Midlands saw just 56,727 sleep studies since 2012, having recorded 2,832 between January and April 2023 – with the North East recording 75,101 studies in total since 2012 and 2,909 so far in 2023.

Additionally, the South East has recorded 156,246 sleep studies in total since 2012, with 5,292 being recorded so far in 2023. Likewise, Yorkshire & The Humber recorded 145,420 studies between 2012 and 2023, having seen 4,785 between January-April of 2023. The West Midlands saw 144,632 sleep studies between 2012 and 2023 in total, recording 6,272 in 2023 so far.

Finally, the South West recorded a total of 121,570 sleep studies from 2012 to 2023, of which 6,028 were between January-April of this year.


Regions with the highest number of sleep studies per capita

By analysing sleep study data per capita, we are able to visualise the regions struggling the most with their sleep. 2023's data - available from January through to April of this year - revealed London as the region with the highest amount of sleep studies per capita (14.4).

Furthermore, the North East (10.9), South West (10.7) and West Midlands (10.6) also ranked high for sleep study tests per 10,000 people. On the other end of the scale, the South East (5.7) and East Midlands (5.9) regions ranked as the lowest for sleep studies in accordance with population.

sleep studies per capita 


Tests per 10,000 people



North East


South West


West Midlands


East Of England


Yorkshire & The Humber


North West


East Midlands


South East


Revealing the extent of Sleep Medicine service appointments

For those that undergo sleep studies and are diagnosed with a sleep condition, this may lead to a referral to the NHS Sleep Medicine service, which is able to provide specialist treatment and therapy to aid in a better night's sleep. We wanted to know how many are seeking out appointments with the Sleep Medicine service.

In total between the 30th of April 2021 and 2023, there have been 61,020 Sleep Medicine service appointments in total. Of those, 25,278 appointments were between January and April 2023. The month of March 2023 saw the highest number of appointments overall, at 7,132 appointments in total.

In contrast, April 2021 saw the fewest appointments of any month, recording just 89 appointments in total. Interestingly, April-December 2021 saw only 2,263 appointments overall – far lower than any of the years following.

Overall, the year of 2022 recorded 33,479 Sleep Medicine service appointments – making up 54.86% of all appointments since April 2021.

How supplements can aid with sleep

For those struggling with attaining a substantial amount of sleep, there are a number of natural and pharmaceutical supplements available that can aid in reducing insomnia and allowing people to get the rest they need.

These supplements range from herbal tablets to over-the-counter medications that can be prescribed by a GP. Herbal supplements such as Kalms Day and Kalms Night both contain an active ingredient known as valerian root - a plant that has been known to assist with improving sleep quality and helping people fall asleep quicker.

Over-the-counter medications such as Sominex contain promethazine hydrochloride, a drug that can also prove useful to those struggling with sleep. Promethazine is an antihistamine and therefore gives off a drowsy effect, allowing people to fall asleep at quicker speeds.

Overall, if you feel you may benefit from sleep supplements, natural or otherwise, an honest and open discussion with a GP can help draw up the best next steps and locate medication suitable to your needs.

Final thoughts

Throughout this research, we were interested to see how the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders have changed throughout England over time. Our research has found that there has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking out Sleep Medicine appointments and undergoing sleep studies, which implies that the number of people struggling to get a good night's sleep has risen substantially in recent years.

In particular, it was interesting to note the drastic regional differences between the number of sleep studies being conducted – with London scoring significantly higher than other regions across the country. Overall, it was concerning to see that so many people are suffering from sleep disorders – however, it was positive to see that so many are actively receiving help for their lack of sleep.

If you are in need of medical advice about a lack of sleep or require any further information regarding prescription treatment – including sleep aids to help with various sleep disorders – please reach out to us at Click Pharmacy.

We are always available to provide you with help sourcing prescriptions at your local pharmacies, alongside providing expert advice on medical treatments or ailments that you may be unsure about.


Sleep study data was taken from NHS England's Monthly Diagnostic Waiting Times and Activity data series and represents the number of appointments for sleep studies within NHS England, including those attended and booked. 2023 data covers the months from January through April. For all other years, the figures cover the full 12 months.

Figures were broken down by region based on the geographic location of the NHS Provider where sleep study appointments were made.

Similarly, figures were broken down by the NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) based on the ICB a given NHS provider falls under. Population estimates for NHS ICBs were taken from the NHS England website.

Data on Sleep Medicine Service Appointments was taken from the NHS England's Provisional Monthly Hospital Episode Statistics for Admitted Patient Care, Outpatient and Accident and Emergency data series and represents the number of consultant-led appointments with Sleep Medicine service in the NHS for the period for which the data was available.

Data was collected in June 2023.

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