Brits admit they let their health slip over summer – with more alcohol and less sleep

A quarter of Brits are keen to get back into a healthy routine during the winter months, after letting their health slip over summer – due to drinking more alcohol, and sleeping less.

The warmer months saw one in five (19%) exercise less, as alcohol consumption went up for a quarter of the 2,000 adults polled.

And nearly three in ten (28%) fell into different sleeping patterns during the summer – while a fifth found themselves skipping breakfast, and then forgetting to take their daily vitamins or supplements.

But 26% plan to now start eating healthier, while 25% are keen to exercise more, and eat or drink products intended to boost immunity (21%).

More than two-thirds (69%) claim they have weak immunity, and 22% are keen to improve this – but are unsure how to.

Tom Hickton, at Actimel, which commissioned the research to launch its Immunity Report, said: “Our research shows that people across the UK want to give their immune systems some support as the seasons change, but aren’t sure how to do so.

“Diet is a great place to start. We have seen that the nation isn’t getting their daily intake of vitamins D (30%) and B6 (35%), needed for immune support.”

But breaking bad habits could prove to be difficult, as 39% admit to regularly snacking at night – and 43% indulge in sweet treats multiple times a week.

Further to this, one in five (19%) have processed meals up to six times a week, with those living in the North East tucking into 4.4 of these meals a week, and Yorkshire residents consuming 4.5 – way above the average weekly amount (3.9).

However, 77% do follow the NHS recommended healthy balanced diet – with those living in Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, and Liverpool most likely to do so, and adults in Swansea least likely.

When quizzed on alcohol consumption, 40% of Londoners – who already live among high levels of pollution – have a higher weekly intake compared to the average adult (9 units), along with those in the South West (10 units).

In comparison, the North West (7.4) and Midlands (8.1) are the regions which drink the least.

Those in the capital are also predicted to have lower levels of immunity than those in the West Midlands – but higher than those in the North West.

Compared to the daily average (three hours), London and Scotland spend more time exercising per week – whereas those in East Anglia and the South West keep active much less.

The study also found 57% manage to achieve more than seven hours sleep, which, according to the Actimel Immunity Report, is the target amount – but the remaining 43% reported they under-sleep.

When it comes to regional splits, those in the South West get the most shut-eye, and people in the West Midlands manage the least, according to the OnePoll figures.

Immunologist Dr Jenna Macciochi PHD added: “The research shows how, despite most people being aware that the change in seasons can have a negative impact on health, they are confused as to where to start, and find it hard to implement lifestyle-based health changes.

“There is also an education gap when it comes to the most effective ways we can help support a well-functioning immune system, as there appeared to be a lack of awareness around ensuring enough daily vitamin D and consuming fortified products, which can be a real help as we move into winter.

“It’s good to remember we can all take small steps to support immunity through exercise, good sleep, and diet – and small changes can make a big difference.”