Research reveals the household chore that is keeping a third of Brits awake at night

A third of Brits have revealed in a recent study that they are struggling to get a full nights sleep due to anxiety over cleaning duties.

A third of Brits have revealed in a recent study that they are struggling to get a full night's sleep due to anxiety over cleaning duties.

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A study of 2,000 adults found many of us could be suffering from cleaning-induced insomnia thanks to growing lists of household chores. Organising the fridge, packing lunches and cleaning up shoes left on the floor are among the niggling errands keeping the nation awake.

Do you have anxiety over cleaning your house?

room with white wall and wooden flooring with mop stick

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Other chores putting Brits on edge include coats piled up higgledy-piggledy on coat hooks and clothes shoved into drawers. As well as dirty dishes and plumping pillows.

The research, commissioned by Dunelm, also found 64 per cent can’t unwind in the evening until they have cleared up after their dinner. A further three in 10 admitted to eating their dinner later than they’d like because they’re working through chores before they start cooking.

'Trying to concentrate or relax around mess can be hard, I’m the first to admit that I find it hard to relax when surrounded by clutter,' explains Dr Dawn Harper, TV medic and GP.

kitchen with dining area with dining sets and teal cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brett Charles)

'Just the knowledge that there are dishes to put away, dust gathering on top of the TV or a bed to make, can really influence our stress levels and overall happiness.

'This is an issue that genuinely affects the mental wellbeing of millions of Brits and the fact that it is impacting the sleep of British adults, according to Dunelm’s survey, is concerning given as a nation we aren’t getting nearly enough shut-eye as it is.

Dr Dawn Harper, who sees people every week suffering from stress-related illnesses, has a few tricks to alleviate anxiety over-cleaning.

'Try taking a few minutes to clear up mess as you notice it, rather than letting it build up to become a stressor,' she suggests.

bedroom with double bed with dressing table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

'Prioritise keeping clear and clean the spaces in your home that should be your relaxing sanctuaries, for example, the bedroom, living area and bathroom so you always have havens to unwind in.'

The study found the kitchen and living room to be the biggest cause of anxiety. A fifth admitted their kitchen cupboards are in disarray, with 78 per cent saying they can’t ignore crumbs on the side.

However, more than a quarter of people claim it’s the master bedroom which causes them the most stress. This can have a significant impact on sleep.

It is our floor that is causing us the most anxiety in our bedrooms. One in four believes they’re always likely to find something that needs clearing on their bedroom floor.

‘Floordrobes’ are becoming increasingly common, with those surveyed citing that they get dressed from the floor at least three days a week.

bedroom with wooden flooring and basket with cloths

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

However, it seems our cleaning anxiety is being fed by what others think of our home. A fifth of Brits worry what friends and family think of their tidying habits and home style.

Just over a third ‘feel dirty’ when their home isn’t spick and span. While 18 per cent will feel claustrophobic in their own home when surround by heaps of mess.

However, there is some good news. Social media is making us better at cleaning up. 29 per cent believe they’ve become better at keeping things clean and tidy thanks to cleaning gurus and influencers like Mrs Hinch, Style Sisters, and Marie Kondo.

'Practical storage solutions are a top trend this year, and sales have definitely been driven by influencers like Mrs Hinch,' Debbie Drake, Dunelm’s design director.

Related: Keep forgetting to clean the microwave? Join over half of brits who are drawing up a 2020 cleaning schedule

Are you battling cleaning induced insomnia?

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.