What’s keeping you awake at night? If you’re anything like me, the answer is stories like those that have been appearing in the Daily Mail and Daily Express of late:
Bickering at bedtime costs us 10 nights of peaceful sleep a year
BICKERING couples lose up to 90 minutes a week of what could have been peaceful sleep time by arguing between the sheets.
Night-time rows flare up around three times a week and over a year could add up to as much as 10 lost eight-hour nights of rest.
Fidgeting, snoring and, ahem, passing wind are just three of the irritations guaranteed to get tempers frayed under the covers according to research by Travelodge.
Source: Daily Express, 27 February 2013
Couples lose 90 minutes of sleep a week bickering in bed about snoring, fidgeting and passing wind
Fidgeting, snoring, passing wind and hogging the duvet – the list of things that couples argue about in bed is endless.
More than a quarter of British couples spend so much time bickering between the sheets that they are losing an average of 90 minutes sleep each week, new research suggests.
The problem is so big that the sleep loss builds up to three full days of missed sleep during a year.
Source: Daily Mail, 27 February 2013
If that weren’t enough, on top of the article in the Express by Nathan Rao (which I imagine he contributed barely a word to), the paper then went on to double-down, with a follow-up article, cementing the research in the pantheon of PR piffle:
A new survey says that many bedrooms are a war zone. So what’s stopping you from having a good night’s sleep?
Bedrooms, we are told by the experts, should be reserved for two things: sleep and having sex. They warn us that the television or laptop can destroy the bedroom’s feng shui, that it should be a place free of distractions, that what couples should aim for is a comfortable love zone where they spend quality time with each other and promote intimacy.
This is all well and good but let’s get back to the real world. According to research by Travelodge, it emerges that the bedroom is pretty much a war zone such are the night-time rows caused by bedtime behaviour. Whether it’s down to hogging the duvet, watching scary movies or insisting on sharing the mattress space with the family pet, couples lose up to 90 minutes’ sleep a week by bickering about each other’s antisocial habits in the sack. Over a year that’s at least a week’s worth of good kip gone missing.
Source: Daily Express, 4 March 2013
By now, dear readers, I can safely assume you’re savvy enough of the Bad PR world to spot the none-too-subtle commissioner of this particular piece of research – hotel group Travelodge.
In fact, locating their press release on their website and then feeding it into Churnalism.com, we discover that Nathan Rao of the Express and Emma Innes of the Daily Mail contributed less than half of the copy to their respective stories, taking the rest directly from Travelodge’s own copy.
What motive have Travelodge for outlining the battles of bedtime, and the difficulty people have in sharing a bed? While none of the three news articles explain the motivation behind the story, it’s unequivocal in the original press release:
Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge spokeswoman said: “Our research has highlighted that bedtime bickering amongst couples is a growing concern across the UK. In some areas such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool couples are losing a week’s worth of sleep a year which is not good news. Therefore in response to this growing issue, we have created a new luxurious bespoke bed which addresses the number one reason for bed bickering which is fidgeting between the sheets.
“The Travelodge Dreamer which is deemed the Rolls Royce of beds boasts a 925 pocket sprung mattress. Each individual spring is designed to follow the natural contour of an individual’s body in order to provide the correct amount of support and comfort. For a couple, this ensures that each individual is much less affected by the movement of their partner, resulting in a good quality night’s sleep.
“Also to ensure there is a balanced temperature between the sheets, we have introduced a bounce back 10.5 tog duvet which offers the ideal snuggling cover up whilst sleeping.”
So, ‘sleeping with someone is tricky unless you have the correct bed’, says hotel firm advertising the range of beds they have available. PR this blatant never fails to amuse me, especially the ease with which it passes into the national press. How do the journalists not see straight through it? Perhaps Nathan Rao and Emma Innes are both in need of a good night’s kip…