Press Release | 24 Mar 2016


  • Brits under 25 lose almost 18 nights’ sleep a year each due to the fear of missing out (FOMO) and catching up on what their friends and family are up to online
  • The average night’s sleep for Brits is now 6 hours 38 mins compared to 7 hours 4 mins pre-2004 (the year social media started to take off)
  • Over a third (39%) of under 25’s experience anxiety due to believing they’ve missed out on something whilst asleep


Britain is a nation of young people increasingly suffering from the social anxiety phenomenon FOMO – the fear of missing out – with more than 36.5 million of them losing more sleep due to a night in rather than after a night out, due to excessive social media surfing (1).


New statistics released today by Vodafone show that young Brits admit to spending on average 74 minutes on social media before they go to sleep(2), often worrying that friends and family are having more fun than them. What’s more, young FOMO sufferers are often a sleepy bunch, with a startling 4.5 million young Brits admitting to scanning social networks after 2am.


The effects of FOMO are shown to be more extensive than just lost sleep with two in every five (39%) Brits under 25, claiming they’ve felt anxiety on having missed out on hot gigs or must-see events that their friends were attending.


Interestingly, it’s not just young Brits now feeling the effect of FOMO, as the nation is losing 55 hours a year from late night social surfing, causing people to miss their stops on public transport (30%) or even arrive at work with their clothes inside out (35%).


With changes to Instagram’s algorithm meaning an increased chance of missing friends posts and apps, such as Facebook, Twitter and SnapChat, not only presenting an endless stream of photos but depicting the ‘the best’ time other people are having the nation’s under 25s are under constant pressure to be online all the time. Continual lists of “must-see, visit, do or consume” is playing havoc with the nation’s sleep pattern – personal news feeds (58%), holiday snaps (36%) and party pictures (26%) were found to be the most popular content keeping Brits from slumber.


Helping to support Brits re-address the balance, Vodafone’s new broadband service enables customers to easily switch off their Wi-Fi with the touch of a button and can even set it to switch off automatically, ensuring that their enthusiasm to surf all night can be curbed.


“In our constantly connected world, it’s not uncommon for late night social surfers to suffer from FOMO due to an information overload – with many not recognising the problem, the solution is harder to see,” said David James, Head of Commercial Marketing.


“Whilst social media is a great tool to help us keep in touch and inspire us to make more of our time, it’s important to keep a healthy balance. With so much usage taking place after bedtime, we are hoping our new Broadband service will help customers switch off more easily – putting them firmly back in the driving seat when it comes to managing their sleep.”


Vodafone’s new broadband service works seamlessly with a companion app, the first app of its kind for home broadband, which gives users the ability to schedule when Wi-Fi is available and when it’s not on certain devices. Users can even set timers for the service to switch itself off when it’s time for bed ensuring the whole family is fit for school, work or play.




Notes to editors:

About FOMO: FOMO is a recently identified psychological condition characterised as a fear of regret, when people experience anxiety or distress due to missing social engagements, which has been made more prevalent in today’s world due to social media and modern technology including mobile phones and widespread Wi-Fi ensuring the public are constantly connected at all times. Research by many academics and healthcare professionals that have been carried out in recent years, back the claim that FOMO wasn’t a problem ten years ago.


Research How Sleep Works, proves that humans are naturally active in the daytime with pre-determined sleeping patterns – known as circadian rhythms – melatonin levels needed for sleep typically begin to be produced at 8pm preparing the body for bedtime, before the production stops at approximately 7am ready for the day.


According to Ofcom: the percentage of UK adults using smartphones has shot up from 39 per cent to 66 per cent in the past three years, with the number of phone users with 4G high-speed mobile internet growing almost tenfold from 2.7m to 23.6m over the course of just 12 months between January and December 2014.


 (1) Figure found by applying percentage of UK adults who stay up later on nights in than nights out (37%) to ONS figure for UK population (62,759,500) – resulted in 23,221,015

(2) Research carried out by independent survey company FlyResearch, who polled 2,000 Brits over the age of 18 between 09 and 11 March 2016

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

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