How many people still sleep with a teddy bear?
The godfather of the soft toy world is undoubtedly the teddy bear, the classic cuddly childhood companion of millions for generations. Since its invention in the early 20th century the teddy bear as we know it has conquered all corners of the globe by the side of the youngest in society. Many children often sleep with a teddy bear or other soft toys
to not feel so alone at night and to have a chum watching over them.
But does everyone grow out of this phase? By conducting a survey of the adult British public’s policy when it comes to teddy bears, shocking evidence has come to light of the vast number of Brits well into their adult years who still keep a teddy (or another toy) by their side at night.
The number of Brits who still have a teddy bear
Staggeringly, almost 7 million people in Britain still sleep with a soft toy at night. This is equal to 9.01% of the members of the public surveyed admitted to still sleeping with a teddy bear or another comforting childhood object at night.
Furthermore, over 14 million people will still own one or more of their teddys or soft toys but no longer sleep with them at night, which equates to 21.23% of the population. On the other hand, the vast majority of adults in the country no longer own their childhood soft toys at all, in fact, 69.76% of those surveyed no longer have any. Therefore, 46.8 million adults in
Britain will not own a childhood soft toy, however, this leaves 20.3 million who still own or even tuck in with their old teddy.
What age group is most likely to still own a teddy bear?
While they are not quite children, young adults are the closest age to traditional teddy bear ownership years and perhaps it is therefore unsurprising that they are the biggest age group who stated that they still sleep with a teddy bear. 2.83% of 18-24-year-olds still sleep with a soft toy, which is just under 1.9 million people in the UK. Comparatively, there are just under 300,000 over 65s who sleep with a soft toy, which is 0.43% of the population.
Although the youngest adults are the most likely to be sleeping with a childhood toy, older generations are more likely to own but not sleep with theirs. In fact, the 25-34 and 45-54 age groups are the most common owners of their old teddy bears as they both contribute to 4.54% (or over 3 million) of the population.
While those in their late 20s and early 30s are most likely to own but not sleep with a teddy bear, they are also the generation with the highest proportion of people not owning their childhood toys. Just under 9 million (or 13.31%) of the British public are in this age group and don’t own a teddy bear, meaning that there are nearly as many 25-34-year-olds not owning a childhood soft toy as there are of any age who sleep with a teddy bear.
Are men or women more likely to own a teddy bear?
Women are more likely to still sleep with a childhood soft toy or teddy bear than men, of people who still sleep with a soft toy the majority of them were women. Females are also more likely to own a childhood soft toy but not sleep with it as they make up 13.98% compared to 7.25% of all men. Therefore, just under 13 million women still own or sleep with a teddy bear or soft toy, compared to just over 7.3 million males. Consequently, women are almost twice as likely to own or sleep with a teddy bear than their male counterparts.
Conjunctively, men make up the majority of those who answered that they no longer had any of their childhood soft toys. 39.21% were male compared to 30.55% who were female, therefore, over 26 million men no longer own a soft toy from their childhood compared to just over 20 million women.
Why do some adults still sleep with a teddy bear?
To better understand why some adults choose to keep sleeping with a soft toy, we sought out an expert opinion from Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant, Lee Chambers
. Here, we ask him several questions about the reasons behind adult use of soft toys.
Q: Why do some adults still sleep with their childhood teddies/comfort blankets?
“As a society, we tend to picture children sleeping with soft toys, blankets and other comforting items, but rarely consider that as adults, many of us still use comfort objects as part of our sleeping rituals”, said Chambers.
“These comfort objects can help us to soothe ourselves if we are feeling anxious. They are a familiar item that has often been on a journey with you and can make you feel less isolated. We are emotionally attached to these objects, and they can provide stability in challenging times. And in a world that is increasingly fast-moving and a culture that is increasingly disposable, this unique object feels like slowing down, something special to you and something safe and reliable.”
Q: What does it say about the person if they still have their childhood teddies/comfort blankets?
“There might be a stigma attached to using comfort objects as an adult, and in many ways, it is completely normal. As we become more independent, we usually lose attachment to these items, but even as adults, we can use them to bolster our emotional and mental wellbeing, especially in times of transition or loneliness. It is often highlighted that using a comfort object is a healthier coping mechanism than alcohol or drugs when we need to soothe ourselves, but is a challenge when it comes between you and seeking comfort from others, if it's consuming hiding it or it's stopping you from sleeping without it.”
Q: Why do we find our childhood teddies/comfort blankets comforting?
“Our attachment to comfort objects such as teddies and blankets often comes from the fact that they often, when we are younger, offer us the feeling of somebody being with us when we are in our bed. It becomes an object that can make us feel less anxious and isolated, therefore creating a feeling of comfort. This security is powerful in times we feel under threat or when things are changing. They can also be physically comforting, soft and pliable, for being hugged and feel gentle on our skin.”
● A survey was created asking a sample group of adults about their teddy bear and soft toy habits.
● In total, 2,002 members of the public were asked the question: Do you still sleep with a soft toy or comforter (e.g. teddy bear, cuddly toy, doll, or comfort blanket)?
● They answered one of 3 options: No they no longer own childhood cuddly toys, they own them but do not sleep with them, or they still sleep with their childhood toy.
● We then extrapolated the findings by the size of the UK population to estimate the true numbers of people who still own (or don’t own) a childhood cuddly toy.