A new study by bedding supplier slumberdown.co.uk reveals the movies most likely to give you a restless night’s sleep. The Exorcist, unsurprisingly, came in at no.1
A recent study by slumberdown.co.uk of 2,000 Brits found that 1973 horror The Exorcist is the film most likely to leave you having nightmares, followed by The Texas Chainshaw Massacre and “found footage” style supernatural film Paranormal Activity.
Other films to feature in the list include The Shining, Poltergeist, The Silence of the Lambs and The Blair Witch Project. The Ring, Scream, Carrie and The Woman in Black can also leave grown adults struggling to sleep.
The study also asked people about their TV viewing habits. Crime recreation programme Crimewatch was the TV show most likely to give people nightmares. The reconstruction show, which ironically has the catch phrase “don’t have nightmares”, was revealed as Britain’s most “feared” show before bed. Indeed, researchers found 61% of Brits have struggled to sleep after watching something scary before heading to bed.
Most Haunted, hosted by Yvette Fielding came second in the poll, followed by The Walking Dead and the critically acclaimed American Horror Story.
The study revealed some have been left so scared by a TV or film before bed, they have resorted to sleeping with the light on.
Sally Hotchin, Brand Manager from Slumberdown, which commissioned the research, said: “Often, what you see, hear or do before going to bed can affect what you end up dreaming about and affect your quality of sleep. But this is bad news if you watch something which is a little on the scary or even gruesome side before you turn in for bed.
“I’ve always found real-life shows like Crimewatch have even more of an effect on my sleep as you know the things which are shown in this programme have actually happened – they aren’t just events a group of scriptwriters have suggested to make a top drama.
“If you are prone to nightmares after watching a scary show before bed, I’d suggest recording it to watch during the daytime, to avoid the creepy fear of the midnight run to the toilet. Try getting stuck into a good book before bed to help you sleep, as not only will this help you get a better night’s sleep, but studies have shown that overall memory improves if you learn right before falling asleep.”
Other TV shows to feature in the top ten include Autopsy: The Last Hours of…, nineties paranormal favourite The X Files, the news, Silent Witness and The Fall, which stars Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan.
True Blood, Doctor Who and 1990s documentary series Strange But True are also among the programmes which can give grown adults nightmares.
Almost half of those polled admitted they had changed the channel while watching a chilling film or TV show because they were worried they were going to end up having nightmares when they eventually went to bed.
And just over a quarter end up sleeping with the light on because they can’t face the dark after a scary viewing session.
40% have even resorted to watching a kids’ TV show or something light-hearted to calm them down before finally switching off for the night.
Top 20 films to give you nightmares
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Silence of the Lambs
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Blair Witch Project
The Sixth Sense
The Woman in Black