Martijn has Bear

The Study that Isn’t

Popular Instagram personality jordan_the_stallion8 brought back into the news that there is science behind what it means to sleep on certain sides of the bed.

But it seems utterly impossible to find the actual study. When you Google, you will find countless news articles, that all seem to be quoting eachother about a study of 3000 UK sleepers. But no substance.

Some were kind enough to link to the original source, but that link is no longer up. Thankfully it is available through the Wayback Machine:

This is more of a press release about "research out today", that does not actually link to any research. But it does make clear that every single number or conclusion that any other news article has been citing came verbatim from this press release. It does not seem like any of the outlets have seen a research paper.

I could not find anything. Google Scholar turned up nothing from 2011 that seemed to be connected to this. There are no names in the press release of a researcher or a school.

But then another random link struck gold:

Notes to editors: *Research carried out by One Poll for Premier Inn, 3,000 respondents were surveyed in December 2011

WebWire, a website that lets anyone distribute publications to "news readers" and "the media", has a copy of the original press release. And right there at the bottom we see a note that the research is actually a survey done by One Poll.

Who are One Poll? A company that specialises in market research and PR surveys. In fact, they are "the original PR survey [...] pioneers"!

And what do you do as such a pioneer?

We use insights to create data-led stories and multi-media content, that amplifies digital news coverage and captures the imagination of readers.

You create news coverage for brands.

Clearly this is what has happened. Successfully. Premier Inn paid One Poll to survey 3000 people, One Poll picked some nice sounding numbers, a press release was written for publication on the Premier Inn blog and to be distributed through press channels.

It feels like Premier Inn got their money’s worth, as the story is continuing to circulate. But as far as research goes, I do not think anything other than that press release ever came out of the survey.

This all started because I wanted to see the original study and how they defined left vs right side of a bed. Is it from an onlooker’s perspective, or from a sleeper’s perspective. This question remains unanswered.