A new study conducted by personalised baby brand My 1st Years has revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of adults in the UK still own a beloved toy or blanket from their younger years – the equivalent to over 17.5 million people. Furthermore, more than 1 in 10 of the adults – the equivalent of around 2.8 million Brits – admit to sleeping with their favourite teddy, doll or blanket at night time.

Who Is Most Likely To Still Sleep With Their Childhood Toy?

The research, which surveyed over 1,000 adults in the UK, found that females were more likely to still own a childhood toy in adult age – with 29% of females and just 23% of males admitting to still being in possession of the nostalgic items. However, when it came to sleeping with their favourite toys or blankets males were just as likely as females to do so – with 16% of men and 15% of women admitting to having their favourite toy as a sleeping partner.

The 16 -24 year old age group were most likely to still have hold of their baby blankets or toys (44%), followed by 25 – 34 year olds (35%), 35 – 44 year olds (31%) and 45 – 54 year olds (26%). Just 14% of 55+ year olds admitted to owning a childhood or baby toy, however, 50% of those who did reported still sleeping with them most nights. 

The Professions Most Likely To Still Sleep With A Childhood Teddy

As well as looking at the ages and genders most likely to sleep with a childhood toy, the research also delved into which professions were most likely to turn to the toys of their childhood for comfort. The findings revealed that those working in IT, Computer Programming, and Security were most likely to sleep with a childhood toy, with over a third (35%) of people working in those industries admitting to doing so. Those working in PR, Marketing, Media, or Sales followed in second position with 28% of people working in those industries admitting to sleeping with their childhood toys. At the other end of the scale, those working in Education and Academia were least likely to sleep with a teddy from their toddler years.

Industry% of workers who still sleep with a toy
IT, Programming and Security35%
PR, Marketing, Media and Sales28%
Arts, Catering and Hospitality22%
Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing19%
HR, Admin, Logistics and Customer Service18%
Insurance, Legal and Finance17%
Healthcare and Science17%
Education and Academia13%

The Star Signs Most Likely To Still Sleep With A Childhood Toy

When looking at the star signs most likely to still sleep with their childhood toy, it was Cancers which topped the list with 1 in 3 (30%) Cancerians admitting to still sharing the bed with their favourite teddy or blanket – perhaps unsurprising considering they are known for being sensitive, compassionate and ‘goofy’. Almost a quarter (23%) of Leos reported still sleeping with their favourite childhood toy, while Geminis rounded off the top three star signs with almost a fifth (19%) of those born between late May and June still having nightly cuddles with a toy or blanket. Sagittarius was the sign least likely to still sleep with their childhood toy, followed by Scorpios, with just 8% and 9% of each star sign admitting to doing so.  

RankStar sign% who still sleep with a toy
1Cancer – (June 21 – July 22)30%
2Leo – (July 23 -August 22)23%
3Gemini – (May 21 -June 20)19%
4Taurus – (April 20 – May 20)17%
5Aries – (March 21 -April 19)16%
6Libra – (September 23 – October 22)14%
7Capricorn – (December 22 – January 20)14%
8Aquarius – (January 21 – February 18)12%
9Virgo – (August 23 – September 22)10%
10Pisces – (February 19 – March 20)10%
11Scorpio – (October 23 -November 21)9%
12Sagittarius – (November 22 – December 21)8%

Why Do Some Adults Still Sleep With Their Toys?

To find out why adults find comfort from using the toys or blankets from their childhood, My 1st Years spoke to Sarah Samuel – a NVQ qualified child psychologist and child development expert. 

Sarah explained: “Children get attached to comforters and toys from relatively young ages. One of the main reasons they feel so comforted by them and thus want them there for bedtime is because, aside from being a comfort, it is something that is theirs. We forget that as children most of the world seems to be owned and run by adults, so to have a toy that they feel is theirs helps them to feel more in control when it comes to sleeping. Another reason is that they like predictability, so if they have a bedtime toy that they usually fall asleep next to, this will indicate that it is time for them to wind down.

“All toys are different and musical toys are often quite popular for kids when it comes to bedtime, as background noises and sounds are soothing and imitate that which is similar to the noises they hear in the womb. So falling asleep in silence can be unnatural for young children. This need for noise around us continues into adulthood for some, which explains why some people need to plug in a podcast or certain kind of music to help soothe them.

“Adults can also lean on toys for comfort. Some adults can still feel that need for the safety and predictability that comes from a comforting toy at bedtime and it can be a hard thing to let go of if you have done it throughout childhood and adolescence. The deeper psychological fact is that children also like the idea of caring for something just as they were cared for, so children mirror this. So, just like children, adults use comforters, soft toys, and musical toys as a safety blanket when we feel vulnerable.”

Gareth Chadwick, Head of Marketing at My 1st Years commented: “As the experts in all things childrens’ toys, we were really intrigued to find out just how many adults continue to find joy from the blankets, dolls or teddies they received when they were just a few months old. Toys from our childhood naturally provide comforting memories of happy family times, and so it’s not too surprising that our research found that over a quarter of people still care for and use these toys well into adulthood. Our research really just goes to show the importance of purchasing well-made, high quality toys for your children – as they could be still sleeping with them 20 years later!” 

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