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  1. ITV Report

More sleep or a pay rise: Which would you prefer?

Credit: PA

A healthy amount of sleep has a far higher impact on well-being than a 50% increase in disposable income, a study has found.

There is a significant gap between those who are living the best and worst in Britain, with sleep quality found to be the strongest indicator of living well, the study by Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research for Sainsbury's found.

Those who are satisfied with their sex lives, have job security and a connection with their community are also disproportionately likely to rank at the top of the inaugural Living Well Index.

Researchers found the average Briton has a "living well score" of 62.2 out of 100, with those living the best defined as the 20% of the population with the highest scores, falling between 72 and 92.

They found income has surprisingly little impact on how people feel, with a 50% rise in income contributing to just a 0.5 point increase in a typical Briton's overall score.

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Sleep quality could explain 3.8 points of difference between a typical person's score and those in the top 20%.

Worrying about the health of close relations contributed to a difference of 1.75 points between the typical Briton and those living best.

Researchers asked a nationally representative panel of 8,250 people questions about 60 different aspects of their behaviour, how they live and how they feel.

The same panel will be questioned every six months, enabling the supermarket and researchers to track the effects of how Britons live on how they feel.

Ian Mulheirn, director of consulting at Oxford Economics, said: "Wellbeing is rising up the agenda at a time of rapid change in how we live our lives."

A good night's sleep is vital for well-being Credit: PA

Professor Ram Dhillon, a consultant at the Sleep Disorders Centre in London, has these tips for getting a good night's sleep.

  • 1. Go to sleep at a reasonable hour, not too early and not too late, and aim to get about 7 to 7.5 hours a night of sleep
  • 2. Avoid stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine before bed as these prevent the brain from powering down
  • 3. Avoid sedatives as they can induce abnormalities in sleep and lead to long term dependency
  • 4. Make sure your sleep environment is welcoming; pleasant colour schemes, clean sheets, tidy, decent pillows and duvets etc
  • 5. Make sure the ambient temperature is not too hot or too cold
  • 6. 10-15% of the population has allergies to dust and dust mites which can cause nasal breathing problems so may be worth avoiding carpets (laminated wood floors are better), wash bedding regularly, use blinds rather than curtains to minimise the presence of allergens
  • 7. Avoid modern technology and don't take mobile phones, ipads etc into the bedroom. These emit a blue light that stimulates the brain for some hours even after turned off
  • 8. Ensure the room is fully blackened so check curtain thickness and size
  • 9. Avoid letting pets in the bedroom. They may also be a source of allergy
  • 10. Excessive snoring from a partner can also keep you awake and disrupt your sleep pattern, so get them to address the issue (which could be Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) or if necessary sleep in another room!