This is the one thing people would rather have than a pay rise

Posted by
Susan Devaney

Some people talk of owning faster cars, bigger houses and travelling the world with a single bag on their back – but when it comes down to it what most people really want is a good night’s sleep. 

So much so that we’d rather get in a good night’s kip than receive a significant pay rise, according to new research on well-being and happiness.  

The Living Well Index, created by Sainsbury’s in association with Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social research, surveyed 8,250 Brits about what we consider to be living well today – and you might find some of the results surprising.  

It turns out that the most content among us feel well-rested “most of the time”.

Grouped into 18 categories, people were asked questions about well-being in relation to things we can control – it didn’t include age, gender, ethnicity and education. Chatting to our neighbours, satisfactory sex lives, a stable and secure job, and the health of our nearest and dearest were considered to be important, but not as much as a good night’s sleep.


The study found that getting enough sleep has a greater impact on happiness than a 50% pay rise.

“Better sleep is the biggest single contributor to better living,” the report said.

“Over 60% of the group living well felt well rested most or all of the time after sleep but less than 5% of the group struggling felt this way.”

All participants were scored out of 100, equating to the highest possible level of happiness and well-being – concluding that the average Brit has a score of 62.2.

And it turns out that income has little effect on how happy it makes us feel. For the average person living in the UK today, a 50% rise in disposable income contributes to just a 0.5 point increase in their Living Well score. 

The same panel will be surveyed every six months to truly track how we rate well-being and happiness in the UK today. If you want to find out how you’d score then you can take their online test here.

Images: Igor Rand / iStock