It’s Official: Sleep Is More Important Than Money For Happiness

What is it that makes us happy? According to a new study by researchers from Oxford Economics and the National Center for Social Research, it’s not money. Their survey, which was nationally representative, sought to investigate what it was that generated the most pleasure in people’s lives. But the results were surprising and not what researchers had expected at all. They wanted to find out what it meant o like well in the 21st century, and found that although people spend the majority of their time pursuing money, this isn’t actually what makes them the happiest.



In total, more than 8,000 people were asked questions on around 60 different aspects of their behaviour. The researchers investigated everything, from a person’s personal thoughts to their relationships with friends, to their job status, quality of sleep, finances and other non-material things like social support networks.

According to the results, the average person was around 62 percent happy. But that doesn’t mean much in itself. What matters is the relative importance of each of the factors which contribute to “living well.” Here are the five most important things, according to the data.


Sleeping Well

The top spot went to sleeping well. According to the researchers’ living well measures, this was the most important factor in determining a person’s day to day happiness. It suggests that we should all spend more time going to sites like to find the perfect mattress for making us comfy. It also suggests that we should stop staring at screens before we go to bed and give our bodies the maximum chances of going into “sleep mode” to ensure that we get the 6 to 8 hours required by our bodies to recuperate.


Great Sex Life

The second most important factor, according to the respondents, was the degree of physical intimacy they had with others. The people who reported being at the top of the life satisfaction index also reported having good or great sex lives.

A Secure Job


Nothing is more worrying than going to work every day not knowing whether it’ll be your last. And this is precisely what the researchers found. Even more important than money was the knowledge that your income was stable and that people would be able to stay in their roles over the long term.


Health Of Loved Ones

When a loved one is sick, it can be very stressful. And, according to the data collected by the Oxford researchers, it can be an impediment to living well. Those with poorly relatives reported being around 1.75 points less happy on the satisfaction scale than those with healthy relatives according to This finding makes intuitive sense: it’s been known for a long time that carers of family members age faster and have worse health than non-carers.


A Tight-Knit Community

Finally, humans are social animals. We need people to be around us to feel complete. Those who felt a strong sense of community were unsurprisingly happier than those who didn’t. People in the top echelons of life satisfaction speak to their neighbors on a regular basis.

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