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Secrets of wellbeing revealed in Sainsbury’s study

Sainsbury’s new Living Well index identifies five factors key to a healthy, happy life. A good night’s sleep, healthy relationships (intimate and with family), job security and a sense of community are the magic ingredients, it seems.

Sleep can be hard to come by, particularly in times of stress. Here in the South West one-in-three (34 per cent) say they feel well-rested just some of the time. Only one-in-four (29 per cent) in the South West say they regularly feel well-rested.

The Index was created by Sainsbury’s in partnership with leading researchers Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social research.

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, and we’ve created a critical new tool that can help us to unpick what’s driving our sense of living well, drawing on a unique, rolling survey of unprecedented breadth and granularity. The analysis within the Sainsbury’s Living Well Index reveals that, in a world that’s never been more connected, the richness of our relationships and support networks remains among the biggest determinants of how well we live – and represents an area of our lives in which we can act.”

Five factors that separate a typical person from those living best:

  1. A Good Night’s Sleep: Sleep was the strongest indicator of a broader sense of wellbeing, controlling for other factors. Across the country, the majority of those with the highest Living Well scores reported feeling well rested most of the time (60 per cent), whilst over half of those in the bottom 20 per cent of the Index said that they rarely, or never, felt well rested. In the South West, only 29 per cent of people felt rested most of the time.
  2. Sex Life Satisfaction: Across the population as a whole, just over a third (35 per cent) said they were fairly or very satisfied with their sex lives. Once again, these individuals were disproportionately likely to be found at the top of the Living Well Index – with almost two thirds (63 per cent) of those at the top saying that they were satisfied with their sex life, twice the national average. In the South West, one-in-three (31 per cent) said they felt that they had a good quality sex life, the Sainsbury’s Living Well Report found.
  3. Job Security: For the typical Briton, their perceived level of job security is another important differentiator to those living best, suggesting that the peace of mind this can bring contributes significantly to how well we feel we live. Among working people, 43 per cent of those with the highest Index scores also experience a very high degree of job security, almost twice the national average.  Overall, job security explained a 1.8 point gap between the typical working Brit and those living best. In the South West, 65 per cent said they were satisfied with their job security compared to the national average of 63 per cent.
  4. Health of Close Relatives: For the typical person, worries about the health of close relations emerges as a significant barrier to living very well. The analysis found that worries over the health of close relations contributes a difference of 1.75 points between the typical Briton and those living best. In the South West, people said their quality of life was diminished most by concerns over the health of their parents.
  5. Community connectedness: Stronger connections with the people we share a community with is an important factor for those who experience the highest quality of life in Britain. The analysis suggests that by enhancing the quality and strength of these local relationships, people could live happier, more satisfied lives. The typical person speaks to their neighbours once or twice a month. But doing so as much as people in the top 20 per cent of the Living Well Index – among whom almost 70% speak to neighbours once or twice a week – could add 1.6 points to their Index scores. The majority of those in the South West speak to close neighbours more than once a week, the Living Well Study found.

To take part in a simplified version of the Sainsbury’s Living Well Index, get a personal Living Well score and to receive simple suggestions for actions to improve it, see www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/living-well-index.

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