What makes us happy?

We’re on a never-ending quest for this elusive goal – but the answer could be simpler than we think.

A good sex life and plenty of sleep are two factors that impact wellbeing beyond anything else, according to an intriguing new happiness index developed by social scientists.

The scale was created by a team from Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research, who polled over 8,000 Britons to find out what it means for them to live well.

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The average Briton has a happiness score of  62.2 out of 100, and getting sufficient sleep has the most dramatic influence on this figure.

People who regularly had a good night’s sleep ranked an average of 15 points higher than those who struggled to drop off, making shut-eye the number one variable for contentment in the study.

Sex is next on the list. People who felt very satisfied with their sex lives scored on average seven points higher on the index than those who were frustrated or dissatisfied with their lot in the sex department.

 

It’s worth noting this is about the quality of sex respondents perceived they had, not the frequency.

Interestingly, both bedroom habits far outranked the significance of money on happiness.

We’re taught that cash can’t buy you joy, and this seems to hold true in the survey.

Even a significant jump in salary from £12,500 to £50,000 resulted in a happiness increase of just two points, the data showed.

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Other factors that played an important role in living well included job security, a sense of community and the health of loved ones.

Responses were calculated across six different themes –  community connections, finances, relationships, health, lifestyle and environment – in an initiative published by Sainsbury’s.

The supermarket chain will update the index every six months in an effort to help people “lead better, more fulfilling lives”.

If good sex and sleep are the route to greater fulfilment, sign us up.

While everyday routine can diminish these qualities, travel – our other great passion in life – allows ample opportunity for both.

All the more reason to book that next adventure…

Images: Flash Pack and Unsplash